View Full Version : Huntsville Woman Dies in Parking Lot Bike Accident
08-11-2003, 07:32 PM
Online archives from The Item Online.
August 08, 2003
Woman dies in motorcycle accident at high school
The Huntsville Item
An accident Monday night in a Huntsville High School parking lot took the life of a Houston woman who was learning to ride a motorcycle.
Deborah Lynn Pate, 49, was taken to Huntsville Memorial Hospital by Huntsville/Walker County EMS after she was thrown from a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle at approximately 7:40 p.m.
According to HPD Sgt. Kevin Lunsford, the accident is still under investigation. What police have learned so far is that Pate was in the east parking lot at Huntsville High School receiving a lesson on how to drive a motorcycle.
"Apparently, she was learning to drive a motorcycle. She had been practicing driving in the parking lot," Lunsford said. "Evidently, she shifted it into second gear and shortly afterward the motorcycle jumped a curb and at some point she was ejected and hit a metal handrail."
Lunsford said Pate was wearing a helmet, but it was an open-faced helmet.
The preliminary police report does not list any possible witnesses.
According to several sources, some Huntsville High School band students were near the parking lot at the time of the accident, preparing to go home after a long day of band practice. However, it is unknown if any of the students saw the accident.
HHS assistant principal Panette Kelch said students she has spoken with have not expressed any adverse reactions to it.
"We think that some of the students saw her practicing (driving the motorcycle), but we don't think anyone actually saw (the accident) happen," she said.
All HHS teachers and counselors have been informed of the incident and are prepared to console students if necessary, Kelch said.
08-11-2003, 09:14 PM
Oh, man, that's so sad, she was trying to the Right Thing, too...RIP
08-12-2003, 07:54 AM
That's terrible. :( If it hits a little too close to home for Debbie, assure her that the mall parking lot is bigger and her full face helmet offers better protection. Not that she'll need it... :wink: I'll prey for Ms. Pate's family. It's even more tragic that she was trying to do the right thing when it happened. Truly sad.
08-12-2003, 09:32 AM
Wow, that is just horrible.... Prayers for her family.
08-12-2003, 09:58 AM
Man, that is so sad. I feel for her family.
We've been shopping helmets for my GF and she keeps bugging me about why I won't let her get an open faced, skull cap type of helmet. This reaffirms my reasons for insisting on a "real" helmet for her.
So very tragic.
08-12-2003, 01:06 PM
Last year at the Triumph RAT Ralley, a guy went down after blowing a turn. From what I gather, he was not moving when he fell, but he was on the side of a rock ledge and couldn't get his foot down. When he fell he hit his face against the rocks and basically removed half his nose and right side of his eyebrow. He was wearing an open faced helmet. I ended up holding his face together until the paramedics flew him out.
OPEN FACE HELMETS ARE NOT GOOD!! :shame:
08-12-2003, 01:56 PM
:tab Not too mention your own chin on the pavement experience ;-)
08-12-2003, 02:04 PM
Okay, I'll tell it. During the same rallye, I went down on 336. Not sure what happened, some say I hit a dip and it touched the body or part of the bike down and I low sided. Happened so fast, I didn't realize it till I picked myself up out of the ditch and shook the stars away. Most of the impact was to the chin bar of my Shoei RF900. The fiberglass was broken into little pieces but held together. Imagine a dried out river bed with the cracks. That's what it looked liked. Without a full face, I probably would not be here today...at least not my chin. Injuries included a broken ankle (bike fell on it) and a quarter size bit of road rash. Still wear the boots, Joe Rocket Meteor jacket and phoenix gloves.
I've got a picture, but I must be still pointed to the wrong server because I don't see a way to attach it...Scott?
08-12-2003, 03:26 PM
:tab The current forum software does not provide for attaching files and uploading them directly to the site. However, if I ever collect enough donations, I will be switching to a different forum software that will allow uploading and attaching of images and vids. But that will require a few hundred dollars... so until then you have to have your own server where you can upload the files and then link to them from here. ;-)
08-12-2003, 07:42 PM
Makes me wonder what size Harley she was learning on. Bet it wasn't a Buell Blast. Whats a sporty weigh? 700lbs. Too much weght for a learning experience.
Maybe thats why Europeans climb the threshhold of motorcycle power in
in a stepwise fashion.
Read a story based on full helmets involved in cycle get offs. Over one third were damaged on the chin gaurd. God I love my mandible!! Viva la full face.
08-12-2003, 09:23 PM
Click here to see why you should wear a full-face helmet...
08-12-2003, 09:39 PM
:tab Yeah John, but the Harley people go slow and they don't drive like sportbike maniacs, and they are careful!! :-P
08-14-2003, 07:43 PM
I saw a study somewhere that shows that nearly 40% of the impacts to the head are in the jaw area.
08-14-2003, 08:58 PM
Man what a cool web site, what a great guy, awesome name...
08-15-2003, 02:00 AM
I'm a believer. Though, ironically the only crash I have had, was on my Harley. (now sold, I got tired of it) Thankfully, it was still cold, early spring in Germany, so, I just happend to have on a leather jacket, and full face helmet. The jacket took some scuffing, and my jeans wore through (thank goodness I had my wallet in the right pocket, it took all the road rash for me) . The helmet? Not a scratch on it. Just a fluke, I know, and now ride with gear every time I get on it. **** shame to see her killed in such a way, she was trying to learn safely. Guess these things just happen. Even heard of a man being killled on a bike, while STOPPED! He tipped over, and hit his head just right. He had just taken off his helmet. Unbelievable.
08-15-2003, 11:08 AM
Man what a cool web site, what a great guy, awesome name...
08-15-2003, 11:22 AM
Even heard of a man being killled on a bike, while STOPPED! He tipped over, and hit his head just right. He had just taken off his helmet. Unbelievable.
:tab This is the point I try to make to people that argue they don't need a helment because they don't go fast! Your head can accelerate fast enough from a height of five feet, at a dead stop, so that when it hits the ground, the impact can easily cause severe damage and even death. It has nothing to do with how "fast" you ride. However, I have noticed that some people don't want to be confused with the facts, they'd rather cling to their comfortable dellusions. "I never use the front brake because it will flip the bike..." :roll:
08-15-2003, 01:41 PM
Dave Searle's latest piece in Motorcycle Consumer News was a nice bit about going down a California dirt road on a hot day to find a Zen retreat or something. I liked it, but the part where he rationalized not wearing a helmet, since he was only going 15 mph down a single-track of sharp, pointy rocks.... :eek:
08-18-2003, 09:56 PM
The article doesn't say... but you have to wonder: From whom was she "receiving a lesson", and what training methodology was being employed??
Doesn't sound like she was in an MSF course.
I agree with Hagrid - learning on a Hog is risky business. Being taught by someone who knows how to ride but not how to teach is also risky.
The Big Spank Daddy
08-23-2003, 05:56 PM
Ay our last TSBA monthly meeting we had a motor cop as a guest speaker. He told us that the vast majority of bike accidents are cruiser type bikes and along with that the most serious injuries are also in that group. He pointed out that they are not expecting some of the corners and road hazzards, the driver and or the bike, are quickly beyond there experience or performance limits. Add to that that most cruiser types do not wear any gear and the injuries are drasticly compounded.
08-23-2003, 08:52 PM
:tab I sure wish the insurance rates reflected that reality! And look at which type of biker tends to drink while out riding! Natural selection at work...
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