I just posted a little while ago on Moonrider Redux about a legal settlement in yet another crash that happened during training. In this case, it was an 82-year old woman who was simply putting packages in her car . She was hit by an out-of-control rider who had already crashed during the course. The elderly woman’s hip was broken and the settlement was almost a million dollars.
I literally stumbled upon the article while searching a database for studies about something completely different. In fact, I was momentarily irritated that a news article had come up instead of a weighty academic study.
But, lucky, it did come up because when I went and searched for the same article–or any other mention of the suit at Google and Yahoo nothing came up. The only thing I could find was the Missouri Lawyers Weekly site–and I couldn’t find the article there either.
Iow, had I not stumbled upon it by pure luck in a database where no one would’ve thought of looking for it, I may never have found out about the crash or the settlement. And neither would you.
Of course, I only found out about the death and near-paralysis crashes in Pennsylvania in late 2007 because someone accidentally overheard others talking about it and he told me. No public record of that crash exists either. And I only knew about the bystander crashes because someone thought it was curious and forwarded it to me. That document was never intended to be seen by anyone outside the PMSP.
And I had believed it when Harley-Davidson said that a man had died from a heart attack and oh, btw, he had been participating in a Rider’s Edge class at Uke’s in Kenosha, WI but then a student in that class had stumbled on my old blog and revealed that Harley had failed to mention the failure to make a turn, grabbing a fistful of throttle and running head first into a concrete wall–and hadn’t had a heart attack because the paramedics didn’t begin CPR when they arrived. Now that crash had been in the newspaper–but the Kenosha News doesn’t put it’s content on the Internet.
And I only knew about the near-fatality at the Rider’s Edge in FL because someone stumbled upon an injury report. That one didn’t make the papers either.
And I only knew about the near-fatality in West Virginia because I was talking to someone from that state about something completely different and it just came up. And I couldn’t find any public report on that either.
And it was only because I knew someone who happened to mention to me rumors he had heard from someone he knew that I found out about the Valley Forge crash and that’s how I heard about the Colorado Springs crash, too.
In fact, there’s only three deaths in rider ed that were reported in the newspaper: the first two Rider’s Edge deaths–and there’s only one article still available on that on the Internet–and the death of an instructor in Valencia, CA.
Mr. Inappropriate told me about the first Rider Edge death because he thought it was funny–the article he read and then forwarded to me described the woman being lauched into one of those huge garbage bins. That article disappeared from the Internet. Because of it was odd that another death occurred and so soon, he forwarded me the link on the second death a couple weeks later. Had he not had a macabre sense of humor, I wouldn’t have known about them and then remembered they had occurred several years as I worked on the BRC vs RSS article.
Had someone not copied what Ray Ochs wrote on the old msfcurriculum list and put it on another forum, that record would have dissappeared as well.
In each case, it was a matter of luck or happenstance or pbopel who knew peopel who had heard something that set me off to confirming that it did, indeed, happen–and then link them together. Oh, yeah, after the initial luck there were many, many hours, sometimes months of hard work tracking the information down and confirming it before revealing it.
And it occured to me today that, if not for my luck, no part of the motorycling community would know about the deadly picture that’s developing in rider ed. Though, I have to say few still do. Not the SMRO activists, not the rider ed community, not riders. Not even people who should know at NHTSA knew about them all. And no one, apparently knows at the NTSB. Oh, some may have vague recollections of the first Rider’s Edge deaths and may have heard a rumor about one or another of them–but no one knew that all these had occurred or the details–such as we have–or in what short a span of time.
So I’m wondering–do I have the luck of the Irish or luck of the Dark One (for other Robert Jordan fans) or what?
And so I ask you: am I so incredibly lucky that I’ve stumbled, one way or another, on all the serious injures and deaths and all the lawsuits with six figure awards? Or are there more out there somewhere mentioned where no one would think of looking or in a newspaper that doesn’t share its content? Are there people who do know but don’t know who to tell or have decided to keep quiet?Just how lucky am I?
And how many more crashes, injuries and deaths in training have to occur before motorcyclists, SMRO activists, rider educators or, god forbid, NHTSA and the NTSB do something about those students–and bystanders–whose luck ran out?