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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A walk-on defensive back for the Florida Gators was killed early Friday when the motorcycle he was driving hit a median at a high rate of speed, police said.

Michael Guilford, a 19-year-old redshirt freshman from Quincy, was not wearing a helmet. Neither was passenger Ashley Slonina, a Florida junior from Lynn Haven who also died in the crash.

The two were riding a 1998 silver Kawasaki motorcycle when it struck a median near campus around 1 a.m., police spokesman Lt. Keith Kameg said. Kameg said officers estimated the motorcycle was traveling 25 to 30 mph over the speed limit.

Police were awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports and investigating a report that the students had been at a gathering at a nearby apartment complex before the crash, Kameg said.

Crisis counselors were available to meet with students who knew Guilford and Slonina.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Michael Guilford," coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. "He was an outstanding, quality young man that was loved, respected and admired by all of us. His unselfish efforts on helping his teammates getting ready to play every week were only a glimpse of the person he was.

Guilford, nicknamed "Sunshine" because his long blonde hair resembled that of Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass in the football movie "Remember the Titans," was named one of the scout team players of the week following Florida's win over Mississippi earlier this season.

Guilford also mimicked Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith during preparation for the Bowl Championship Series national title game in January.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
Why can't people just wear a helmet and use their heads? Not trying to rude, I mean I am sorry that him and his passenger lost their life, but c'mon, where is the gear?
 

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Jester said:
Why can't people just wear a helmet and use their heads? Not trying to rude, I mean I am sorry that him and his passenger lost their life, but c'mon, where is the gear?
Exactly. I'm sure their respective families and friends are happy they looked cool riding without helmets. :rolleyes:
 

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It's unfortunate that these people died so early in life. Anything can happen at any time. Can you imagine what you would say to a young ladies' family after she had died while riding with you? Please y'all, ride easy when you have a passenger.
 

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a good thing to stress rundog. riding with a passenger is something i and everyone should take seriously. their life is in your hands. definitly just out for a sunday stroll when im 2up.
 

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That really sucks. I've got 12 helmets at home, 2 for every member of my family of 5, and 2 extras that get abused with the latest paint test. Not to mention all my kids have a new Riding jacket and boots sitting in the closet for them to outgrow every year, even if they never wear them more than once, at least they are as safe as can be when riding with me.

Gear is MANDATORY with me, and for good reason!
 

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Guess I'll be the heartless bastard. Darwinism at its finest. :rolleyes:
 

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i really dont see how they come to this conclusion. "i play football with a helmet when 250 lb guys running 10 mph are trying to tackle me, however, helmets on a bike are not necessary when 2500 lb SUVs traveling 50 mph are able to hit me"

i feel bad, even as an FSU student, but seriously, how does a guy that deals with contact everyday not want to wear a helmet on a bike. i doubt he still feels invincible after walking on to UF's football team. tell me he hasnt ever taken a hard hit, or seen guys get knocked out and injured from football. how did he not figure into a car hitting him and hurting him or him flying off and hitting the ground at 30. and then, even after all of us feeling bad and re-realizing how dangerous this is, insurrance companies have another statistic in their books to justify charging us more.
 

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conrice said:
i really dont see how they come to this conclusion. "i play football with a helmet when 250 lb guys running 10 mph are trying to tackle me, however, helmets on a bike are not necessary when 2500 lb SUVs traveling 50 mph are able to hit me"

i feel bad, even as an FSU student, but seriously, how does a guy that deals with contact everyday not want to wear a helmet on a bike. i doubt he still feels invincible after walking on to UF's football team. tell me he hasnt ever taken a hard hit, or seen guys get knocked out and injured from football. how did he not figure into a car hitting him and hurting him. and then, even after all of us feeling bad and re-realizing how dangerous this is, insurrance companies have another statistic in their books to justify charging us more.
These very same questions I asked of Rothlesberger's wisdom. I *hate* him and I'm a big Steelers fan!

