Archive for Sunday, September 20, 2009

Motorcyclists injured in Bikers for Babies

A charity motorcycle ride was delayed by a crash north of Lawrence.

September 20, 2009, 4:22 p.m. Updated September 20, 2009, 7:24 p.m.


A charity motorcycle ride was delayed by 45 minutes on Sunday after a motorcyclist was involved in a serious accident north of Lawrence, emergency workers said.

The crash happened around noon at Midland Junction, on U.S. Highway 24/59.

John Coons, of Kansas City, Mo., lost control of his motorcycle and went into a ditch, a Kansas Highway Patrol report said. Coons, 56, was transported by air ambulance to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., with disabling injuries.

Approximately 8,000 motorcycles were participating in the Bikers for Babies charity ride for the March of Dimes. The 100-mile route started and ended at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan.

About 1,000 of the riders were delayed because of the accident, said Sgt. Steve Lewis, a Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

Two other minor accidents were connected to the ride in Jefferson County, Sheriff Jeff Herrig said.

One person was taken to an area hospital with a cut after crashing on U.S. Highway 24/59 near Williamstown. Another motorcyclist crashed in Oskaloosa, Herrig said.


gsxr600 8 years, 9 months ago

Sad. That intersection's dangerous as is, let alone ~1000 - ~8000 bikers going through it. Best wishes.

RoeDapple 8 years, 9 months ago

Driving from Perry today the motorcyclists were riding side by side as far as we could see to the west and all the way to Lawrence. When this happens intersections can be blocked for as much as 15 minutes before vehicles trying to get on the highway can make their move. It is all too easy for an impatient driver to misjudge and try to cross through an opening in traffic. I estimated we passed at least 1000 motorcycles coming from the east. Apparently we only saw the tail end of it. I envy the ride these bikers were having today, but consideration for everyone else on the road should be given.

Heal well to ride again, John Coons.

overthemoon 8 years, 9 months ago

Didn't this happen last year on the same ride? A cyclist was killed, as I recall.

Bobo Fleming 8 years, 9 months ago

its getting dangerous. I was at an intersection in Eudora when they came through. After about 10 minutes some of the drivers waiting in line behind me started to try to turn around and head back the other way. With more than one trying to do that at the same time things got to be pretty tense with some of the drivers. Great program but getting so big that something needs to be done about having breaks in the endless line of motorcycles so other traffic can go through.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

This happens every year. I ride this ride and it is fun, however, it's really scary how bad (and not the "cook" kinda bad) these riders are. Some rider have very little experience, but just sign up and go anyways. 6 or 7 years ago, a woman was injured when she crashed. She had been riding for 3 days. Anyways, it's sad what happened and hope they recover quickly, but seriously, some of those Hardly Davidson riders need to spend some time on a real bike so they can actually learn how to ride.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

Oh, and this is why I completely agree with a tiered motorcycle licence law. Make it a requirement that riders spend at least 1 year on a motorcycle under 400 cc's. People's ego is getting in the way of reason when they go out and buy a 600 lb Harley, or a 180 horsepower sportbike. Other countries in the world have a tied motorcycle licence program, and it's time we do the same. It's time America actually learns how to ride. Once we do, it's time to promote motorcycle riding. It more fuel efficient and greatly reduces traffic congesting. We also need lane sharing (splitting) to be legalized under slow moving traffice conditions. Contrary to what some car drivers "think" it looks like, it's actually safer (see HURT study), and gets people where they need to go much more quickly.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

So....corners. What do you consider to be a "real bike"??

gsxr600 8 years, 9 months ago

How many people do you think want to go through the hassle of buying a bike to ride for a year, selling it, and buying another to actually suit their fancy? It's not going to happen. Let people buy what they want to buy. Natural selection will work out the rest.

Whenever I rode, I'm always in a staggered position with my friends. I try not to ride with people I don't know, typically for certain reasons (see story above).

LogicMan 8 years, 9 months ago

"Didn't this happen last year on the same ride? A cyclist was killed, as I recall."

Hit by lightning coming back from Topeka, if I am remembering correctly.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

A "real" bike is one that can turn. Don't get me wrong, Harley's have their place. I've ridden Harleys on numerous occasions, some on long trips. On the open road/interstate...ahh...nice. My favorite was the Roadking. But the problem is, the bike doesn't turn. You have to slow to a crawl to make a turn without draging body parts. This is NOT good for someone learning how to ride. They never properly learn how to handle the bike. Sure, they can go thousands of miles in a straight line at a constant speed, but turning and braking? Watchout! These aspects of motorcycle riding are better learned on a "standard". It's always the Harley guys running off the road at the speed a semi can handle, and I can't even tell you how many times I've seen a Harley (or Harley wannabe) lock up the rear tire just stopping for a red light. People just need to suck it up, not be "cool" for a short time, and spend time learning how to ride a motorcycle that they can handle and learn on. This means no sportbikes and no fully dressed Harleys.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

Corner...that's a better explanation. The term "real bike" is pretty incendiary no matter what type of rider (Harley or Sport, etc.) you are. Perhaps something more of a "starter" bike (or bikes) might be more appropriate.

