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Posts Tagged ‘Motorcycle Fatalities’

800x400-rebel-reaperThere’s been 19 motorcycle fatalities so far this year in Oregon.  Too many and more than twice the 9 deaths in 2013 during the same period.

ODOT has stated and the facts bear this out that many of the fatal crashes are due to operator error, unsafe riding–speeding, following too close and abrupt lane changes.

And then we have the below idiot…  Speeding, reckless driving, acting stupid and irresponsible on the way to work.

On July 2, 2014 at approximately 6:26 a.m., an OSP senior trooper on patrol saw a black & silver 2003 Suzuki motorcycle displaying a Washington license plate eastbound on Highway 30 milepost 42 traveling 120 mph. When the trooper activated the patrol car’s emergency lights to initiate a traffic stop, the motorcycle sped up faster on the two lane highway passing other unidentified witnesses using the westbound lane and eastbound shoulder. The trooper lost sight of the motorcycle a couple miles later and terminated the attempt to stop it.

At approximately 6:40 a.m., a report was received from a log truck driver that the reckless, eluding motorcyclist pulled into the Dyno Nobel (a leader in commercial explosives) plant parking lot where it was parked. The trooper and officers from St. Helens Police Department and Rainier Police Department arrived at the parking lot and found the unoccupied motorcycle.

Subsequent investigation confirmed the motorcycle’s operator, Michael Tejada Echeverria, age 19, from Longview, Washington, worked at the plant and he was contacted by officers.

Mr. Echeverria was arrested and lodged in the Columbia County Jail for Felony Attempt to Elude on a Vehicle, Reckless Driving, and Recklessly Endangering Another Person. He was also cited for Exceeding the Posted Speed in Excess of 100 mph, No Motorcycle Endorsement, and Driving Uninsured.

Clearly Mr. Echeverria will drive without a motorcycle endorsement.  He must be thinking that the U.S. Constitution guarantees him the right to travel the roads of the land freely, and that state laws don’t apply.

Hey Mr. Echeverria, 1776 sent a telegraph to explain something… There is no constitutional right to drive a motorcycle or a car.  You may have the right to travel throughout the country, but that means walking, taking a bus, taking a taxi, riding a bicycle, hopping, skipping, uni-cycling, kayaking, or using a skateboard.  Since a motor vehicle can be a very dangerous instrument in unskilled hands, the state is fully justified in demanding proof that you can operate a motorcycle without endangering anybody, and in reserving the right to revoke your driver’s license if your conduct shows that you tend to disregard the rules of the road and the safety of the people around you.

It’s okay to wish to be a rebel, but enjoy that skateboard when you get out of jail.

Photo courtesy of Rebel Rockers Skateboards.

All Rights Reserved © Northwest Harley Blog

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Starting in 1994 with only 1,500 bikers participating, Street Vibrations has grown into the nation’s 6th largest bike event.  It was estimated (no info supplied on how) that slightly more than 25,000 motorcycles attended Street Vibrations in 2010.  About the same as previous years, however, hotels like the Peppermill, Grand Sierra Resort, the Nugget and Atlantis all reported shorter stays for guests on average vs. other years.

During the event period there was an increase in motorcycle accidents.  It’s unclear if the increase was attributable to the split-event in Sparks which many riders complained about.  Here is how the stats break down:

Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) arrested 39 people of which 21 were DUI arrests.  There were 15 accidents investigated, which included 2 fatal crashes, including one with a motorcycle.  In total there were 8 injury crashes and 5 crashes involving property damage only.  NHP didn’t report which arrests involved only motorcycles.

Reno Police reported making 72 arrests for various offenses stating alcohol was a factor in most.  They handed out 533 traffic citations and placed 4 people in civil protective custody (public intoxication).  They also handed out an additional 428 traffic warnings.  There were 6 stolen motorcycles (which the Pepper Mill Casino seemed to be hit most often) and 10 stolen tour packs (saddle bags).

Stealing saddle bags? That is just down-right mean! I hope they set up sting operations in the future to take down the jerks.

In addition, there was a brawl reported between 30 people (unknown if it was bikers?) that left one man stabbed in Sparks and was sent to the hospital.  The Carson City man was treated with multiple stab wounds which were non-life threatening.

