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cascadesdj

Vantage accident 3/18/12

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Great write up! Sorry I am late to the conversation, I was climbing at Smith. There is a good video about how to correctly use the Cinch here:

http://www.trango.com/Cinch

 

I'm a firm believer in my Cinch. While I am an excellent belayer with many years of experience going back to waist belays and everything in between, when I use my Cinch, there is an added layer of safety. I like to joke that "I might get distracted, but my Cinch never does"

 

As was illustrated in this accident, things can happen that can cause even a good belayer to lose (or partially lose) control. An auto locking device like a Cinch, or a GriGri can make the difference, when the sh*t hits the fan. They are also awesome for hangdogging leaders. Keeps your hands from getting tired.

 

I still use an ATC on multipitch because it is lighter, more versatile, and I am usually tied in to an anchor, and less likely to be pulled off my stance.

 

I still teach beginners with an old Stitch plate:

http://ferno.com.au/tabid/70/CategoryID/615/ProductID/17453/Default.aspx

 

If you remove the spring, which everyone did back in the day, they are so grabby it's almost an auto locker. It requires constant management by the belayer to pull it up off the locker so rope can be fed out. This forces your belayer to pay attention, and *almost* guarantees a catch.

 

My last trick is to tape the belayers brake hand shut over the rope with climbing tape. With their hand taped on, they can't let go, and more quickly master the pinch and slide method... while you lead up something easy.

 

My daughters boyfriend learned to belay (and lead belay me) at Smith this weekend doing that. She was also pulling rope off the stack for him, and both of her hands were on the rope as a "firemans belay" in case he totally screwed up.

 

 

 

 

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Now that you seem to be surviving - it appears this thread may become a belay/device discussion, that's ok, and we all would like to hear more about the new runner. And I debated with myself about putting my two cents worth into the issue.

I'm like a few old school on this site that started climbing before ATC's and GriGri's were invented. But, I have stayed with the development over the years as I have seen improvements and safety features that are pretty important. I basically started on a stitch plate and figure 8, as noted the spring was a pain and the 8 caused the rope to coil badly after a few rappels. Along comes the best and simpleist device ever - the ATC. I've used the GRiGri many times and I only own one because it has become a handy solo-belay device.

Basically my thoughts on it are that it is a good belay device for the inattentive belayer, but is a very poor lowering device. I have seen several people drop/zipped to the ground -- even though it's a no brainer. You could faint and keel over and it will catch a fall - so yeah, a backup (sort of).

Speaking of Vantage (Feathers)- I once saw a Boy Scout leader (180lb)zipped to the ground by a 100lb learner - not the kid's fault either as his leader threaded it backwards.

So to make a long story short, don't rush out and buy one unless you really need one. Here's another GriGri story that you don't need to hear - I was teaching some youngsters climbing on top rope and busy talking to all the kids. And the parent said - Excuse me, would you mind watching my daughter. I apologised and said the device was a no brainer and would he like to belay her ( as I was somewhat embarrassed) . And to make a point, being a bit cocky - I let go of both hands as she just stayed put and went no where. I was fired on the spot.

Even the manufacturer (Pretzel) says not to use it for lead belaying on trad as the quick braking does not allow for dynamics and has a lot of shock load. So, go figure - it's all in how the gear is applied and used.

As these climbing stories continue , I'm sure the moderators will move it to a new thread, as it has drifted away from the Vantage accident report. Sorry,

:yoda:

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My last trick is to tape the belayers brake hand shut over the rope with climbing tape. With their hand taped on, they can't let go, and more quickly master the pinch and slide method... while you lead up something easy.

This sounds like a good trick. I'll have to try it.

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I'm glad this accident wasn't worse and, while I laud you for your empathy, understanding and loyalty to your friends, in the end looking at the facts it's difficult if not impossible to escape the conclusion this was a failed belay. And I don't mean that judgmentally in any way either, but rather from an objective technical assessment of the facts as conveyed here. Hell, for what it's worth, it sounds like your friend did way above-average for their experience level in attempting to re-engage the belay - most never even attempt it once it initially gets away from them.

 

And without a doubt shit does happen, but shit happening is exactly what a competent, experienced, on-point belayer has to be anticipating second-by-second, move-by-move. From the moment you lift a foot off the ground until you return to it, your belayer has to be constantly evaluating their stance in terms of body position, balance, bracing, and adjustment options, and running through worst-case scenario reactions.

