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Extreme Long Distance Endurance Motorcycle Rider IronBoltBruce From: IronBoltBruce [mailto:Bruce@LdrLongDistanceRider.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 7:12 AM
To: 'rob@westbranchtimes.com'

Rob Poggenklass
West Branch Times
124 W. Main Street
West Branch, Iowa 52358

Mr. Poggenklass,

In your op-ed piece below you say "... it was the driver of the tractor-trailer who was at fault in the tragic occurrence that [killed a biker] at South Downey and Fawcett Drive--but only for failure to yield."

But only for failure to yield? But ONLY for failure to yield??? BUT "ONLY" FOR FAILURE TO YIELD?!?

That is the same as saying that "...the criminal who pulled the trigger on the gun was at fault for the death of the victim--but only for murder." Are you truly that naive, Rob, or do you just think your readership is?

Neither helmets nor helmet laws do anything to prevent right-of-way violations, and that is the real story and issue here. The motorcyclist did NOT die because he was not wearing a helmet. He died because his right-of-way was violated!

WHY did the trucker violate the motorcyclist's right-of-way, Rob? Was he gabbing on his cellphone when he should've been watching the road, perhaps? WHAT actions will be taken to punish this offender, and to prevent or at least discourage other motorists from committing the same offense?

Neither professional journalism nor responsible reporting appear to be your forte, Rob. Perhaps it would be in everyone's best interests for you to seek employment in some field other than news media.

Speaking strictly for myself and no other individuals or organizations,


Author and Publisher, LdrLongDistanceRider.com
Co-Moderator, Bruce-n-Ray's Biker Forum
Premier Member, Iron Butt Association
Sustaining Member, Motorcycle Riders Foundation
Member and Elite Legislative Supporter, American Motorcyclist Association



Editorial: Iowa needs helmet law now Op-Ed August 15, 2007

It's hard to understand how the Great State of Iowa can argue that car and truck drivers must wear seat belts while not also insisting that motorcyclists wear helmets.

The July 31 crash in West Branch that killed Joshua Lunsford reminds us of how fragile life can be when we're moving faster than we can run. Lunsford was not wearing a helmet, but the West Branch Police Department believes it was the driver of the tractor-trailer who was at fault in the tragic occurrence that happened at South Downey and Fawcett Drive--but only for failure to yield. Lunsford, according to information provided in his obituary and comments from a former friend, was an avid--and experienced--motorcyclist.

And, looking at the site of the accident, there is a hill south of the intersection that is steep enough to obscure a driver's vision--drivers coming from either direction. That means the truck driver may have looked for oncoming traffic but may not have seen Lunsford had Lunsford's motorcycle been under the crest of the hill at that very moment. It is also likely that Lunsford saw the truck before the hill obscured his vision but did not see the truck was intending to turn until he came over the hill's crest. A late turn signal? We may never know, but it is possible that the hilly terrain contributed to the crash.

The point is that both the truck driver and Lunsford may have been practicing relatively safe driving outside of a singular moment--and that moment is why we are mourning the fact that we are talking about Lunsford, not with him.

And this story should serve as an illustration to state legislators who are looking for arguments to enact a law that requires helmet use by all motorcyclists. There are plenty of examples of reckless driving deaths which helmet opponents write off, but here we have a case that shows drivers don't have to be acting recklessly for someone to die.

Accidents happen, and when they happen at high speeds with little or no safety equipment, they can be fatal. We require seat belts for people inside cars and trucks, so why not helmets for people on motorcycles? It is in the best interest of the motorcyclists without impeding their rights.


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