Speaking of large groups… it’s unclear if related to last month’s HAMC and Vagos MC shootout in Arizona (Chino Valley, north of Prescott) where 27 people were booked on charges ranging from attempted murder to participation in a criminal street gang and where more than 50 rounds were fired between the two clubs… but, there was an extraordinarily large mass of the “Green Machine”, and the “Red & White” along with support clubs like the “Miscreants” on the corner of 4th and Virginia Street on Saturday.  I was on the street at the time and the atmosphere was most tense, it looked as if a confrontation would explode similar to scene’s from the problem-oriented “Hot August Nights” event.  Even the few LEO’s looked somewhat threatened.  Fortunately no confrontation occurred and within a half-hour the groups had mostly cleared out.

And speaking of the Reno police, they worked a lot of overtime and were paid based on a grant called “Joining Forces”.  The “Joining Forces” grant program is one of the many Nevada Office of Traffic Safety’s proactive safety initiatives coordinated directly with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide grant funding for special enforcement campaigns, education, equipment and training throughout the calendar year.  There are currently 28 law enforcement agencies in Nevada that participate in this program. Some of those enforcement campaigns include DUI saturation patrols and checkpoints, speed enforcement, traffic signal enforcement at identified high-accident intersections, and crosswalk & pedestrian safety enforcement initiatives.

Lastly, is my rant about the fact that Nevada has over 49,000 miles of road and nothing is more treacherous than the I-80 and U.S. 395 interchange (known by locals as the “Spaghetti Bowl”) in downtown Reno.  Motorcyclists have seen at least 2 years of congested traffic flow from this construction project, but more important is trying to navigate through or ride over and avoid the deep crevices and cracks in the concrete.  It’s dangerous for motorcycles and get it done already!

Stat sources: Daily Sparks Tribune #1#2News 4Carson Now.

Photo’s taken at the event.

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Motorcycle/Car Collision In Oregon City

According to a new report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Oregon’s traffic deaths fell to a low of 9.4% from 416 in 2008 to 377 in 2009.   Washington’s road fatalities dropped from 521 to 492, a 5.6% decline.

At a news conference in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood cited the weak economy as a contributing factor, saying many Americans had cut back on “discretionary driving,” including going out to bars and restaurants after work or on weekends.  At the same time, LaHood stated cars are becoming safer and motorists are becoming increasingly safety conscious.

In Oregon, the annual highway safety report also found:

  • The number of alcohol-impaired driving fatalities continued a five-year slide, dropping from 137 in 2008 to 115 in 2009.
  • Speeding-related road deaths declined from 147 to 125. In 2005, there were 161.
  • The number of bicyclists killed in crashes dropped slightly, from 10 in 2008 to eight in 2009. While the number of pedestrians killed on the road dropped from 51 to 35.
  • After improving dramatically in 2008, the number of teenagers killed in crashes was on the rise again in 2009, climbing from 34 to 46. In 2005, 84 teens died in vehicle crashes.

Bucking these overall positive trends were motorcycle fatalities in Oregon increased to 53 in 2009 from 48 in 2008.  Nationally motorcycling fatalities in 2009 decreased for the first time in more than a decade, dropping to 4,462 in 2009 from 5,312 in 2008.  To read the 2009 FARS data in detail click here (.pdf).

Fred J. Brehony -- Patriot Guard Riders

In related news and sadly was this morning’s report of a motorcycle rider who died at the scene after a collision with a car at the intersection of South Springwater and Bakers Ferry roads in Oregon City.  According to Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Detective Jim Strovink the victim’s wife was following in a separate vehicle and witnessed the crash making this event even more of a tragedy.  Names were not released, but photos of the crash scene indicate the rider was a member of The Patriot Guard.  They are volunteer’s who provide escorts for veteran funerals, and Veterans coming home ceremony’s.  My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

It’s unknown if the driver didn’t yield or if the motorcyclist was at fault.  I’ll continue to follow the reports and provide updates.  My view is that you can never be defensive enough so please be safe out there.

