Today's entry has almost nothing to do with Halloween, actually, except that it is Halloween Day. It was a fine Fall Monday with brilliant sun in the eyes of eastbound commuters like me this morning. Temps once again eased up into the sixties, soon to be a distant memory. Darkness has sent the mercury down a bit, of course, but it's still that rare and memorable no-coats-over-costumes night for trick-or-treating. The few splendid days of Fall that we do get here in Upstate NY must always be noted with the proper gratitude.
One bonus of great weather is the chance for bikers (the motor-kind) to enjoy a last ride or two. I volunteered on a charity dice-run a few weeks back, and we hit a nasty, drizzly day for that one. Sure hurts the turn-out when that happens. The boys were out today, though! One of them passed me this morning during rush-hour at something approaching 100 mph. I shook my head silently and prayed I wouldn't see him farther along the highway waiting for an ambulance (or worse). Much later, during the early afternoon, another motorcyclist (I assume it wasn't the same guy) ended up having a very bad day.
I heard the story on the radio news, and later on the traffic report. The accident was very near my home, on a section of highway I often travel. The eastbound lanes had to be closed, and the westbound traffic had slowed to a crawl in order to gawk at the wreckage. The details took a while to come together, but here's what apparently happened: a lone cyclist flew through a stop sign at a very busy intersection, directly into the side of a large tractor-trailer. Obviously the biker got the worst of this horrible encounter (the truck's driver was unharmed). Motorcycle and rider were separated on impact, and the bike burst into flames. The rider was dragged about one hundred feet, then airlifted to a hospital, with very serious injuries. The truck, filled with paper goods, also burned. I learned this evening, when I stopped in for my take-home coffee, that the truck was headed for my favorite Tim Horton's location. That delivery won't be made today. I hope the biker survives the day. It's far too beautiful a day to die.
Everyone knows that motorcycles can be dangerous. They have none of the modern safety systems featured on cars. No bumpers, no airbags or seatbelts, no roll-cage or steel doors. All a biker has in his favor is spectacular acceleration and maneuverability. The rest is up to the rider. This is not a lesson best learned by experience. Most days, after all, are too good for dying.
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