110 thoughts on “Motorcyclist Is Hit By Car, Cartwheels, and Then Walks Away”

  1. I was broadsided on the way home from a night shift at the hospital. The guy was in a 3/4 ton pickup truck and I was in my little brand new Sundance. He ran a red light at 45 miles per hour and I never saw him coming, it was dark and I was tired. It’s a miracle I wasn’t killed, but I broke several ribs, one poking into my lung, my arm was broken, and I had vicious whiplash, and contusions. I recall my car spinning round and round in slow motion, just like the in the movies, and when it stopped, I was was wedged in on the passenger side, unable to move. It was like every muscle was sprung, plus I kept blacking out because I couldn’t take a deep breath. When the driver of the pickup who hit me came to the side of my shattered drivers window, all he asked was if I was Ok, which obviously I was NOT. Another person who saw the accident came by too and turned off the ignition switch. I was in terrible fear of my car bursting into flames, luckily the paramedics came very quickly and used the jaws of life to cut me out of my car on the passenger side. It was difficult to get back into a car and drive again after recovering. Needless to say my car was totaled.

  2. What TheSaucyMugwump said.

    Newtons laws of motion are always in play in an accident. It does not matter if one is in an M1A1 Abrams tank. The squishy things inside still get squished if the stop is sudden enough. Ever see somebody whose face had to be removed from the glove compartment? I have.

  3. Dr.Harris, I don’t believe people are evil. I do however think there may be some underlying pathology that manifests itself in people who are able to live fairly normal lives despite the pathology. It becomes difficult when those pathological people focus their attention on others they really don’t know. It’s becomes easy for some people to abuse others online, because it’s not face to face, live human interaction. Chances are if some people acted in person, as they do online they would be left with a black eye.

  4. Paul wrote ” I grew up with no seat belts and bench seats. When we traveled in the station wagon, some of were in the back playing. … that Buick Stationwagon was made of good old American steel and could withstand any collusion up to 30 mph”

    It is not clear from your comment just who or what your car was colluding with, but let’s ignore that for the moment.

    If your car had been involved in a 30+ mph accident, everyone in the back would have flown further toward the front at the speed the car was traveling; if they were lucky, they would have stopped before striking the metal dashboard. The people sitting in the front seats would have first broken the windshield with their heads and possibly punched through the windshield with their heads; it is possible that those people would have been decapitated as their body slumped and decelerated. If their bodies retained enough energy, their shoulders would have punched through the glass, leading to an ejection.

    Newton’s laws of motion are always valid. You were lucky.

    1. saucy – I was in the back seat of another auto that hit the post on a graveyard and did major damage to my front teeth and lower lip. Car was fine though.

  5. Annie,

    This is in the public record, put there in response to my wife and me being sued, some years ago, as I have already mentioned.

    Several months before my wife’s and my son and daughter-in-law were killed, our son came to me with a request, he asked me to do everything in my power to keep his son out of the hands of his mother-in-law because, as he put it, “she is evil.”

    I said to our son, MIchael, “I don’t think she is evil. I don’t think anyone is, But I think there are people to whose hurts we are all blind.”

    I could not counter-sue our late son’s mother-in-law because I not only understood that she was doing the best her life circumstances allowed her to do (and was, therefore, inescapably innocent); I also understood that her actions toward my wife and me were her achievable way of grieving over her only child’s death. I could not, in conscience, punish her in any way for her grieving in the only way she found available to her.

    I have become, over the past 75 or so years, quite certain that there is no evil in the world, there are no evil people, yet there may actually be, in the biblical sense (see the New American Bible: Official Catholic Bible, the Revised New Testament ©1986, Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C., Matthew 6:13, “…and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.”

    To me, as a theoretical biologist, bioengineer, and member of the ordained clergy (non-sectarian), “the evil one” cannot be anything other than the mistaken belief that people make avoidable mistakes.

    Were within my practicable capability, I would challenge the whole collection of all universes of universes to demonstrate so much as one actually-avoidable mistake of any kind whatsoever, which was actually made and was thereby, not actually avoided.

