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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm sharing this and ask you to consider sharing it with others. This tragedy killed my son and I've been made aware of it becoming a large controversy in many motorcycle communities. I've included my comment to the text of article and to some of the thoughtless comments made on the article. Below it is a link to the article.

Posted as "His Father":

As Andrew's father, I spoke with the medical examiner. I know what happened as the police understand it. I know what happened to Andrew and what was the cause of death. I arrived on the scene moments after Andrew was taken away. I later viewed Andrew and saw the damage. I know.

As a rider myself, I had talked with Andrew about the helmet and its lack of protection. I always wear a full-face helmet and I always encourage that of everyone who rides. But what you do not know unless you knew him is he had an exceptionally large head. Even a XXXL helmet pressed on his head leaving impressions. Since he suffered from severe migraines much of his life, and this helmet pressure would trigger them, it was a condition unbearable for him. So he made his choice. Not ride, or ride with a less-protective helmet. He chose the latter.

Do not use this one, isolated case to generalize about helmet use or non-use. It was one man's experience for his own situation and it was his choice. Do not characterize him or this tragic event by this one choice. You do not know him; you did not walk in his shoes; you do not have the right to judge.


Bethany man killed in motorcycle, SUV collision in Aloha
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Dean, @24mileboy - Thank you. He loved riding second only to his love for his family. It is appreciated you took the time to reply and express your care. Be safe. Remember: Cars always win.
 

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Cars pulling out of lots. I have no love for them, or their carelessness. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@txsailor - Thank you. Giving your time to send your thought is truly appreciated. We who ride share a special experience. Those of us who ride and who are also veterans -- well, that just adds another dimension. From your moniker I assume you are a Navy vet living in or from Texas? Andrew and I are both former Navy. He will be interred in Willamette National Cemetery on Tuesday with military honors.
 

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Rod I'm so sorry for your loss.

People are afraid and they won't admit it. And when they are afraid, they look for things to blame; but what they blame has to be something that they control. The obvious blame is the driver who pulled out; but we can't control that. We can control the gear and helmets we wear; so we blame that. If we blame his novelty helmet, and hurl insults at a person we've never met, harming his family; then we can feel better about ourselves because we wear better helmets and thus won't meet the fate he met.

It's silly, and none of the people doing it will admit doing it or even realize they are doing it. But they are afraid and that's exactly why they respond like that.

Sorry for your loss; you and your family are in my prayers.

Just as an add though; when it comes to helmets size isn't everything. I'm sure your son tried everything; but for others reading; sometimes someone will put on one brand of a full face and can't find any size to fit them so they say "Well I can't wear a full face". The reality is they are all so different, as our heads are all so different. Another brand might fit. Though it does sound like your son was a unique case.
 

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So sorry for your loss Rod.
 

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@txsailor - Thank you. Giving your time to send your thought is truly appreciated. We who ride share a special experience. Those of us who ride and who are also veterans -- well, that just adds another dimension. From your moniker I assume you are a Navy vet living in or from Texas? Andrew and I are both former Navy. He will be interred in Willamette National Cemetery on Tuesday with military honors.
Just got into the Navy actually, got my commission in May. And thank you and your son for going before and making my time possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@Romans5.8 - Thank you for expressing your sympathy and thoughts. Yes, the focus on the helmet is so typical of the media. You made the same point that I and his brother (another rider) made: Um, how about the SUV that pulled out in front of him? Maybe the helmet wouldn't have mattered or been needed if that hadn't happened.

Your point about helmet sizes being different between manufacturers is absolutely correct. I know that personally. But Andrew did try several. Yet, you know it can be a difficult, trial-and-error to find one that works.