UPDATE: September 11, 2010 — There is a good update in the Oregonian about Fred J. Brehony who was killed yesterday on his way to the Willamette National Cemetery.  As a member of the Patriot Guard Riders he was in route heading to a funeral for Howell “Hal” Birdwell (a U.S. Vietnam War vet) when he collided with a car.  Mr. Brehony was a U.S. Navy Veteran who served on a destroyer during the Vietnam War and deeply believed in the mission of the Patriot Guard.  He will be missed.

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 — KGW did an expanded story on Mr. Brehony.  Video is HERE.

UPDATE: September 14, 2010 (3pm PST) – Information was posted on the PGR Forums Web Site which outlines a two phase mission for Mr. Brehony.  One on Thursday, 16/Sept/10 and another on Sunday, 19/Sept/10.  Staging and briefing times are covered HERE.

Photo courtesy of Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.  Brehony photo courtesy of Olivia Bucks and The Oregonian.

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Allman_Brothers

Allman Brothers Band

I was born in Georgia and “eat-a-peach” has always had a special meaning to me.

It was 38 years ago last week when Duane Allman kick-started his Harley-Davidson Sportster on an autumn evening in Macon, Georgia.

It had been only a couple months after the summer release and success of the At Fillmore East album which was one of the greatest and high-quality live performances ever recorded.  Stormy Monday (listen to it HERE) is the ultimate blues song.  Duane was taking a break from touring and recording while riding his motorcycle.  A few miles down the road, an oncoming Sam Hall & Sons construction truck was turning well in front of him, but suddenly stopped in mid-intersection and Duane clipped the rear end of the flatbed truck, sustaining fatal injuries. The lead guitarist of the Allman Brothers Band was dead on October 29, 1971 at age 24.

It’s easy to understand how this album is one of the all time great live performances with Gregg Allman’s gritty vocals and dual lead-guitars of Duane and Dickey Betts. The long improvisations on the album never get old.  It was also eerie when bass guitarist Berry Oakley who died in a similar motorcycle accident just 13 months later within 3 blocks of Duane Allman’s fatal accident. No matter what the circumstances, deaths in the world of rock and roll tend to be romanticized over the years and less to do with the tragedy than it does with having good memories.

Duane Allman was one of the most influential guitarists of our time and this post is to remember Skydog.

Photo courtesy of Def Jam Music Group.

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Hamsters Logo on Fuel Tank

Hamsters Logo on Fuel Tank

In the Andes, guinea pigs have a festival devoted to them, which includes contests for the biggest, fastest and best-dressed furry friend.  A Hamster fest has yet to be founded, unless you’re thinking of the motorcycle group?!

The Hamsters’ Motorcycle Club (HMC) is an elite and somewhat secret group of motorcycle riders.  Charter members were Arlen Ness, Dave Perewitz, Donnie Smith, Ed Kerr, Jim Leahy, Barry Cooney and Steve Allington.  A who’s who of the motorcycle industry!  It began in 1978 at Daytona Bike Week.   As the story goes Jim “Jimmy” Leahy and others were in the Mystic Sea Hotel.  They were taking a nap and when they woke up no one was around.  No money, no food and peeved about being ditched Jimmy started calling them Hamsters.  He drew pictures of Hamsters on a bunch of paper plates and wrote Hamsters M/C on each of them.  Before placing them on doors he personalized the names of the charter members.  The idea was it would aggravate his posse, but instead they all laughed about it and the name stuck.  Jimmy went and had black shirts with white letters made up that said Hamsters M/C.  Later the MC was dropped and they call themselves enthusiasts.

Hamster_LogoThe rodent stuck as the mascot which graces bright yellow t-shirts.  The club is selective about new members, but it includes blue collar workers to doctors.  You don’t just join the club.  You must ride with the group 6-7 years and then you’ll receive an invitation to join. There are now 240 members with chapters as far away as Italy, England and Japan.  These days the Hamsters are about as opposite you can get from the outlaw bad guy clubs.

It takes three things to become a Hamsters member:

  1. Owning a custom bike
  2. Riding a custom bike to South Dakota’s Sturgis rally with the group, at least two years in a row
  3. Receiving an invitation to join by another member

The Hamsters have ridden to Sturgis for 25 consecutive years and never followed the same route.  The Spearfish Holiday Inn has served as the Hamsters’ headquarters for several years although approximately 20+ Hamsters purchased townhouses behind the hotel known as Hamster Hill Lane.  The annual dues are $100 and Hamsters who don’t attend at least one function each year are voted out.  Some years there are no new members allowed into the club. Some years there are as many as seven. The average is two.