 

And I don't really view this as an ATC vs. grigri deal as I don't believe it's possible to offload personal responsibility for belaying onto a device of any design or manufacture. You're either on it, or you're not - and if you're not, no device is going to make up for that failing and thinking that it can or will just opens the door to a steady, incremental erosion of the attention to detail necessary for competent belaying. And the reality that for every autoblocking 'save' after a belayer injury or failed stance there are dozens, if not hundreds, of dropped climbers with the same devices paints a more complete picture of their true strengths and weaknesses.

 

And skipping the whole moaning sport vs. trad hanging argument, this accident does highlight the fact there are simply no belaying 'rest periods', 'timeouts', or 'holidays' once a leader is off the ground; whether your leader is climbing, hanging or lowering, as their belayer you are still accountable for the resilience of your stance both during any of those modalities and for standing your ground in face of a catastrophic failure in the process.

 

Where 'sport vs. trad' can play into this sort of thing is that if you do much trad then sooner or later a gear is going to blow on your leader and you learn to be even more en garde rather than less when someone is actually weighting a piece. With the reliability of bolts in gyms and most sport venues it's just hard not to fall prey to the all-to-human tendency to rest, slack or be distracted if only for a second or two. The problem is, as was the case here, under the right circumstances a single second is all it takes to make the difference between a catch and failed stance or belay. Doubly so, if you are belaying on other than level ground where it can be quite difficult to 'rest' - counterbalanced against a hanging climber - in such a manner that your own stance won't be compromised in the event of gear failure.

 

Again I'm glad you and your friend weren't hurt any worse than you were. Sure sounds like you have the right attitude going on and now have a couple of tough object lessons to back it up. Any time you live through one of those you really can't complain too much and you clearly aren't from your posts here.

 

P.S. Please do let us know what the details on the sling are at some point - it would be helpful to know given how unusual an incident this was.

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belayers need to have either cigarettes or gri-gris or anarchist attitudes :)

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Your "right" to choose often turns into your insurance company or your probate attorney suing somebody, or your $200,000 in insured or unpaid medical expenses being passed on to the rest of us. So please don't tell me that choice burdens no one else.

 

Not belting says something about intelligence.

 

As for belaying, ATC's ARE rock solid, but there are other "choices" now.

 

BTW the pic was for a Darwin Award for a guy who advocated against seat belts, you can guess what happened.

 

So helmets and protective clothing in automobiles???? To me the right to freedom outweighs the quest to save you money.

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Your "right" to choose often turns into your insurance company or your probate attorney suing somebody, or your $200,000 in insured or unpaid medical expenses being passed on to the rest of us. So please don't tell me that choice burdens no one else.
So helmets and protective clothing in automobiles???? To me the right to freedom outweighs the quest to save you money.
Lighten up on the hyperbole with the automotive travelwear comment, Lucky. And know this: There is a long-held notion in this Land of Liberty of ours that goes something like, "Yes, Citizen, you have your rights. And yes, your rights end when they infringe upon the rights of other Citizens."

 

I am reminded of this little snippet below that I saw in an article about 5 years ago. I liked it so much back then that I saved it to my hard drive. Now seems like a great time to pull it out and dust it off.

 

A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments's (ABATE) arguments against helmet laws are largely based on the dubious premise that they violate individual rights or invade privacy. Gimme a break. Maryland has invested billions of dollars to build a public road system. So if the state decides to require users of that network to take steps to avoid spilling the contents of their skulls on public pavement, it is well within its rights. Don't like helmets? Ride on private property.

 

A federal court in Massachusetts said the same thing a little more elegantly in turning down a challenge to a state helmet law:

 

"From the moment of injury, society picks the person up off the highway; delivers him to a municipal hospital and municipal doctors; provides him with unemployment compensation if, after recovery, he cannot replace his lost job; and, if the injury causes permanent disability, may assume responsibility for his and his family's subsistence. We do not understand a state of mind that permits plaintiff to think that only he himself is concerned."

 

Add to that the cumulative toll of repeatedly treating the victims of grisly accidents have on the first-responders and medical personnel. Anything we can do to mitigate the stresses on them serves a public purpose.

 

So, if ABATE wants those of us who drive larger vehicles to look out for motorcyclists, we have a right to ask bikers to look out for themselves. That includes putting a little distance between motorcycle groups and the tavern industry.

 

 

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belayers need to have either cigarettes or gri-gris or anarchist attitudes :)

 

Two outta three ain't bad.