In this particular instance, however, I'm confident a full face would not have made a difference. I saw his body and spoke with the medical examiner and am confident that is the case.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@SpinDog - Thank you for expressing your sympathy. Taking time to reply does mean something and I appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
@txsailor - Thank you for your service. I have a Senior Chief friend who often cites the statistics of how few actually serve. I don't remember them but it is a small fraction of the population of our country. So, sir, you are in a very elite group by the simple fact that you have chosen to do so. Honor, Courage, Commitment.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
A little more information

I'm continuing to pursue getting a copy of the police report. As I mentioned, I spoke with the medical examiner. Yesterday, two of my sons and I (all riders) went and examined the scene. It was pretty clear what happened as far as the physical evidence.

We have a report from the person in the car behind him that Andrew was doing about 25 mph. (This driver said he was doing 20 and Andrew was just slightly pulling away from him. It is a 35mph zone and they had just left from a stop light.) 25/mph is 37ft/sec. We measured the scene and given that rate, the whole thing happened in about 3 seconds.

The odd thing was there were plenty of paint marks on the road showing where Andrew braked, swerved, and came to rest. But there was nothing on the road showing where the SUV was positioned. Odd...

However, we came to the conclusion, given what we could see, that Andrew did everything right. It all happened too quickly. He did a great job but there just wasn't enough time. But he almost made it. The damage on the SUV was from the center of the front wheel forward. He almost made it.

Unfortunately, the time of day and that location, the SUV driver had the sun directly in her eyes. There was no tree in front of her but there are trees along the road so the road was dappled with alternating bands of light and dark. And Andrew rides a black Harley.

The combination of these things, and her decision to drive across the street from one parking lot to another, was a tragic mistake. The driver behind him reported that she got out and called 911 while her passenger got out to try and tend to Andrew. These were conscientious people who made a terrible, unfortunately, fatal mistake.

I wish more people would start seeing motorcycles. But we who ride know that, all too often, they look for a car, don't see a car, and proceed. All very too often. And my son, our brother, paid the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
A little more...

Another of my sons went over yesterday and sat in his car in the driveway where the SUV was sitting before it pulled out in front of Andrew. He said he sat there for quite a while trying to see what the SUV would've seen.

It turns out there is a telephone pull right there to the left. That telephone pole blocked the view of every motorcycle that went by. Cars were okay, being longer, but he couldn't see the motorcycle until it was right at the driveway.

So, another factor that, combined with all the others, says that it was just a very, very tragic accident.
 

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Another of my sons went over yesterday and sat in his car in the driveway where the SUV was sitting before it pulled out in front of Andrew. He said he sat there for quite a while trying to see what the SUV would've seen.

It turns out there is a telephone pull right there to the left. That telephone pole blocked the view of every motorcycle that went by. Cars were okay, being longer, but he couldn't see the motorcycle until it was right at the driveway.

So, another factor that, combined with all the others, says that it was just a very, very tragic accident.
I have to say, I am VERY impressed with how you and your family is handling this. I know from experience when I have a close call with a vehicle I tend to get very angry at the driver, and assume they're just being thoughtless, but it's clear you've approached this from a very neutral standpoint, seeking to learn and improve rather than place blame. It's humbling reading your posts, and I hope I can approach such difficulty with even half of the grace you are showing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
@txsailor - I appreciate that; thank you. We really are trying to look at this objectively. Yes, it was my son who was killed and that makes it tough. But sometimes people behave criminally and other times they're just being people who make stupid mistakes that result in tragedy. I know I've made my share of dumb mistakes where I was fortunate that no one was hurt. This time, it appears that a dumb mistake led to the death of my son.

We held the services Saturday; we had the military honors and buried him Tuesday. We've had several powerful experiences and been able to see many, many tender mercies that have convinced us that Heavenly Father is mindful of us and it has brought us some peace in this.

Andrew is not gone; he simply isn't here, and I'm a bit annoyed that he went before me: I was supposed to be there to welcome him, not the other way around.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@Ron M, @edmKC - Thank you for taking the time to reply. Time is precious -- we only get so much of it -- and I appreciate you giving up some of yours.
 
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