But when the fall happens at highway speeds on motorcycles, the bumps and
bruises of yesteryear frequently escalate into broken bones and head injuries
that doctors and nurses sometimes can't help heal.
James P. Guy, 36, and Joe A. Guy, 10, both of 326 Franklin St., Ravenna,
know how painful the healing can be.
For the past two weeks, the father-son duo has been hospitalized at Cleveland's
MetroHealth Medical Center after a motorcycle-car collision on S.R. 59 June
Until Thursday, James Guy was being treated in the hospital's surgical intensive
care unit. He was listed in ``stable'' condition on a regular floor Saturday.
Joe Guy's condition has been stable for the past few days, according to
a hospital spokeswoman.
Both were thrown from the motorcycle when they reportedly attempted to pass
a line of about three stopped cars on the two-lane roadway. As the lead
vehicle began to turn left into a private driveway, the Guys' motorcycle
crashed into the left front of the vehicle as they attempted to pass, according
to the Ravenna Post of the Ohio Highway Patrol.
The motorcycle came to rest in a nearby field. It is estimated to have been
traveling about 53 mph in a 55 mph zone when it collided with the car. Joe
was wearing a helmet. His father wasn't, reports show.
``They hit the pavement,'' said Ravenna OHP Sgt. Michael Guarnieri, of motorcycle
crash victims, many of which barely survive. ``Of course, these people are
going 40, 50 and 60 mph when they hit the pavement. We encourage them to
wear protective motorcycle gear, leather equipment, heavy boots, padded
gloves. When you're padded like that, you can hit the pavement and it doesn't
take off about a pound of your flesh. It's foolish to ride a motorcycle
with a T-shirt and shorts on.''
Ohio law does not require motorcycle operators to wear helmets except if
they're under age 18 or the passenger of an operator who is younger than
age 18. Otherwise, motorcyclists must only wear protective eye gear.
Some riders wear helmets, many of which have safety features like face guards
and sound systems that allow a motorcycle operator and passenger to converse
or listen to the radio.
But even with the improved level of safety offered by today's helmets, plus
an approved appearance, not everyone buys them.
``A lot of people don't wear helmets because they don't like them,'' said
Gary Carlton, whose parents, Gary and Jane, own Carlton Harley Davidson
on S.R. 44 in Mantua. ``Some people think they look stupid, and some people
think it's their choice. A lot of people will come in here and buy helmets
if they're going traveling, just so they'll have them in those states that
The Carltons recommend new motorcycle operators take a safety course offered
at Lakeland Community College to acquaint people with the proper methods
and safety techniques for proper motorcycle operation, Gary Carlton said.
The Guys' crash wasn't Portage County's first serious motorcycle incident
this year. On May 24, a 33-year-old man was killed when he went off the
road and hit a pole on S.R. 303.
Some motorcycle fans, like Carlton, say it's the drivers behind the wheels
of cars who create hazards for motorcyclists, but others contend the small
size and speedy nature of motorcycles sometimes create havoc on roadways.
The Ohio Highway Patrol contends operators of motorcycles and drivers of
cars both need to be on their toes when they're on the roads.
``Last year, there were 300 deer accidents that our post wrote reports on,
and I know there were a lot others,'' Guarnieri said. ``We've had some serious
motorcycle accidents where people have hit deer or other animals, a dog
or a possum.''
Guarnieri also said the frequent complaints car drivers lodge against gravel
trucks that sometimes spray loose stones, chipping paint jobs and windshields,
create perilous problems for motorcyclists.
``I can't even imagine what it would feel like if you're going 55 and you
meet a gravel truck going the other way,'' Guarnieri said of a motorcycle
operator without a helmet or face shield on.
So far this year, 14 people have died as a result of traffic crashes on
Portage County's roadways. There have been 12 fatal crashes, two of which
were double fatalities. One person has died as a result of a motorcycle
incident, Guarnieri said.