 

web11.jpg

 

 

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I'm glad this accident wasn't worse and, while I laud you for your empathy, understanding and loyalty to your friends, in the end looking at the facts it's difficult if not impossible to escape the conclusion this was a failed belay. And I don't mean that judgmentally in any way either, but rather from an objective technical assessment of the facts as conveyed here. Hell, for what it's worth, it sounds like your friend did way above-average for their experience level in attempting to re-engage the belay - most never even attempt it once it initially gets away from them.

 

And without a doubt shit does happen, but shit happening is exactly what a competent, experienced, on-point belayer has to be anticipating second-by-second, move-by-move. From the moment you lift a foot off the ground until you return to it, your belayer has to be constantly evaluating their stance in terms of body position, balance, bracing, and adjustment options, and running through worst-case scenario reactions.

 

And I don't really view this as an ATC vs. grigri deal as I don't believe it's possible to offload personal responsibility for belaying onto a device of any design or manufacture. You're either on it, or you're not - and if you're not, no device is going to make up for that failing and thinking that it can or will just opens the door to a steady, incremental erosion of the attention to detail necessary for competent belaying. And the reality that for every autoblocking 'save' after a belayer injury or failed stance there are dozens, if not hundreds, of dropped climbers with the same devices paints a more complete picture of their true strengths and weaknesses.

 

And skipping the whole moaning sport vs. trad hanging argument, this accident does highlight the fact there are simply no belaying 'rest periods', 'timeouts', or 'holidays' once a leader is off the ground; whether your leader is climbing, hanging or lowering, as their belayer you are still accountable for the resilience of your stance both during any of those modalities and for standing your ground in face of a catastrophic failure in the process.

 

Where 'sport vs. trad' can play into this sort of thing is that if you do much trad then sooner or later a gear is going to blow on your leader and you learn to be even more en garde rather than less when someone is actually weighting a piece. With the reliability of bolts in gyms and most sport venues it's just hard not to fall prey to the all-to-human tendency to rest, slack or be distracted if only for a second or two. The problem is, as was the case here, under the right circumstances a single second is all it takes to make the difference between a catch and failed stance or belay. Doubly so, if you are belaying on other than level ground where it can be quite difficult to 'rest' - counterbalanced against a hanging climber - in such a manner that your own stance won't be compromised in the event of gear failure.

 

Again I'm glad you and your friend weren't hurt any worse than you were. Sure sounds like you have the right attitude going on and now have a couple of tough object lessons to back it up. Any time you live through one of those you really can't complain too much and you clearly aren't from your posts here.

 

P.S. Please do let us know what the details on the sling are at some point - it would be helpful to know given how unusual an incident this was.

 

Well said.

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I'm glad this accident wasn't worse and, while I laud you for your empathy, understanding and loyalty to your friends, in the end looking at the facts it's difficult if not impossible to escape the conclusion this was a failed belay. And I don't mean that judgmentally in any way either, but rather from an objective technical assessment of the facts as conveyed here. Hell, for what it's worth, it sounds like your friend did way above-average for their experience level in attempting to re-engage the belay - most never even attempt it once it initially gets away from them.

 

And without a doubt shit does happen, but shit happening is exactly what a competent, experienced, on-point belayer has to be anticipating second-by-second, move-by-move. From the moment you lift a foot off the ground until you return to it, your belayer has to be constantly evaluating their stance in terms of body position, balance, bracing, and adjustment options, and running through worst-case scenario reactions.

 

And I don't really view this as an ATC vs. grigri deal as I don't believe it's possible to offload personal responsibility for belaying onto a device of any design or manufacture. You're either on it, or you're not - and if you're not, no device is going to make up for that failing and thinking that it can or will just opens the door to a steady, incremental erosion of the attention to detail necessary for competent belaying. And the reality that for every autoblocking 'save' after a belayer injury or failed stance there are dozens, if not hundreds, of dropped climbers with the same devices paints a more complete picture of their true strengths and weaknesses.

 

And skipping the whole moaning sport vs. trad hanging argument, this accident does highlight the fact there are simply no belaying 'rest periods', 'timeouts', or 'holidays' once a leader is off the ground; whether your leader is climbing, hanging or lowering, as their belayer you are still accountable for the resilience of your stance both during any of those modalities and for standing your ground in face of a catastrophic failure in the process.

