Vogt's Notes: Take note of my personal plea to be safe on the road
May 26, 2021, marks two-year anniversary of a tragic motorcycle accident
I have three dates that are forever ingrained in my mind - dates where I will always remember in stark clarity where I was, what I was doing, what I was wearing at the exact time I heard the news.
The first date is Dec. 10, 2006. That morning, the boy who grew up next door to us died when his all-terrain vehicle went through Round Lake. He had just turned 21 three months earlier.
The third date is Jan. 24, 2020. That morning, my mom called me to tell me my dad had died.
The second date is May 26, 2019. Two years ago today my daughter found me at Von Hanson Meats to frantically tell me her now-fiance had suffered severe head injuries in a motorcycle accident and we needed to get to St. Cloud Hospital as soon as possible. We ran out of the store mid-order and hightailed it to St. Cloud.
"One bad choice on the road can lead to a lifetime of regret."
— Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director
Two years later this couple is engaged with plans underway for a grand wedding in September. They live in their newly built house with their two dogs. Life is good.
But life is different as her fiance continues his recovery. He will live forever with a traumatic brain injury. He continues speech therapy as well as physical therapy to regain some use of his left arm.
But he’s alive. He walks. He talks. He thinks. He lives. And they are both so happy. It’s truly a miracle that we celebrate every day.
All the detailed memories of that day two years ago come crashing into our minds today. They’re extremely painful and emotional memories. The “what ifs” we’ve fought come creeping back. The feeling that something bad will happen again makes us want to stay home and not go anywhere on the roads on this day.
With that in mind today, I share the following motorcycle safety tips shared in a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Please don’t stop reading. Please take these tips to heart. They could save a life.
We know this for a fact, because our future son-in-law followed these safety rules and he’s alive today.
According to the news release, in just the first six days in May, five motorcyclists died in accidents. At least three were not wearing helmets. Drug or alcohol use was suspected in at least two of those fatalities. At least three of those cyclists were speeding.
Wear a helmet.
Don’t drive if you’ve used drugs or alcohol.
“One bad choice on the road can lead to a lifetime of regret,” Mike Hanson, Office of Traffic Safety director, said in the news release.
Read that again: “One bad choice on the road can lead to a lifetime of regret.” Too many of us know the very harsh truth of that statement because it applies to all drivers on the road.
Be aware of your surroundings. Even if you don’t like motorcycles, be aware of them because they are on the road.
More safe riding tips for motorcyclists:
Wear full, brightly colored protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet.
Take a training course every couple of years to polish skills to stay safe on the road.
Be prepared for inattentive drivers by staying focused on riding, keeping your speed in check and maintaining a two-second following distance.
Know how to navigate a curve. To ride through curves safely, slow down for the curve, look through the curve, countersteer and gently roll on through the curve.
All drivers, do your part to keep everyone safe on the road - today and every day.
Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.