Worry Still Lingers

This post has been pending for a while now.  It was put it on the back burner for a variety of reasons but this past Monday (I think it was Monday) one more fatality brought it right back up, front and center!

A couple of Sundays ago, a young woman riding a motorcycle in Waialua lost control of the bike, hit the guardrail, and was pronounced dead at the scene.  She was only 27 years old!  Her passenger was 23 and, while injured, survived the crash.  Apparently it’s not uncommon for a passenger to be thrown clear and suffer little or no injury.

Blue motorcycle at 2007 bike show

People who have cruised through this blog from time to time know that I am a big proponent of motorcycle safety.   The media reports on the fatality rates on our roadways.  I have seen a variety of numbers reported but one of the reports said that this was already the 7th one this year, on Oahu, which matches the total of all of those that happened in 2008.  HPD said that the motorcycle accident at the end of February was the 17th but that may have been traffic fatalities in total, not just motorcycle-related accidents.   No matter how you look at it, it’s just way too many!

If you’re a biker, I know you guys want to just brush me off but, guess what?  I’m not the only one!  Listen to the words from some of your own!  Am I wrong?  Still think I’m over-reacting?

I’ve been telling myself that I’m becoming my mother — I worry too much about people’s safety.  With no biological children of my own, I guess I have a deep-seated, maternal need to adopt all of our Oahu ohana who constantly put themselves at risk.  I worry about all of the things that any good mother would worry about — the risks involved with dangerous locations, dangerous equipment with sharp blades, and all dangerously fast-moving vehicles with a bad rap.

The fear of accidents and the heavy grief over the loss of a friend or loved one would be unbearable.  It doesn’t happen often but when it’s someone you know, once is already too much.  The lu’ulu’u (heavy grief) caused by a tragedy like this lingers over the community for several days and is hard to shake off, especially when you have friends and family who share the same hobby.  The danger is something that mothers and spouses have to deal with and/or shake off every time their loved ones step outside the door.

Sunrise River Wild Boar Hunting Knife Model 503 Another one that is not usually on my radar of concern, is another favorite pastime that I had forgotten about. Factor in another relatively-recent incident and this particular activity moves right back to the forefront.  Granted, this was a truly unfortunate case of po’ino (hard luck or peril) that caused this tragedy.  I guess technology makes things more dangerous now.  Mahalo to KITV4 for keeping that link active for us.

We have several hunters on the island (responsible ones who don’t kill other people’s pets; don’t even let me get started on that one again) who hunt pigs, goats, deer (on the Big Island), etc. using a variety of techniques.  I’ve lost friends because of accidents in the mountain so I can speak with a little bit of authority on this.

Yes, I do worry about animal rights and , were it not for the destruction done to the environment by these non-indigenous characters, I would be screaming about their slaughter.  Don’t worry, the photo of this charming little guy was actually borrowed from a photographer who took this in India.  It’s illegal to kill the pigs there.  They are necessary to that ecosystem (destructive of ours).

Wild boar in India

To avoid sharing a bloody photo, I got permission from Flickr.com member, zedaxis22, to borrow this wonderful photo of this wild boar.  If I had not told you this photo was taken in India, you never would have known the difference.  I didn’t! Thank you, zedaxis22, I’m glad that this little guy is in India because I would hate to see anything happen to a fine creature like that.

With the exception of the wild animals and the choice of equipment, this past time would be no more dangerous than hiking, right?  Wrong.  The problem is, there are so many other factors to consider.  Hunters consistently step off any paths or trails created for hikers.  They need to go where their targets go, which is usually anywhere but the marked trails.

In short, I’m sending strong urgings to friends and family who are passionate about their favorite pastimes:  please use caution, please make good decisions, and please remember your loved ones before you take those dangerous steps.

Strong urgings to drivers:  “Look Twice, Save a Life.  Motorcycles are Everywhere.”  This is especially true now that gas prices have made us think about our methods of transportation.

Drive smart, ride smart, and play smart!

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