Bikers have families too

Published 7:17 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

Four years ago, on a beautiful Friday, my family’s life was turned upside down.

I remember the day perfectly. It was the last day of the kids’ spring break. They were out playing, and my husband and I were discussing our plans for the garden that year. Around 11 a.m., he went to play pool, as he did every Friday. The kids had wandered down to a neighbor’s house to play with her grandson.

After my husband left, I walked down to check on the kids. At the time, my youngest was 4 and my oldest was 10. As I stood talking to the neighbor, her son pulled up in his car. He asked where my husband was, then proceeded to tell me he just saw a motorcycle accident down the road and it looked just like my husband’s bike.

As my breath caught, I dialed my husband’s phone — nothing. I called my neighbor who he was meeting at the pool hall; they had left at the same time. My husband wasn’t there yet.

And that is when I knew. That bike didn’t just look like my husband’s — it was my husband’s.

I jumped in my neighbor’s car, and he rushed me to the scene, running two red lights and going around a police barricade to get there. I remember when I first saw his bike, laying in pieces in the middle of the road, glass and bike parts all over. At that moment, I didn’t know if my husband was alive or dead.

That moment changed our family. Thankfully, he recovered after 3½ weeks in the hospital, much of that in a coma. After several long surgeries and more than six months out of work, he has few lingering side effects.

I share this as an example that every biker you see has a family.

Watch out for bikers and give them extra space. Motorcycles are small, and sometimes they are hard to see. A motorcycle cannot slam on the brakes. They can’t drive off the road to the shoulder to avoid a collision. Bikers don’t have a metal frame around them, and they don’t have big bumpers in front and back to absorb the crash. There are no airbags on a bike, no seatbelts or roll cages. What would be a minor accident in a car could be fatal to a biker. Drive as if that biker were your child, your husband, your sister, because they are somebody’s family member.

It is spring in Virginia, and that means more bikers are on the roads. Look twice — three times even. Be watchful, be careful, and give the bikers the benefit of life. Join me in saying a silent prayer for every one of them — that they will arrive at their destination safely and that their families will never have to endure the pain and hardship of a motorcycle accident.

 

Jen Jaqua is the page designer for the Suffolk News-Herald, The Smithfield Times and the Windsor Weekly. She is a proud Navy veteran. She can be reached at jen.jaqua@suffolknewsherald.com.