 

Where 'sport vs. trad' can play into this sort of thing is that if you do much trad then sooner or later a gear is going to blow on your leader and you learn to be even more en garde rather than less when someone is actually weighting a piece. With the reliability of bolts in gyms and most sport venues it's just hard not to fall prey to the all-to-human tendency to rest, slack or be distracted if only for a second or two. The problem is, as was the case here, under the right circumstances a single second is all it takes to make the difference between a catch and failed stance or belay. Doubly so, if you are belaying on other than level ground where it can be quite difficult to 'rest' - counterbalanced against a hanging climber - in such a manner that your own stance won't be compromised in the event of gear failure.

 

Again I'm glad you and your friend weren't hurt any worse than you were. Sure sounds like you have the right attitude going on and now have a couple of tough object lessons to back it up. Any time you live through one of those you really can't complain too much and you clearly aren't from your posts here.

 

P.S. Please do let us know what the details on the sling are at some point - it would be helpful to know given how unusual an incident this was.

 

In general, I agree with you, but there is a sense in your comment that if people are well trained, experienced, and pay attention, mistakes won't happen. This is not actually the case, even well trained, thought-full, experienced, and focused climbers make mistakes. Equipment such as auto-locking belay devices can definitely help reduce the consequences of those momentary lapses. For instance if a belayer suffers rock-fall, bee-stings, heart attacks, dog-bites, a strange twist in the rope, etc an auto-locking belay device would mitigate potentially fatal falls.

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Another classic example of thread drift. The one remaining thing to be examined is the sling/quickdraw failure. I have to wonder how a sewn sling could be sold and used when it was not sewn, but only glued? I've never heard of gluing being part of the bar tacking process. The bar tacks are the first thing I look at when I buy a new sewn sling. Be weird not to see them.

 

Nothing has been said either about where the belayer was standing. I've led, and belayed that climb. I've belayed from three different spots there: The upper sloping ledge, the lower one, and the ground. None is ideal. But in hindsight, perhaps the ground would be safer. Getting pulled off a ledge while catching a fall is something we all watch out for.

 

But back to the thread drift. The argument about auto locker versus ATC's reminds me of countless arguments in the past: sticky rubber versus EB's; pitons versus hexes; hexes versus friends, etc.

 

Progress happens, get over it. And maybe this thread should be moved into a new post about atc versus grigri?

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I'm glad this accident wasn't worse and, while I laud you for your empathy, understanding and loyalty to your friends, in the end looking at the facts it's difficult if not impossible to escape the conclusion this was a failed belay.

 

"failed belay" is a rather harsh assessment, one that overlooks a variety of factors. Given high on rock's account of the affair, i'd rather lay off any blame and take it for what it is: a few factors combining to create a rather unfortunate incident, one that luckily didn't kill anyone, and everyone can learn from (without resorting to "failure" or "success" judgments; if we must, i could call it a "success" cuz the climber didn't get killed!). i'd also surmise that the climber wouldn't have decked had the belayer been using a cinch etc....

 

 

And the reality that for every autoblocking 'save' after a belayer injury or failed stance there are dozens, if not hundreds, of dropped climbers with the same devices paints a more complete picture of their true strengths and weaknesses.

 

Your comments prefacing the above (which i deleted) i can totally agree with. we can get complacent because of technological innovation, and i know i've done this (to a safe degree, in my mind) with the grigri.

but do you have any sources for the statistics you mention about dropped climbers with grigris? i'd love to read some actual numbers, since i have wondered about this myself (btw, i've been climbing since the 80's, and can't recall any grounders with grigris, but one long fall at little si when a friend's brand new 9.1 slipped through an old-skool grigri a LOOOONG way before whew catching).

 

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oh and i also think, depending on the opinions of the more relevant parties, that this might be split off into a thread of its own; it really wasn't a discussion of belay technology to begin with....

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In general, I agree with you, but there is a sense in your comment that if people are well trained, experienced, and pay attention, mistakes won't happen. This is not actually the case, even well trained, thought-full, experienced, and focused climbers make mistakes. Equipment such as auto-locking belay devices can definitely help reduce the consequences of those momentary lapses.

When it comes to belaying we'll have to agree to disagree on this point - its a zero defect activity and if you can't deliver that you shouldn't be doing it.

 

For instance if a belayer suffers rock-fall, bee-stings, heart attacks, dog-bites, a strange twist in the rope, etc an auto-locking belay device would mitigate potentially fatal falls.

