A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Sitting in a meeting last night I saw a call coming in to my cell phone.  Particularly at televised meetings I set my phone on silent, not even vibrate, but I can see when a call or message comes in when the screen lights up.  Most of the time it’s nothing critical, but when I see it’s from the police chief (and he knows I’m in a meeting) I know it can’t be good.

Among other things, living (and working) in a relatively small town means fatal accidents don’t happen all the time.  There are many busy roads in town and frequent accidents, but few where the injuries sustained are life-threatening, and fewer still where accident victims die at the scene.  Last night was one of those rare cases.

Seems a couple of guys on motorcycles were traveling along a local road.  For whatever reason, one of them decided to pass two cars ahead of him, on a curve, and collided with a car coming the other way.  The car and the bike came to rest about fifty feet from the point of impact, the car off the side of the road, the motorcycle in the middle of the road.  The rider was catapulted into the air and landed by a fence in front of a house on the other side of the road.  He was not wearing a helmet – given the severity of the impact, it’s unlikely it would have made any difference – and was probably dead before he hit the ground.  No one else, fortunately, was seriously hurt.

Riding a motorcycle is inherently risky.  Everything we do entails some amount of risk; some things more, others less.  We either avoid the activity, ignore the risk, or manage the risk to the point where we are comfortable engaging in it.  This being my fourth season as a rider I am absolutely not an expert and do not consider myself one, and am in no position to pass judgment.  But it is events like last night’s accident – the loss of a life, the grief and anguish of friends and family, the nightmares the innocent driver will have – that make me stop and consider the choices we, and I, make.  And it reminds me that it only takes a momentary lapse for tragedy to strike.


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