On the subject of lids I'm certainly in the "always wear it" camp. When I saw this reference posted elsewhere I was taken back by the statistics about injuries and folks wearing helmets. I had fully expected to see fewer serious injuries among those with lids and yet the data doesn't seem to indicate that. I haven't had much time to put into evaluating how the data might be misconstrued so it'd be interesting to see if anyone else had a take to explain away the apparent statistical disagreement with the conept that "lids reduce injury".
 

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kanwisch said:
These very same questions I asked of Rothlesberger's wisdom. I *hate* him and I'm a big Steelers fan!

On the subject of lids I'm certainly in the "always wear it" camp. When I saw this reference posted elsewhere I was taken back by the statistics about injuries and folks wearing helmets. I had fully expected to see fewer serious injuries among those with lids and yet the data doesn't seem to indicate that. I haven't had much time to put into evaluating how the data might be misconstrued so it'd be interesting to see if anyone else had a take to explain away the apparent statistical disagreement with the conept that "lids reduce injury".

well, what constitutes a helmet? i see of lot of skull caps in Florida and i dont consider that a helmet at all. i realize that there are many more ways to die on a motorcycle than head trama, however, when i take my head, and hit the wall without a helmet, it hurts a lot more than when i do with a helmet. and when i see some of the chunks that come out of wrecked helmets in pics, im glad its the outter shell and not the guy's cranium.
 

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Jester said:
Why can't people just wear a helmet and use their heads? Not trying to rude, I mean I am sorry that him and his passenger lost their life, but c'mon, where is the gear?
I went to school at U.F. and I'm pretty sure it was an off football weekend that weekend.

There is only one activity available in Gainesville on Friday nights for students, and especially football players (if off football weekends) ... drinking.

So, I pretty much guarantee he was drinking, driving home from the bars, and probably trashed by that time.

Speeding + Drinking + No Helmets
= Squished Kid (Squid)

Motorcycling is all about managing risks. Each extra risk you take increases your likelihood of dying.

A couple bad choices and it isn't that hard to get to a "10% chance of death on this ride" ...

... that means, if you do it 10 times, it's pretty much 100% you are going to die. Luck may be with you the other 9 times ... but one of the times it won't be.

You can't ever get it down to 0%, but with common sense, you can keep the chance pretty low, like 0.001% chance of death per trip.

The upside is that, if you follow all MSF and other recommendations, it is more likely you will be killed as a Pedestrian than on a bike.

I bought my bike in the wake of this story ... so I sat down to crunch the numbers.

For him, it was like 10% chance of death doing what he was doing.

If you follow all procedures/safety stuff, are well-trained on your bike and take proper evasion/swerving, breaking actions during a problem ...

The number I came up with is that you have a 0.02% chance of dying per 10,000 miles you ride on a bike and about a 1% chance of injury per 10,000 miles.

Bare in mind ... that is only if you do everything right, wear gear, take proper actions, etc.

For every bad decision you make, that percent chance of death increases very quickly. For most riders, who don't follow the safety rules, don't get training/etc, a 5% chance of death per 10,000 miles and 35% chance of injury is pretty reasonable given the data that's available right now.

Translation ... if you don't follow the safety guidelines, there is a 100% that you are going to the hospital within 30,000 miles on your bike, and a fair chance they will pass the O.R. and just drop you off in the morgue.
 

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It WAS compulaory in all States till some freak minded riders just had to fight to have it not a compulsory law in their State or two. A goodly number of riders AND pillion riders might still be alive & well if such a change was not made.

The compulwory helmet law went into effect at around the same time in Cdn., being around '68 & only a few fools or twits have even questioned it, but they do stand out with their crazie looking beenie helmets.

Fortunately many are buying some decent form of a full face helmet as being one of the first items if they buy a m/c or even in advance. THAT is incourging one has to admit.