    The set of all actually-avoidable mistakes of every kind whatsoever which have not actually been avoided appears to me to be an immensely-less-than-infinitesimal proper subset of the emptiest proper subset of of all empty subsets of all empty sets.

    Actually avoidable mistakes which were actually made are absolute impossibilities, so my grasp of set theory incessantly informs me.

    Impossibilium nulla obligatio est.

  6. Annie

    Know it all hypocrites, sycophants, Birchers and fools grew very tiresome. There are much more informative conversations elsewhere. I’m not interested in reading someone’s autobiography.

  7. Nick,

    No, the automobile they were driving, (I just checked the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Accident Report, No. 96-01285), a 1990 Mercury Sable, 4 door, Bronze, VIN 1MECM50U6LG612733, Wisconsin license plate NUZ876, was titled to our son and daughter-in-law, and was, in law, theirs, though my wife and I paid for it, with an agreement with our son an daughter-in-law that they would repay us for it when that became practical, which it never did.

    Our daughter-in-law had located the Mercury Sable, as a used car, at the local Chevrolet dealer, who, so they said, had checked the car over carefully. Careful checking of a used car by a reputable automobile dealer does not involve crashing the car into a massive barrier or, as in the accident, into a fully loaded gravel truck with a speed of closure of more than 80 miles per hour, in order to test the used car for faulty spot welds.

    While the police were unable to determine that the Mercury Sable had many defective (not properly fused) spot welds, my work in engineering readily allowed me to determine that when I was allowed to examine the wreckage about a week after the accident.

    Perhaps the current process of the whole human condition is a self-perpetuating tragedy that will, eventually, somewhat in the sense of early Greek tragic theater, resolve in some useful way.

  8. Feynman, you are one of those folks whose opinion matters to me. There are people here who know what is going on and aren’t fooled one bit. They understand that there are those who say underhanded things generally, but mean it quite specifically to another person. It doesn’t take a genius to figure it out and its a pattern of behavior that has been displayed numerous times. I take comfort in the fact that 99% of the commenters here are good people.

  9. Doc Harris, If I may, can I sum up your last superb comment w/ something I have come to see over my career and life. So much of life is serendipitous. Those who accept that serendipity lead good lives. Those who embrace it lead happy lives. Those who fight and curse the serendipity, lead lonely lives w/ angry hearts. I see it everywhere, including here.

  10. My best guess is simply that we were sued because it was possible for us to be sued, My wife and I had made it possible for our son and his family to get out of the dangerous inner city neighborhood where they had been living, and it may be possible (I have no clue one way or another) that our son’s mother-in-law decided that my wife and I were at fault for the accident because it would not have happened had they not moved to Sturgeon Bay.

    The problem I have with such thinking is the one I always have with supposed foreseeability of disastrous/tragic events. They are actually foreseeable by those actually involved well enough to have been preventable only after the events have already happened, by which time they truly have become unpreventable in the absence of a time machine that can take the universe back before the events far enough that random chaos would have prevented the events.

    There is a little puzzlement for me, about “it would have been better if” thinking. Given as obvious fact that the “been better if” never actually happened, there is no possible way to accurately measure what “would have happened differently if,” simply because that “if” never happened.

    Hypothetically, had our son and his family not moved to Sturgeon Bay in January, 1995, they all would have been killed in a drive-by shooting in Chicago in March of 1995. They had two children who were not in the car when it exploded.

    Why did it explode? One definite cause of the car exploding in a collision at speeds that are commonly survivable in an automobile with seat belts and air bags (the car was a Mercury Sable) was the car having been defectively welded at the factory (many of the spot welds were not properly fused), for want of sufficient energy during the spot welding process).

    Hypothetically, had our son and his family not moved to Sturgeon Bay in January, 1995, he would have slipped on some sidewalk ice in Chicago, had a brain concussion which soon thereafter led to a stroke, and, after the stroke, have, in a stroke-generated traumatic rage, murdered 300 people in a crowded theater.

