By Jason Schock
There really is no such thing as a “minor fender bender” when it comes to motorcycles, as powerful iron horses thrust vulnerable throttle jockeys through thin air, with only cautious driving, good instincts and better luck preventing a road trip from becoming road rash (or far worse).
So motoring mates Brad and Jennifer Campbell were grateful to be home from work all last week nursing only aching, but intact, bodies after a collision with a mid-sized sedan abruptly ended a leisurely Sunday morning bike ride.
The Sept. 18 crash in front of the Falls City Post Office and Sapp Bros. 66 flung husband and wife off their 2016 Harley-Davidson and onto the Harlan Street pavement, into an ambulance and, ultimately, hospital beds. They were initially treated at Community Medical Center but transferred via ambulance to Bryan West in Lincoln. Brad, 50, who was driving his new Ultra Classic Electra, injured a shoulder and was released that night, while Jennifer, who celebrated her 50th birthday just yesterday, suffered injuries to her back, neck and leg and was held overnight. The full extent of their injuries has yet to be determined, as doctors wait for swelling to diminish before conducting additional tests.
The Campbells were exiting the Sapps parking lot south onto Harlan Street at the precise time Margaret Jones, 83, who coincidentally shares a birthday with Mrs. Campbell, pulled her 1999 Chevy Lumina away from the post office and made a U-turn south on Harlan when the vehicles “sideswiped” one another. The Campbells were transported to CMC by Troy and Donna Lovenburg, who were accompanying their friends on the ride.
“Luckily, our speed wasn’t high. We’d just gotten started,” Brad, who has extensive experience perched atop a motor scooter, said. The former Falls City councilman and long-time Executive Director of the Iowa Tribe Housing Authority in White Cloud, KS, said the bike suffered only minor cosmetic damage, estimated at $1,800 by investigating officer Zach Ractliffe of the FCPD. Jones’ Lumina suffered about $800 damage and Ractliffe didn’t issue any citations.
Also fortunately, the parents of two grown children and grandparents of four little ones will soon ride again. Statistics show that though motorcyclists on average are more cautious drivers than those steering four wheels, injuries to those not protected by an enclosed environment such as a car frame are much more severe when accidents do occur. And though just three percent of registered vehicles are motorcycles and they account for less than one percent of total vehicle miles traveled in the U.S., motorcycle riders make up 13 percent of all road fatalities.
Sabetha motorcyclist killed Sunday
A 51-year-old Sabetha man was killed Sunday afternoon, Sept. 25, when his motorcycle collided head-on with a pickup on Highway 75 in Brown County. Timothy Sparks was pronounced dead at the scene after a truck driven by 33-year-old Jody Guidry Jr., of Opelousas, LA, crossed the center line and struck Sparks’ Harley-Davidson. Guidry was not hurt.
Though there is no motorcycle helmet law in Kansas, Sparks was wearing one.