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Motorcycle accidents and consequences

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Helmet saved Oscar Moreno, 30, of Chicago’s life, but accident changed him forever. Photo from Jennifer Moreno.
We have all seen the signs along the highways in the summer time stating, “Share the Road”, yet every year motorcycle riders are killed.

Motorcycle riders are required to take a motorcycle safety test in order to receive their state’s motorcycle endorsement and to carry insurance, unfortunately, some motorcycle riders ignore these necessities, and the consequences of their choices could result in injury or death.

On Aug. 31, I received a phone call while I was in class, about my brother-in-law, Oscar Moreno, 30, from Chicago, had been involved in a serious accident and wasn’t expected to live. It wasn’t until later I learned it involved a motorcycle.

Rita Madden, 84, from Chicago, failed to yield at a busy intersection and pulled out in front of Moreno. The force of the collision caused Moreno to be pinned under Madden’s car.

I was told there was a possibility he wasn’t going to make it, and that he had died twice on the operating table and had internal bleeding and needed emergency surgery.

I prepared for the worst while hoping for the best, as soon as me and my husband got the news, we headed to Chicago, my husband flew ahead while I followed by driving and arriving 20 hours later.

As Moreno laid in the intensive care unit in critical condition, on life support, his personal affairs needed to be taken care of, and this was when my husband and I found out that he had never taken a motorcycle safety course, received his motorcycle endorsement on his driver’s license, or had his motorcycle insured.

In any state across the U.S., motorcycle riders are required to carry a motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license.

There are two ways in the state of Colorado to add this Class M endorsement to your driver’s license: Have a valid Colorado driver’s license, pass the motorcycle written test, purchase motorcycle instruction permit, pass motorcycle drive test, and purchase new license with motorcycle endorsement.

The second option is to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation classes, and pay a dollar to add this endorsement to your current license. The MSF Class is taught across the state and is offered at different times. According to the MSF website, this course has been proven to help with safety and awareness as a motorcycle rider.

In the event the motorcycle rider does not have their motorcycle endorsement or insurance and they are involved in an accident, the fines are severe and a court appearance in front of a judge is required.

CSU-P has its own guidelines for motorcycle riders, on their website. Section II, Play It Safe, General Safety Guideline’s states: wear a helmet when riding on a motorcycle, or bike.

Upon arriving at the Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, I arrived to see my brother in law, hooked up to a number of machines, and next to his bed was the only thing that saved his life, his motorcycle helmet.

The helmet was cracked on the side and the face shield was cracked, but because it, my brother in laws life was saved.

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website, helmets are proven to save lives, but riders age 18 and over are not required to wear helmets in Colorado.

If the motorcycle operator or passengers are under age 18, they must wear Department of Transportation approved helmet.

In Moreno’s case, he is facing severe consequences for riding his motorcycle with no motorcycle endorsement, and for having no insurance. Even though, the accident was not his fault, he was cited two tickets, and has a court date to appear in front of a judge.

Madden was cited two tickets as well, and personal legal action is now being taken against her. Even though she had insurance, she has changed Moreno’s life forever.

Moreno will not walk again, and he can no longer be a paramedic. He will have to move out of his home and he will have to change jobs, if he can ever work again. He will also have to live with the guilt of not doing the right thing and having insurance and his endorsement.

Why should people at CSU-P be concerned about this situation? Because this could have been your brother in law, a friend, or even you!

Think before you get on the back of any motorcycle, and practice riding safety before deciding this is the form of transportation you want to use. It could have severe repercussions for you in the end.