    Hypothetically, had our son’s family not moved to Sturgeon Bay in January, 1995, he would have bought an Illinois Lottery ticket in March, 1996, and won 70 million dollars.

    Hypothetically, had our son and his family not moved to Sturgeon Bay in January, 1995, his wife would have given birth in December, 1996, to a girl who would have grown up to be a medical doctor who found the complete and perfect cure for all forms of cancer in 2031.

    No matter how plausible or implausible hypotheticals may appear to be, anything that is purely hypothetical is something that never happens.

    When the standard by which things are judged is things which never happen, what actual validity is there in judgments based on hypotheticals that never exist?

    I have never been able to find any fault with the lawyers, including Door County Circuit Judge Diltz and Judge Koehn, for the simple reason that nothing in their lives and/or in their education ever prepared them to understand the neurobiology of human decisions, theirs included, and so, in apparent near-absolute ignorance of the quantum mechanical aspects of human decision-making, were incapable of making scientifically truthful judgments in the cases in which my wife and I were dragged under protest into bankruptcy. Those judges did the best that they were actually capable of doing.

    Come to think of it, everyone, in every aspect of every detail of everything anyone ever does, always does the very best that actually can be done.

    All notions which hold that people do not always do absolutely, and without exception the best that they can possibly actually do are hypothetical notions about that which never actually happens and can never actually be measured.

    Adult versions of childish fairy tales are like that.

    Sehr schade. Sehr traurig.

    With all proper apologies to Heinrich Heine:

    Ich weiss, und Ich kenne, und Ich verstehe, was soll es bedeuten, Dass ich so traurig war.

    In situations of misunderstanding, is the language used in misunderstanding of any consequence whatsoever?

    I continue to await scientific demonstration that avoidable accidents/mistakes/crashes or events of any other kind are ever actually possible and/or ever actually happen.

    In the world in which I find I am able to actually live, the only events which ever actually happen are those which, as they happen, are actually unavoidable.

    What significance, if any, might that have for the truthfully honest practice of torts?

    The song, “Tradition,” in Fiddler on the Roof comes to my mind.

    There is one human tradition that I think trumps all other traditions, that being the tradition of learning to recognize human traditions grounded in human error and learning to form new traditions which remedy prior error.

  11. Dr. Harris, You write so well, but the personal stories you share are amazing. I’m assuming the vehicle your son was driving was yours?

  12. Oh, Dr Harris, I am so very sorry for your loss, and for what you went through afterwards. Why on Earth would your son’s mother-in-law have sued you when you were not even in the car??? How did she prevail? It really erodes my trust in the law. It sounds like, in her grief, she made a tragedy far worse, and showed no compassion for parents who had lost a child, too. What a heartless thing to do when you were grieving, too. Black ice is treacherous.

    I pray you stay safe, and that your circumstances improve.

  13. In 1994, for a variety of reasons, my family moved from Oak Park, Illinois, to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, into a waterfront home on Cove Road. That home was close enough to grocery stores for it to be a reasonable walk for me to get groceries some of the time.

    Alas, our son (we adopted him in 1979 when he was eleven) and his wife were driving to her work on February 10, 1996, when their car skidded on black ice into the path of a truck and exploded and our son and his wife were killed.

    Our late son’s mother-in-law sued us in Door County Circuit Court, and the effect of the suit was our being driven, relentlessly and under protest, through Chapter 7 bankruptcy with bankruptcy foreclosure of the home where we had hoped to live out the rest of our lives.

    We now live in a house that we were able to buy and keep that is far out in the country, a twenty mile or more round trip to buy groceries.

    When we moved to Door County, Wisconsin, in 1994, our life savings allowed us to buy, merely by writing a check, a house in Sturgeon Bay where our son’s family could live. Now, our home, after the housing bubble and its after-effects, has effective negative equity.

    So, because of travel costs and automobile operating costs, I got a 49 cc moped for getting to and from Sturgeon Bay when I do not need to carry very much. Somewhat later, I came upon a used 250 cc scooter that can go faster than 30 miles per hour, because there is a stretch of Door County Highway C that is the only reasonable route to and from Sturgeon Bay that is posted at 45 miles per hour, and I found people tending to pass me on the moped in what I experienced as unduly unsafe ways.

