Monday, July 4, 2011


Day 12 of what will become a random series of recollections about a recent trip to New York City, Boston, MA and the wilds of the Maine’s “Down East” coast.

SOMEWHERE CLOSING IN ON “DOWN EAST” MAINE, at a crossroads called Orland – one with too few buildings to be considered a hamlet - a vintage R-75 BMW rested on its exhaust pipes and front wheel. I wasn’t sure if the thing had been righted that way or that’s just the way it ended up after impact. The frame was impossibly bent but the big black tank, at a glance, looked oddly salvageable.

Perhaps, not so the rider. As we waited in traffic being professionally measured by the local volunteers, someone was carted away by local ambulance – or was about to be air-lifted. We’d seen the paramedics go by – Code 3 – as we waited. The helicopter lifted off just as we passed.

WE WERE QUIET for a long time.

Finally, the wife said, "Are you sure you want to continue riding one of those things?"

The husband (me) replied, "I hope the guy is all right."

SHORTLY THEREAFTER, two bare-headed sport bike riders – there are no mandatory helmet laws in Maine, New Hampshire or Massachusetts except for riders under 18 – rocketed toward us. They wore the boots, the gloves, the pants, the jackets – all the protection except the helmets.

“They should leave that Beemer right where it sits for about a day and a half,” I said, “you know, just as a reminder.”

Nothing else was spoken for another long time.

© 2011
Church of the Open Road Press


Follow-up from the Bangor Daily News:


ORLAND, Maine — A man from Penobscot remained hospitalized Monday after suffering serious injuries in an accident on U.S. Route 1 on Sunday afternoon.

According to Deputy Christopher Sargent of the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department, Jeffrey Fitch, 54, was injured in an accident that took place about 1:15 p.m. Sunday at the intersection of Route 1 and Back Ridge Road.

According to Sargent, Hellen Hall, 62, of Belfast had been traveling west on Route 1 and stopped in traffic with her left directional blinker activated. Hall had started to make a left-hand turn when Fitch, who was traveling east on Route 1 on a 1971 BMW motorcycle, struck the rear passenger side of her car, a 2009 Suzuki.

A LifeFlight helicopter went to the scene, but the decision was made to take Fitch by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where he remained on Monday. There was no information available on his condition.

Hall was not injured in the accident.

Both vehicles were badly damaged in the accident and both were considered total losses.

The accident closed Route 1 briefly Sunday afternoon, but emergency crews were able to open one lane of the road and keep traffic moving.


  1. For an interesting little debate among motorcycle riders on this post, check out:

    The bottom line is that when cars and motorbikes collide, the rider loses every time.

  2. Along the same lines, this story was just in the Seattle Times this week.

    Bikes are fine but some riders are really stupid. (Not you, of course!)

  3. One must be a bit of a nut bag to ride a motorcycle in the first place. But to ride without a helmet? C'mon!

    There are those who suggests states shouldn't tamper with the right of an individual to ride unencumbered of Kevlar on the brain. But when one views the cost of life-long support (paid for by you and me, the taxpayers) I side with those forces that would require helmet usage by ALL motorcycle riders. It is not government intrusion. It is government regulation to protect the assets of the governed.

    To believe otherwise is to subscribe to the "me first" attitude that may well drive our great republic into the ground.

    "Wear a lid or don't ride."

  4. I am the unfortunate rider from the Orlando, Maine accident. I most definitely WAS wearing a helmet, and would not be writing this had I been not. I am all for individual rights...PLEASE wear your helmet!

    Jeff Fitch

  5. Dear Jeff,

    I cannot tell you how good it is to hear from you. I must say, your beautiful Beemer looked more than a little the worse for wear when we passed by in June. I'm glad you are safe and thankful you were wearing a helmet.

    I wish you the best and hope you will find yourself in the saddle again soon if that is your desire.