"Strange twists in the rope" - hmmm, anticipatory management of the loose rope feed is a fundamental belaying skill, you should be able to manage sorting out any twists or even actual knots in the feed rope without jeapordizing your leader. Ditto for bee stings and dog attacks short of the dog having teeth piercing your jugular.

 

Rockfall and heart attacks are another matter. If you have a heart condition or plan a route of dubious rock quality where you as a belayer can't position to protect yourself from rockfall then, sure, I might consider an autoblocker (there are no belay devices that 'auto-lock'). Short of that I personally wouldn't use one and I own three, but all for various soloing scenarios.

 

And I did fairly recently and in excruciating pain pass out in moments while belaying with an ATC yet still managed to lock it off hard, move my hand near the device, clamp down on the rope, drop down on my knees, and made sure I fell forward onto it - each step done consciously and by design as soon as I had an inkling. I was out cold, but still locked off with my hand on the rope underneath me and my partner had to wait for some folks rapping nearby to come relieve me of the belay so he could come back down. I've similarly had friends badly hurt by rockfall while belaying FFA attempts on El Cap and still sticking to their guns.

 

So yeah, you could play 'what if' and hedge every possible bet, but that's not why or how I climb. That all said, I'd probably used one if I climbed sport or employed sport tactics while trad climbing, but I don't do the former and the latter is inadvisible and unwise at best.

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Over the years in climbing, we all know that shit happens - even with gear failure, bad accidents have been avoided. I have mentioned before about the "compounding effect" when things start to go wrong. By recognizing any issues early on, sometimes an accident can be mitigated.

Sometimes , one mistake you can sneak by - and two mistakes you can get lucky: but the third one in a row is usually three strikes and your out. So this one beat the odds and one lives another day to come back climbing another day!

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Thanks for sharing some of the details. Like others, I'm looking forward to hearing more about that sling. Hang in there and heal quickly.

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Your "right" to choose often turns into your insurance company or your probate attorney suing somebody, or your $200,000 in insured or unpaid medical expenses being passed on to the rest of us. So please don't tell me that choice burdens no one else.
So helmets and protective clothing in automobiles???? To me the right to freedom outweighs the quest to save you money.
Lighten up on the hyperbole with the automotive travelwear comment, Lucky. And know this: There is a long-held notion in this Land of Liberty of ours that goes something like, "Yes, Citizen, you have your rights. And yes, your rights end when they infringe upon the rights of other Citizens."

 

I am reminded of this little snippet below that I saw in an article about 5 years ago. I liked it so much back then that I saved it to my hard drive. Now seems like a great time to pull it out and dust it off.

 

A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments's (ABATE) arguments against helmet laws are largely based on the dubious premise that they violate individual rights or invade privacy. Gimme a break. Maryland has invested billions of dollars to build a public road system. So if the state decides to require users of that network to take steps to avoid spilling the contents of their skulls on public pavement, it is well within its rights. Don't like helmets? Ride on private property.

 

A federal court in Massachusetts said the same thing a little more elegantly in turning down a challenge to a state helmet law:

 

"From the moment of injury, society picks the person up off the highway; delivers him to a municipal hospital and municipal doctors; provides him with unemployment compensation if, after recovery, he cannot replace his lost job; and, if the injury causes permanent disability, may assume responsibility for his and his family's subsistence. We do not understand a state of mind that permits plaintiff to think that only he himself is concerned."

 

Add to that the cumulative toll of repeatedly treating the victims of grisly accidents have on the first-responders and medical personnel. Anything we can do to mitigate the stresses on them serves a public purpose.

 

So, if ABATE wants those of us who drive larger vehicles to look out for motorcyclists, we have a right to ask bikers to look out for themselves. That includes putting a little distance between motorcycle groups and the tavern industry.

 

Ahhh yes i remember when I first joined abate in Maryland 38 years ago and they had a helmet law, one of the reasons I moved here was no helmet law, hey Harleys are like Cadillacs not race cars, so it went like this.. I joined ABATE of Washington 34 years ago, soon we had a coordinator that was in it for political gain he wanted to get into politics, so we gave and gave to the state than they put helmets on us anyway now Maryland has no helmet law... statistically helmets save head injurer's but add to broken necks...dead or vegetable ..with this way of think'n you could be were'n a helmet in an automobile. FREEDOM trumps MANDATES

Obviously you have never enjoyed the freedom of the wind in your hair or had a bee up your helmet at 60 mph...mandate: bolts to replace gear on established routes for safety, how would you feel about that?...Let those who ride decide...Let those who climb decide

Edited by LUCKY

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statistically helmets save head injurer's but add to broken necks...dead or vegetable

 

I don't buy it. I have been working in a trauma ward this winter and that has NEVER been the case for any of my patient injured in motorcycle accidents (or any other helmet using activity).