The Hamsters are famous for a lot things, but two notable items I wanted to bring to your attention is the Hulett Ham-n-Jam in the land of no overpasses (Wyoming on the way to Devil’s Tower) and their generosity and major fundraising for charitable functions.  Many of the Hamsters are world-renowned motorcycle and motorcycle parts builders who donate items to be auctioned off at charity events.  The group’s generosity and ability to raise funds/donations is staggering.

I would be negligent if I didn’t also mention the high profile and weird coincidence of Bruce Rossmeyer (Daytona H-D) and Clifton “Click” Baldwin (Carolina H-D).  Both Harley-Davidson dealer owners, both on the way to the Sturgis Rally riding from dealer meetings, both members of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club/Group, both in deadly motorcycle accidents (Wyoming and Montana respectively) while passing a vehicle turning left on a two lane country highway.  Both passed away one year apart, neither were wearing helmets and both accidents were reportedly misjudgments.  It’s truly sad and a tremendous loss for the communities and families.

I’m reminded of the prophetic Marvin Gaye song “Brother, brother, brother…there’s far too many of you dying…”  Let’s hope for better days ahead…

Photo of courtesy of Hamsters.

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Fishermen flock to Washington County’s Scoggins Valley Park at Henry Hagg Lake, but it’s also a great place to ride a motorcycle.  Located 5 miles southwest of Forest Grove, Or., the man-made lake was formed after the construction of the dam in the mid-1970s.  The road offers up a 10.5 mile ride route that circles the lake and traverses a number of picnic areas and boat launches.  The roads at Hagg are mainly long sweepers and they can be rode fairly aggressive for experienced riders with an appropriate motorcycle.

Unfortunately we learned today that a group of approximately 18 riders were traveling around the lake yesterday when on the first right hander after the Boat Ramp (there is a bridge) one of the riders Kenneth Dawkins, age 36, crashed into the guard rail and died at the scene.  Another motorcyclist, Viacheslav Kostyushko, age 21, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was discharged from the hospital.  There is more information posted HERE.  Another motorcyclist survived, but was taken to a local area hospital.  According to reports, Washington County Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team (CART) responded to the scene and are still trying to determine what caused the crash.

I didn’t know Kenneth Dawkins (KJ), but I wanted to sent my condolences to the family.  He was an experienced rider and the founder of Pure Speed Icons (PSI).  This accident is very unfortunate and sad.  Please be careful out there. KJ leaves behind an ex-wife and a 10 year old son.

As I learn more I’ll update the post and provide any additional details on services and fund raising to help the family.

RIP.

UPDATE: August 19, 2009 – Per the below IMPORTANT comment — KJ leaves behind a girlfriend of 9 years and they had a 15-year old daughter of which he was the father figure besides an ex-wife and 10-year old son.

UPDATE: August 20, 2009 – Forest Grove News Times provides more information on the accident HERE.  Police request that a third rider known as “Chucky” call investigators to give a statement about the events.

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Billy Lane Handcuffed After Sentencing

Billy Lane Handcuffed After Sentencing

There are no winners here.

Celebrity motorcycle builder, Billy Lane was sentenced today to six years in prison and three year’s probation in connection with the Labor Day 2006 crash that left Sebastian Inlet park ranger Gerald Morelock dead.  Lane was immediately handcuffed and escorted from the courtroom.  Judge Robert Burger also ordered Lane’s drivers license suspended for life and that he undergo random drug and alcohol testing upon his release from prison.

I blogged about this previously HERE.  I have little tolerance.  Not only did Billy kill a biker drunk driving in a free Dodge Truck etc.,… it wasn’t an isolated incident as he was driving on a suspended license pending another trial for drunk driving.

I don’t know Mr. Lane nor do I have a beef with him.  I do however have a beef with drunk driving.  The request of a non-incarcerating sentence and the judge’s discretion to ignore it were appropriate in my view.

UPDATE: September 18, 2014Billy Lane is released from the Orlando Transition Center today.

Photo courtesy of Rik Jesse, Florida Today.

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