Tuesday, August 5, 2008
on the importance of wearing a helmet and leathers
After dropping the brood off with the grandparents and checking to see if the fetus still had a heart beat, the husband and I bolted from domesticity into the wilds of Colorado. (The husband had picked up groceries at Vitamin Cottage so I was dreaming of gourmet camping food. And salivating over my new Sigg water bottle he had bought to make sure I stayed hydrated.) But then...while going over Monarch Pass (which happens to be a two lane road, very curvy, and without guardrails) we saw two motorcycles go down right in front of us. We just just barely crested the peak and had just started the descent when a plume of dust rose up and we saw bikes rolling. The husband pulled over and I was in disbelief that I had cell service and called 911. We ran down to see what was happening. There were two riders on one bike and one on the other. The bike with the two riders had really gone out of control and both people, a male and female, were pretty banged up. The other rider had simply laid his bike down to avoid the other, and wasn't very injured.
The husband ran back up to car to get the first aid kit, it is of the German variety, since it is required to have one in the trunk at all times there and we never really have had to use it. It has quite a lot of stuff in it all interesting and with directions in German, we proceeded to pour water over the road rash to get the rocks off the raw skin, and then dab up the open wounds with something similar to gauze but thicker. Now, I know enough that touching blood is a definite no no and was EXTREMELY careful not to touch anything with my bare hands. But I made a mental note that rubber gloves are a MUST for the kit, as well as some numbing spray. We found out one of the other motorist that stopped was an ER nurse, so we pretty much let her take over. We stayed with the people talking to them while we waited for the ambulance, which took at least a half hour. The man was quite disoriented and must have had a pretty good concussion, while the woman wasn't moving a whole lot and had a large bruise over her liver, the EMTs were most concerned about her and transported her first. Neither driver, nor the passenger was wearing a helmet. No one was wearing a leather jacket either, or gloves with fingers which would have saved them a lot of a road rash. In fact the woman lost her shoes and has ripped open her sock so they obviously weren't as safe as they could have been. That being said we had followed them for a while and they hadn't been driving fast or erratically. THINGS JUST HAPPEN.
Accidents can happen at anytime, it is my belief that you take the precautions necessary. I always wear a bike helmet, while riding just a plain old bike through the neighborhood, and certainly make both kids wear them, even in the Burley. About eight years ago I broke both elbows and my wrist while mountain biking, although I wasn't on a mountain, we were in the Black Forest and were done for the day and were back in town, I stopped suddenly to avoid hitting the cyclist in front of me and went right over the handle bars. I didn't hit my head but was only going about 12 mph at the time and still managed to to break three bones. I was glad I had my helmet on, even if I hadn't hit it. A couple years later, the husband was commuting to work in Vegas on his bike and was "bumped" by a semi, which sent him flying, crunching his helmet, most contents of his backpack, his bike went under the semi, and he need surgery to repair the damage done to his shoulder. We saved the crunched bike as a reminder. We were very glad he had on his helmet, because it was crunched.
Life is short, even if you are blessed to have a long one. My family enjoys life, we love being outdoors, riding bikes (once across Iowa) camping, hiking, skiing, and the husband would love a motorcycle. I won't stop doing anything I love, and perhaps the husband could even have another motorcycle again. (he had one pre-jennie times), but I WILL make my mini adventures with my family as safe as I can. So turn off the tv, live life and have fun, but for pete sake, wear a helmet, don't free climb, have an avalanche beacon while in the back country, put on some leathers, carry extra water (and some rubber gloves). Love life, don't squander it on stupidity.
After we left the accident we headed to the Black Canyon and had such a wonderful time. We ate the gourmet food, hiked, camped, saw lots of fawns, but didn't shower.