Just A Second You Wish You Could Have Back….

I lost a very special cousin a few weeks ago. He was a cousin by marriage, not that it mattered, who took me in as a part of his family with open arms, and despite his tough guy façade allowed me to see a side of him that not many outside his immediate family saw. He was truly a great guy who reached out immediately for those in need, whether that need was driven by personal hardship or just knowing that no matter what, he had your back.

You know the type, hardnosed, hardheaded, and with a heart as big as a mountain. If it is true what they say that “The bigger they are, the harder they fall” shock waves not only went through his family, but also the thousands of mourners who visited him both at the funeral home and his final resting place after he died.

Dean was just a carefree guy. Had a gorgeous wife and three beautiful daughters who he adored every minute of every day. Yes, he worked. Worked hard too, with a perfect safety record of which he was damn proud. The most important thing though was family. Everything was about family. Birthdays, Communions, Bat Mitzvahs, family gatherings, graduation parties, you name it. Any reason to be with family was a great reason.

A close second was his Harleys. The man loved his Harleys and he loved to ride.

Dean didn’t die of Cancer or a brain tumor. He didn’t die of a heart attack or some rare blood disease. He wasn’t murdered by gun shot or knife nor did he die in some natural disaster.

He was killed by someone who didn’t take the time to look. The other guy.

I am not by any means against motorcyclists. I myself rode dirt bikes for years as a kid and loved it. I was terrified about ever riding on main roads and never did get my license to do so. The thing is, I never trusted the other guy. Dean was killed by the other guy.

He rode for over 30 years and was a trusted rider who was careful, proactive and didn’t believe in showboating. He respected the rules of the road and the bigger and larger vehicles around him. He always remained in control; Dean just couldn’t control the other guy.

Now, two families are destroyed.

Here are some statistics that may shock you:

• According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), there are 7.1 million motorcycles on the road in the United States, and over one million new motorcycles and dirt bikes are purchased every year.

• In 2008 5,290 people died in motorcycle accidents across the country – the highest number ever recorded. More recent statistics are not yet available.

• The number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities has increased every year for the last decade.

• More and more riders over 40 years of age are being killed in motorcycle crashes – a trend that reflects the aging baby boomers.

• According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you are 37 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car accident – and nine times more likely to become injured while riding a motorcycle than while driving a car.

• Last year, 14 percent of all traffic accident deaths involved motorcycles.

• There were 114,000 serious motorcycle accidents last year that involved injuries or property damage.

One major study done on this subject in the United States was the Hurt Report, which was published a number of years back. The Hurt Report concluded with a list of 55 findings, as well as several major recommendations for law enforcement and legislation.

Notable findings in the Hurt report included:

• 75% of motorcycle accidents were found to involve both a motorcycle and a passenger vehicle.

• In these accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.

• “The failure of motorists to detect and recognize motorcycles in traffic is the predominating cause of motorcycle accidents…

Careless driving has to stop. Respect for bikers is mandatory. Motorcycles are not going away and as such, your attention to them is not only requested, but demanded. Eliminating texting while driving was a good first step in protecting all vehicle passengers; now for our friends on bikes let’s stop:

• Tailgating riders

• Changing lanes without checking blind spots

• Racing them to intersections or cutting them off

• Disregarding traffic signs because at first glance we don’t see any traffic

The funny thing people, is that it is as simple as what you learned when you got your license, combined with just a little plain common decency and courtesy. Traits I know we all have.

If you think I am passionate about this subject, well I am. My daughter’s future father-in-law was critically injured a few years ago when a woman ran a traffic sign and slammed into him on his bike. After years of healing, and a subsequent stroke from the accident he is now legally blind and was forced to give up a thriving dental practice.

My future son-in law rides as well and on occasion is accompanied by my daughter. I will be honest with you; it scares the very hell out of me. While I know that he is a very responsible rider, I’m worried about the other guy.

Please watch for them on the road, I hold their safety in your hands.

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About Bruce Rosenblat

Bruce is currently president, partner, and a senior coach at globally renowned PAAR and Company, a High Impact Executive Coaching Firm located in Farmiington Hills, Michigan where he specializes in helping others attain unprecedented futures. After a 30 year run in the mortgage industry Bruce sold his company, North Star Home Lending, Michigan's largest independantly owned relationship based mortgage lender to Bingham Farms, Michigan based Main Street Bank where he also serves as EVP-CMO. Bruce was also an inugural appointee to Michigan's Mortgage Industry Advisory Board. He has a 30 year history of coaching and mentoring sales people to perform at an optimum level.

Posted on July 12, 2010, in For Love of Family, The Coaching Experience. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Cathy Behrens

    May Dean Rest in Peace and his family members find it again after such a tragic way to lose a loved one. Sorry to hear about your families loss Bruce. Well done blog, as always . . . 🙂

  2. Thanks, Bruce! Sorry for your loss (and the loss to his family!
    Have read & will take to heart!
    As a former biker…I know all too easy how accidents can happen. Have forwarded to many friends who are either bikers or car drivers who also do not want to become the Other Guy!

    Safe travels!

  3. Thank you, as always, for your forthright sharing. I have fond memories of the bikes when we were kids …

    Love ~ T

    • Bruce Rosenblat

      They were fun times Ter, when life was certainly much simplier…and Thank you Cathy and Darryl…I appreciate the fond wishes and the acknowledgement of the message.