So if some are on the list of being killed & not wearing a helmet then it is not such a loss. I may sound a bit crule, but I have never downed the idea of a helmet & was wearing them in '47 for flat tracking, dirt hill climbing & other forms of dirt comp. True some chaps had OLD football helmets they would pull out of a pocket of toolbox & said softie was accepted for a few yrs till even those on the AMA & CMA turned them down as an acceptable crash helmet.
 

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I go to UF and I actually knew the guy who died. The girl to a lesser extent. I walked on the team with him and by no means did i think that this would end up happening. He actually just got his bike about a month and a half before this happened and we were both looking into getting bikes together but I didn't have the money. Just to clear things up, both he and the girl were under the influence. I dont know where his helmet was other than not on his head but he hit the median trying to make a left and the rest has been said. Just so that everyone here knows mike was a great guy and we miss him.
 

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I'm Gator alum and was very sorry to see this happen. I actually bought my bike / etc the same week it happened to him and I've driven by the spot it sounded like it happened probably 100s of times. :(

From the studies, if it was his first month on the bike, with a passenger, at night, drinking, no helmet, probably on training license (no night/no passengers)... he was looking at maybe a 10-50% of not making it home.

The thing that all riders can learn from this ... it wasn't the "evil motorcycles" or the wreck that did him in ... it was the decision to get on the bike with all those risk factors working against him ... if all the info is accurate, the guy was basically dead before he left the parking lot.

A lot of motorcycle safety is not just riding skills and "evil cager evasion" ... it's knowing when not to get on the bike.

For what it's worth, to friends of him, they should know that his story definitely pushed me over the edge to burn the $250 on MSF ... I actually sent the check within 1-2 weeks of it happening to him. Maybe the publicity of the event will lead to risk reductions that ultimately save many peoples lives (possibly mine).
 

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Damn Packtec your good with number crunching. I think the issue is even less about the lack of a helmet but his speed. Lets say he was in a town where the speed limit is usually 30, then he would've been going 60. If he was on the highway where the speed limit is 60, he was going about 90. Speed kills, wearing no gear only reassures that.
 

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In terms of numbers, I'm a numbers geek (engineer), I really can't help it. But some background on the thinking for the numbers may help ...

... every motorcyclist should try and think in these terms with respect to decisions they make.

After reading a bunch of the studies and doing a very subjective rough conversion on the numbers ... each additional risk factor looks to add roughly 1-5% chance for injury requiring hospitalization and 0.1% to 1% chance of death. That's roughly what the number work out to from the studies.

So from what the guy was doing.

+ Speeding
+ Driving at Night
+ <12 Months Experience on Bike
+ <6 Months Experiance on Bike
+ No Helmet
+ No Gear
+ Drinking (We Don't Know how Much)
+ Passenger Changing Center of Mass
w/o Experience
+ Likely Driving Improperly Licensed

So that's roughly 9 additional risk factors he was exposed to (and passenger).

If you start with a base of roughly 0.2% chance of death and 2% chance of injury.

And then you add the 9 risk factors...

You get approximately a 2%+ 1%*9 to 2% to 5%*9 chance for injury and a 0.2%+0.1%*9 to 0.2% + 1%*9 chance of death.

Rough results:

Chance of Injury for Him: 11% to 47%
Chance of Death for Him: 1.2% to 9.2%

The numbers would have to be refined a lot because they can't be cleanly added like this and different of the risk factors affect things differently (helmets for instance reduce your chance of death by 30% in an accident).

But ... this is basically how it goes with bikes ... each additional risk factor you expose yourself to increases the chance on a given ride that something not good is going to happen.

He probably had other risk factors also, i.e., no MSF training (92% of people in accidents never took MSF courses).

Motorcycles are really quite safe (only slightly more dangerous than cars) providing riders don't make choices that increase their risk exposure.

BTW... one interesting tip... you can actually cut your risk of injury/death by 40% simply by not riding your bike between 3pm and 8pm. If you do ride during those time windows, be extra defensive.