Do you have any peer reviewed research to back this up? (purely for curiosity/academic reasons, you are not the first person I have heard make that claim.)

 

Sorry about the thread drift again in a different direction...

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Your "right" to choose often turns into your insurance company or your probate attorney suing somebody, or your $200,000 in insured or unpaid medical expenses being passed on to the rest of us. So please don't tell me that choice burdens no one else.
So helmets and protective clothing in automobiles???? To me the right to freedom outweighs the quest to save you money.
Lighten up on the hyperbole with the automotive travelwear comment, Lucky. And know this: There is a long-held notion in this Land of Liberty of ours that goes something like, "Yes, Citizen, you have your rights. And yes, your rights end when they infringe upon the rights of other Citizens."

 

I am reminded of this little snippet below that I saw in an article about 5 years ago. I liked it so much back then that I saved it to my hard drive. Now seems like a great time to pull it out and dust it off.

 

A Brotherhood Against Totalitarian Enactments's (ABATE) arguments against helmet laws are largely based on the dubious premise that they violate individual rights or invade privacy. Gimme a break. Maryland has invested billions of dollars to build a public road system. So if the state decides to require users of that network to take steps to avoid spilling the contents of their skulls on public pavement, it is well within its rights. Don't like helmets? Ride on private property.

 

A federal court in Massachusetts said the same thing a little more elegantly in turning down a challenge to a state helmet law:

 

"From the moment of injury, society picks the person up off the highway; delivers him to a municipal hospital and municipal doctors; provides him with unemployment compensation if, after recovery, he cannot replace his lost job; and, if the injury causes permanent disability, may assume responsibility for his and his family's subsistence. We do not understand a state of mind that permits plaintiff to think that only he himself is concerned."

 

Add to that the cumulative toll of repeatedly treating the victims of grisly accidents have on the first-responders and medical personnel. Anything we can do to mitigate the stresses on them serves a public purpose.

 

So, if ABATE wants those of us who drive larger vehicles to look out for motorcyclists, we have a right to ask bikers to look out for themselves. That includes putting a little distance between motorcycle groups and the tavern industry.

 

...Obviously you have never enjoyed the freedom of the wind in your hair or had a bee up your helmet at 60 mph...mandate: bolts to replace gear on established routes for safety, how would you feel about that?...Let those who ride decide...Let those who climb decide

You presume a helluva lot for someone who doesn't know one inkling of my history. I rode for many years, beginning when I was 17 and concluding when I was 23, when my bike was stolen out of my parking lot. I never bothered to replace it. I had "shelved" it in the parking lot because I was nearly killed three times within a span of about a week: Bitch ran a red light and damn near made me her new hood ornament, another dickhead pulled a late left turn in front of me at the same time some asshole pulled out in front of me from the right. I threaded the needle between both grills, so close I could have touched both of their hood ornaments. The last douchebag was some drunk redneck who pulled up next to me on the 610 loop and started throwing empty beer bottles at my front wheel while we were doing 60. If it wasn't for eye protection, I'd be blind (or more likely dead) today. And all of this BS was in Houston, with no helmet law in the very early 80s.

 

So yes, you proceed from a false assumption. I have felt the wind in my hair at 95 mph. I have had a bee (more than once, actually) slap me in the face and sting the shit out of me in her last act of definace. I have laid my bike over at least three times that I can vividly recall. And one of those times I got pitched off my bike and slid across some guy's lawn on my back and cracked my head against the base of one of his trees. It was just like the sledgehammer/bell game at the carnival. I sent the ringer all the way to the top. That one was in Virginia, and they had a helmet law, so I was wearing one. If I hadn't, I'm sure I'd be dead, or at least a vegetable.

 

So you go right ahead and keep spouting off about personal freedom and rights and all that bullshit. I don't ride anymore, but I drive and climb. So I'll wear my seatbelt on the road and my helmet on the rock, and live to watch your ass getting hauled off to the morgue or the sanitarium.

Good luck with that. Mebbe you're just LUCKY-er than me... :wave:

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Does anyone have an update on what the verdict was in regards to the sling? I can't imagine that I'm the only one interested in knowing.

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