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Jul-17-2006 11:25printcomments

Adequate Protection Means Survival in a Motorcycle Crash

Canby Fire says riders will always come out ahead by wearing leather and full helmets.

Motorcycle rider on stretcher, lifeflight helicopter
Photos courtesy: Troy Buzalsky/Canby Fire

(CANBY) - When Oregon has weekend weather like the past weekend, one thing is certain; people will be enjoying the outdoors.

Sunday, thousands of Motorcycle enthusiasts were out taking pleasure in the freedom and wind in the face smile that only comes when riding your bike.

But the fun ended for one couple at 11:17 Sunday morning, when they failed to execute a sharp corner on a motorcycle they were riding. Both were injured.

Fire units from Canby Fire as well as Aurora were dispatched to the scene. Upon arrival firefighters identified two injured individuals, a man and a woman, who were both riding on the same motorcycle when the crash happened.

The adult male was treated for possible head and neck injuries, the female, for shoulder injuries.

Firefighters on scene said the injured male was only wearing a "Skull Cap," or sometimes referred to as "Skid Lid" for head protection, and then again, only a leather vest; with cotton pants and shirt.

As reported by Cycle Magazine, in studies of survivability of various cycling garments for a 50 MPH slide on asphalt, denim lasted no more than 4' before wearing through.

Kevlar, on the other hand, lasted 18'. But standard motorcycle quality leather chaps and jackets lasted 86'. That's more than 20 times as effective as your jeans in protecting your flesh from road rash.

Division Chief Troy Buzalsky with Canby Fire says motorcycle fatalities represent approximately five percent of all roadway fatalities each year, yet motorcycles represent just two percent of all registered vehicles in the United States.

One of the main reasons motorcyclists are killed in crashes is because the motorcycle itself provides virtually no protection in a crash. Canby Fire District Division Chief Troy Buzalsky encourages all motorcycle riders adhere to these simple safety tips:

· A motorcyclist should attend a motorcycle rider-training course to learn how to safely and skillfully operate a motorcycle · Maintain a safe speed consistent with driving conditions and capabilities. Gravel on the road and slippery road surfaces can be hazardous. Avoid sudden braking or turning.

· Be especially alert at intersections, approximately 70 percent of motorcycle-vehicle collisions occur at intersection.

· Studies show that the head, arms and legs are most often injured in a crash. Protective clothing and equipment serve several purposes: Comfort and protection from the elements and some measure of injury protection from a crash.


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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.