Riding in that time window has a risk increase adjustment roughly equivalent to driving with a 0.20 blood alcohol level. If you wouldn't drive drunk ... don't drive during rush hour, LOL ... (at least not until we see $10/gallon gas and get some of these cellphone-talking idiot SUVs off the road).

Anyway - very bad stuff. Very sad for his family.

Motorcycles aren't the problem ...

... people not making good decisions with respect to them definitely is.
 

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:hurl: all these numbers are making me sick (math was never my strong point) I'll take your word for it though. Who would've known just riding home from work during rush hour could be that dangerous.
 

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Well ... I'd probably need to spend a year studying the numbers to get really good ones, those are very rough grabs from U.K. studies, NHTSA, and Hurt report.

In terms of rush hour ... it worked out lut roughly like this.


3-6PM 24% of all accidents
6-9PM 27% of all accidents


Amusingly, the "safest" time to ride your bike was 3AM to 6AM.

Bare in mind however, these numbers haven't been adjusted for overall traffic flow (i.e., 4AM accidents so rare because so few ride then).

But the fact that around half of all motorcycle accidents happen during rush hour is something everyone should pay attention to.

I suspect a lot of it has to do with cagers (and riders) unhappy dealing with traffic rushing to get home, tired, agitated, not paying attention, whereas in the morning rush hour they are freshly rested, probably sipping coffee, and really awake (in general).

Just theories tho ;)

The gov is supposed to be starting a very substantial new study into motorcycle accidents with decent funding, but results won't be available for many years.

We are all probably fortunate that the existing leader of NHTSA is a woman who actually rides a motorcycle ... because, frankly, the NHTSA hasn't done squat for riders in like 20 years, presumably because of automobile manufacturers lobbying things and to encourage SUVs/etc. ... they don't really want us riding motorcycles, we used much less gas and they can't sell motorcycles to us for $40k.

Another interesting thing I ran into was the recommendation that riders actually buy the U.K. police motorcycle manual. Supposedly it is the most detailed bike tactics book ever put together. I asked for it for a holiday gift, we shall see if I get it / if it's any good.
 

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:hurl: all these numbers are making me sick (math was never my strong point) I'll take your word for it though. Who would've known just riding home from work during rush hour could be that dangerous.
There is some good news though ...

... when I was crunching these things, what I was looking to do was figure out as best as I could the REAL chance I would either get hurt or die on a motorcycle before buying it. Everyone always talks about motorcycle accidents/etc and everyone always says "they are so dangerous". But I am definitely convinced it's not motorcycles, it's the riders being idiots overwhelmingly.

The number I came up with, for me, based on the sportbike I have (sport tourer), my age, area, risk profile, and presuming I follow all recommendations was not bad.

Chance of Injury: 2% Per 10,000 miles
Chance of Death: 0.2% Per 10,000 miles

This presume you do everything you are supposed to do.

For a >750CC sport bike, the numbers are about twice that.

I was okay with those numbers, so I bought a bike. These numbers are a little worse than a car, but not THAT much.

The often quoted statistic of "bikes being 37X more dangerous than cars" is not adjusted for people not wearing helmets, new riders, no MSF training, speeding, etc.

If you do all the stuff you are supposed to, bikes are roughly 5X more dangerous than cars.

And, if you are a really alert, very skilled, very experienced, very safety conscious rider ... I think they can be safer than cars simply because they are smaller and more agile. When trouble happens you have better chance to get out of it, but if you don't the consequences are worse.

Anyway ... enough number crunching, I thought I would just post all of this because I read a lot before getting a bike.

Freak accidents don't really happen THAT much on bikes ...

Bikes are interesting transportation because their associated risk is HUGELY modified by how safety oriented the rider is.

A biker can get out of situations that no car ever could get out of ... but he can also get him/herself into situations that no car could get into. ;)
 
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