    The 250 cc scooter is a Yamaha Morphous, a curious machine that may seem to look more like a personal watercraft than a land vehicle. However it was affordable, and, the way I rode it when I had it licensed resulted in a fuel use of about 1 gallon per 80 miles, vastly more economical than any car or truck that we have.

    For several years, the 250 cc machine has been in storage, but economic factors are making me think of re-licensing it and using it.

    For the moped, I have a full face helmet, a leather jacket, leather gloves and gauntlets, a rain suit, water-resistant boots, and motorcycle overpants with CE protection.

    My wife and I no longer can afford to drive to Sturgeon Bay every time we need something from a store; nothing we have been able to do has allowed us to restore any meaningful monetary savings.

    Like many people, my use of a moped or motorcycle-grade scooter (if I decide to license it again) is based on economic need. Unlike some people who need to use a moped or motorcycle scooter for basic transportation because of economic factors, my wife and I did have a decent retirement nest-egg saved up, only to notice it vanishing before our stunned eyes because no attorney we could hire and nothing else we could actually do was able to protect us from being “economically ruined” by the Door County Circuit Court.

    I have never ridden a bicycle or moped or motorcycle (some years ago, I owned a Honda CB-550) or motorcyle-type scooter for sport or pleasure. All those vehicles, as well as automobiles, are tools for needed transportation.

    Given how I notice people driving automobiles are driving in Door County (some very well, some freaky-dangerously), I have concluded that my wife’s and my economic situation seems to justify again putting the 250 cc scooter to regular use.

    Why so? Because it can go fast enough to get away from many, if not most, if not all, freaky-dangerously driven automobiles, if I am alert and attentive enough.

    I am not an experienced moped or motorcycle or motorcycle-type scooter rider. My total riding is, so far, less than 7000 miles. However, in those 7000 miles, I have encountered many other vehicles and vehicle operators whose driving would have done me in, whether I were to be in a recent, side airbag equipped automobile or on two wheels, and I have never been involved in any incident in which anything or anyone was damaged, because I studied how to ride near the limit of achievable defensive riding.

    Perhaps an obituary notice will closely follow my next moped ride. I did not want to live ten miles out in the country. The rule of law forced me, under protest, into living where I now live, for want of a viable better alternative.

    People make choices; it is impossible to not make choices, for making the choice to not make a choice is no less a choice than is any other choice.

    No choice is ever so accurately informed that the consequences of the choice are actually sufficiently foreseeable as to prevent disastrous outcomes some of the time, disastrous outcomes that the outcome participants were truthfully sufficiently incapable of recognizing in advance well enough to prevent them.

    Some things are foreseeable, if one is sufficiently alert and attentive.

    I do not allow any driver to follow me too closely. When someone starts to do that, I accurately notice that the engine in any motor vehicle is running roughly (all internal combustion engines always run roughly), and I put on my emergency flashers and pull off onto the shoulder of the road at the first safe opportunity, get out, raise the hood, and check the vehicle coolant, oil level, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid level, brake fluid level, and everything else that I think might cause the engine to run roughly. Most of the time, I find that the engine was running roughly because it was running normally, but not always.

    When society is intrinsically dishonest, it is dishonest to not understand that society is intrinsically dishonest and it is of rigorously truthful honesty to avow and proclaim the dishonesty of society.

    So, I ride a moped. Defensively. And I do not expect my body to live forever, nor do i wish it to stop living soon. And I ride a moped and may resume riding a motorcycle-type scooter, doing so because of the economy and the Door County Circuit Court.

    As for that, I find that I am acquainted with sorrows and grief, and I cry about that as befits my need to survive being autistic in a society in which living in accord with my best-yet understanding of rigorously truthful honesty often seems to me almost as though a death-penalty-deserving crime against society.

    Other than how outcomes are labeled, is there any biologically real difference between learning something and making a mistake?

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