Yesterday when I wrote about Motorcycle Awareness Month I talked about the number of fellow riders we have lost to impaired and distracted drivers. What I failed to mention is the alarming number of riders who are severely injured in such crashes. These people are rarely included in the statistics.

It made me think of my friends Barry and Kay and I dug up this post by Bob Courtney from a few years back:

September 23, 2012

Yesterday our friend Kay celebrated her 40th birthday.
We met Kay and Barry a few years back when they produced a motorcycle and music festival in New Orleans. Barry and Kay were avid riders who loved travelling on Barry’s Road King. The festival was an effort to share their love for bikes and the open road with everyone.
The Festival, called “New Orleans Bike Fest” was a great idea and they did a super job of organizing it and making it happen. Barry and Kay are CPA’s however and when the second year did not create enough income to make it a go, they wisely went on to other things.
One of those things was to continue to enjoy riding and the company of one another. They even got married. Over the years we got to be good friends.
Barry is a gregarious, witty, extremely kind and laid back person. Kay is a doll; full of life and spirit. I remember an incredible time we all spent together in Hammond, Louisiana but I won’t cover that here. That is for another story.
From time to time we enjoyed the pleasure of one another’s company. We even featured them a few times on LA Rider. We also rode together on several trips. They were always great company, fun to be with and good riding companions.
We had not seen Kay and Barry since April of this year and while in New Orleans on a shoot last week we called them up to ask them to join us for dinner and perhaps a brief ride. That is when Barry gave us the news. I think we are all still in shock.
We all know that drunks and inattentive drivers are out there. We all think about it and we all think we are prepared for it.
On a beautiful day last May Barry and Kay took the Road King out for a Sunday ride. While crossing over a bridge Barry said he heard brakes squealing. He says he never even had time to prepare or react to the drunk in the pickup truck who swerved directly into his lane.
Barry’s injuries were significant. He had a broken foot, broken ribs, a punctured lung and numerous cuts, scrapes and bruises. Kay however, got the absolute worst of it.
No, Barry told me over the phone, they would not be riding with us today. In fact they do not ride any longer. Beautiful, sweet, feisty Kay had lost her left leg just above the knee. They managed to save her right arm, although right now it is pretty much useless. They are hoping further surgery and rehab will help her gain back some use of the arm. She is also adapting well to a prosthetic leg.
Following the call we stopped by and visited them at their home in New Orleans. Kay is amazing. Her spirit is incredible. Later that evening I sent Barry a note telling him how sorry we were for what had happened and offering any support they might need. Below is his reply to that e-mail. I use it with his permission.

Kay and I always knew the risks of riding and we had several conversations about how much we loved to ride and that we were accepting the risks. However, I never saw this type of accident coming. I was always wary of someone pulling in front of us, turning left in front of us, changing lanes on us, running lights, etc…, but I thought I would be able to see it coming and at least have a chance to react. Not so, in this case. I can tell you that our hearts ache when we see people riding on pretty days because we know that we will not get to experience that wonderful wind in your face, free wheelin feeling again. When I walk by a parked Harley from behind and look down on the gas tank and handle bar view that you see when you ride, I’m reminded of how driving the powerful, nimble bike feels and it makes me want to get another one. But, I can’t because also I remember what it felt like to be slammed down onto the road, bones breaking, and then hearing Kay calling my name, turning myself around and seeing her lying on the ground broken and cut to pieces. This was definitely a life changing event and Kay and I can’t expose ourselves to those risks again. All that said, I tell everyone that this was not a “motorcycle” accident, it was a “drunk driving should have been locked up asshole accident. The motorcycle had nothing to do with it other than it provided no protection for us. I used to like to say “live free and ride”, but now I know that we can’t live free until we fix the revolving door judicial system that lets hoodlums loose on society and does nothing to deter never-do-wells from harming those of us that are just out minding our own business and enjoying a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

We don’t want people to feel sorry for us or worry about us because we are fine and we’ll find another hobby to enjoy. We still have a good life and we get to continue to watch our children grow. Out of bad, comes good; and since the accident we have become closer to family and friends and are more appreciative of life.

Yesterday we went to Kay’s birthday Party. A birthday she almost did not see. We are so glad to have celebrated it with her and look forward to many more.

Bob Courtney

By the way Bob talked with Barry today and he and Kay are doing great. A Corvette has replaced the Harley in their lives and they use it to do many of the things they once did on two wheels.


See you on the road,


T.W. Robinson

~ by larider on April 23, 2014.

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