a week ago today billy lane, a custom motorcycle builder hit and killed a fellow motorcyclist, as reported by florida today. it's a sad story all the way around... i'm not sure where to start, other than noting the saddest part is the death of gerald morelock.
when something like this happens, the death of a biker caused by the wrongful actions of a cager, the cager usually gets off with a fine for the traffic violation. for example, if a cage makes a left hand turn in front of a biker and kills the biker, the cager is usually just charges with failure to yield the right of way and slapped with a fine. obviously this doesn't sit well with the biker community - which the ama is trying to do something about...
unfortunately this time a biker did it to another biker. through negligence, billy lane, in his cage, was passing two other vehicles on a double yellow line. before he could get back into his own lane, he hit the gerald head on - killing him. those are the facts. there's still speculation whether billy was drinking or not and the tox reports have yet to come back.
looking back on billy's past, i, unfortunately, have to believe he was drinking when this happened. i've seen billy four times in person, each time i've seen him, he's been drinking. no, that doesn't mean he rides after drinking. but i can't imagine he's the type to let someone else cart him around after he's tipped a few. not only that, when he was in town for the smoke out, he was arrested on charges of drunk driving, riding on the wrong side of the road and riding without a helmet. it would seem that billy might have learned from this earlier episode. but he didn't, at least not with his reckless driving behavior. and so it follows that he probably didn't with drinking either.
there's so much speculation about what should happen now. rightfully so, nothing will happen until the tox reports come back. if they show he's been drinking, he'll probably have the book thrown at him. what if they come back clean?? should he get the slap on the wrist and the fine?? should he get charged with something more serious for killing a biker??
and what should billy do?? a lot of people say he should do the right thing. but what is the right thing?? should he try to help out the family for the damage he's caused?? should he let the legal system handle it all?? at a minimum he should give up drinking and driving/riding. since he's been lying low, it's hard to know what he's doing. and i don't blame him - he's under a microscope right now and no matter what he does, someone will criticize him for it. at a minimum, he's got to live the rest of his life knowing he took another biker's life. and that's truly sad.
only time will play the rest of this story out. and not matter how it plays out, nothing will put all the pieces back together again. maybe the third saddest part of all this is stuff like this probably happens daily - we just don't hear about it because a famous bike builder or media star usually isn't involved.