  4. Very good article, Bruce. I feel for you and your family and share your fears. I know two motorcycle riders who have been badly injured in the last year, both by drivers who weren’t paying attention. One lost his leg, the other has brain damage. Thanks for the well-done article.

  5. One last note: I pray for Dean’s family and know that their next few years will be filled with sadness and wonder…wondering what they could have done and what Dean could have done to possibly avoid such tragedy. As I know after my brother was killed by a girl who ran a flashing red light 28 years ago, the pain doesn’t go away.

  6. Right on Bruce (as usual) – I lost a childhood friend to a motorcycle accident many years ago, and lost my former business partner and his wife in another motorcycle accident about eight years ago. Both were due to careless car drivers.

  7. This is a heart felt blog. I’m sure the rest of the family will think so too. We all loved Dean so much and truly miss him.

    Your right….awareness of motorcycles is a must. Very informative information.

    Love you for writing this.

  8. Very nicely done Bro in-law. It only takes a second to look and that extra second can save lives. I applaude your blog!

  9. Bruce, The second I wish I could have back is the one where I wish I would have asked him to wait for me so I could go with him. It was such a beautiful night for a ride and I wanted to go too but he was heading out as I was coming in. I know his rides are like therepy for him so I didnt ask him to wait for me. If only…because he wouldnt have been in that place at that time and we would have enjoyed your company on July 3rd, and he would’ve walked his daughters down the isle and played with his granchildren and he would’ve grown old with me like we were supposed to!
    Thank you for writing this blog and everyone’s kind words and condolences. I know your family loved Dino and he loved you all to, as do I! AND…I’m sorry that you all lost Dino as well because he had a huge impact on all of our lives! Heartfelt condolences to all the other people with replies of their tragedy and losses too! It is sickening the way Motorcycles are disregarded on the road.

    • Bruce Rosenblat

      Chris…Life is all about seconds. The truth is we need to grab and hold on to each and every one of them as our live’s depend on them. Regrets never bring us peace.
      We need to hold on to what joy came from the seconds that enriched our life.

      All my love to you and the girls!

  10. Anna Mitchell

    Great article and very well written too. I was just amazed when I saw all the perfect safety awards that were bestowed upon Dean. It was such a moving tribute just seeing all the family and friends just pouring into the funeral home of a great man. Even though I’ve never met him, I’ll never forget him. Everday heroes are the ones that REALLY touch your heart.

  11. Hey Bruce,

    Its about time I take the time to respond to one of your blogs; thanks so much for the inspiring words and the plan truth about the dangers of the other driver.

    First, I am sorry for the loss of your cousin and my sincere thoughts and prayers are with you and his family. What a tragedy.

    I myself was the other driver at one time, and fortunately there were not any injuries, however damage to my car and his motorcycle did occur.

    This incident was in the motorcyclist’s words his mistake, but I did get a ticket. Motorcyclists need to always drive defensively and we (the other guys) need to take that second look. I was stopped at a T-crossing, turning left and a van was the only vehicle I saw was turning right on the road I was turning left from. There was no visible signs of any other traffic, so I proceeded to pull out to make my left and as soon as I did I saw him coming and stopped, however I was a little to far out in the intersection and he collided with my left front end almost being able to stop in time. He went flying through the air and landed on his head/helment and bounced right up like nothing happened. He said he was fine and was very upset at himself for hiding behind the van on the far side out of my sight. It is still up to me to yield the right of way, however the issue here was I did not see him or anything coming.

    Thank goodness nothing serious did occur, but I can tell you first hand that because of there size they are much more difficult to see. I try and always double check with oncoming traffic because you just don’t know if a bike may be in a blind spot.

    Bruce thanks again for bringing this to light. I have lost some friends and others I know have been in bad accidents and survived. A loss like this brings it to reality.

    • Bruce Rosenblat

      Thank you Bob for your frankness. It takes a huge person to acknowledge what happened to you. Yes, accidents happen and sometimes, as difficult as it is to say they just do. Motorcycle riding is not without some inherent danger. It is not so much those situations where the unfortunate happens that irks me, it is the arrogance of drivers who pay no respect for the rider that I worry about.

      Thanks for sharing and your compassion. I really do know how responsible you are and how devestated you must have felt when this happened to you. You are a good man.

  12. Thanks for the important info Bruce, and I’m sorry to read about your loss. Our ex-governor, Bill Janklow experienced some type of medical issue when driving a few years ago — hit and killed a motor cyclist when going through an intersection. Very, very sad. You just never know when . . . .

    You may know I’ve taken up bicycling as a new hobby this past year. I’ve dropped 50 pounds and am back to my college weight. But I’ve increased my risk by a zillion percent — you think motorcycle riding is dangerous — try bicycling riding! Most motorists don’t have a clue how to drive around a bicyclist — pass, wait till the lane is clear, honk, give’em ‘the finger’, etc. Many look at a bicyclist as nothing more than an irritant that doesn’t belong on the road.

    As an aside, I’ll be returning to my beloved state of Michigan to ride in the DALMAC tour in September — a five day ride from East Lansing across the bridge to Sault Ste. Marie. You should join us!

    • Bruce Rosenblat

      Some great points Fred. Hopefully some people will get the message as well for bicyclists too! FIFTY POUNDS, damn you stud. Really happy for you. Stay healthy!

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