As a Harley owner and a rider with more than 20 years experience, I both love to attend and at the same time hate to ride in these type of events. I love the common goal we ride for in this event. (FYI Mr. Unruh, 6000+ riders raised over $660,000 for the March of Dimes. Only 2 accidents that might've happened in any case....not too bad of results I'd say. What did you contribute to society on your Sunday??) But at the same time, there is a lot of inexperienced riders and/or jackasses. I can't stop others from making poor decisions. I can only hope to avoid their path.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

gsxr600 (Anonymous) says… "How many people do you think want to go through the hassle of buying a bike to ride for a year, selling it, and buying another to actually suit their fancy?"

Nobody ever said that learning how to (properly) ride a motorcycle should be easy and convenient. If you want easy and convenient, go get in your 4 wheeled cage. People in today's society want everything RIGHT NOW. People don't want to take the time to learn, especially when it's not "cool" to ride that <400cc bike. They want that GSXR600/1000 or the biggest Harley they can find.

A 400cc bike is more than capable to get you anywhere you need to go. It will do 100 mph and will out accelerate most cars on the road. People don’t learn how to drive a car in a Lamborghini or a limousine, and neither should they on a motorcycle. Impossible to learn on? No, but people will learn more, faster on a more appropriate bike. Period. End of story.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

And....back to Mr. Unruh... I, being only 41, am not a baby boomer. I work two jobs. So, I clearly don't have much time or money. There were plenty of 20-something sport bikers, men and women of all ages on all makes and models of bikes and incomes (not to mention the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the event go as smooth as possible). And so what if I "wasted" 3 gallons of fuel on a day in which I would've ridden anyway.

Sorry, not all of us fit in to your stereotype. Once again, what did you do to help your fellow man out? Or could you not find a sterotype to fit into?

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

be3....Are you serious?? Statistically, most riders are killed by automobile driving imbeciles who fail to see them. If you truly feel that way, that's fine. Karma is a b#$ch!

The only losers I saw yesterday were sitting in a small group in front of the old Blue Heron begging for money with little creative cardboard signs.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

Indy, yeah, I could have said "beginner bike", but I really enjoy razzing Hardly owners. ;)

I'm a sport-touring guy. You know, a bike that is comfortable on long trips...but unlike the Harley, it's also fast, powerful, smooth, can carve a corner, and stop. :P

corners 8 years, 9 months ago


Ignorant comments galore! Motorcycles REDUCE traffic congestion AND this country's gasoline consumption. Stop texting and driving and start paying attention.

Karma has a funny way of working things out.

acg 8 years, 9 months ago

Ah corners you are so right. The corporate pukes I used to work for (up til last november) all went out and bought themselves nice new shiny harleys and decked themselves out in head to toe harley gear so they looked like sad little walking billboards for too much time and too much money. Then the idiots realized, after crashes, breakdowns and dumping them at redlights because the weak little pricks weren't able to hold them up, that it takes actual skill to ride. This is a great program, but I live on Wellman road by midland junction and we have waited for an hour at that intersection for a chance to go before. They just need to have some traffic direction out there and it would be much better. And fewer weekend warrior weenies. That always helps.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago


Selling a motorcycle to another motorcyclist is a zero sum game. Your suggestion doesn't hold water.

Please, as a model citizen, let us all know what you did this weekend that was so productive, safe, and resourceful. Oh, and please provide us with a list of Unruh approved hobbies.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago


From your posts, I'll assume the following about you:

  1. You don't own a vehicle and walk/ride a bike/take the T everywhere.

  2. You give all of your expendable income to the charity of your choice or the bums on Mass.

  3. When you are not working (assuming you have a job) you volunteer all of your spare time to the animal shelter/Big Brothers-Big Sisters/the Red Cross, etc.

  4. You never do anything just for the heck of it. Your day is scheduled down to the minute.

  5. You've never inconvenienced anyone in your life.

  6. You might be Amish. (But you're using a computer??)

From my perspective "society" was very much a part of this event. Sorry we inconvenienced your day for a couple hours. What a waste of your valuable time.

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 9 months ago

Really James, what's all the beef? It was a charitable event for babies...

Ricky_Vaughn 8 years, 9 months ago

He must've just finished reading some book that explains how baby boomers are solely responsible for the collapse of the free world....

corners 8 years, 9 months ago


You never told us what productive, safe, and resourceful activity you were doing this weekend. I sure hope you weren't driving your car...

gsxr600 8 years, 9 months ago

Corners, I agree with you in the sense that many beginner motorcyclists should consider starting off on a relatively smaller bike, such as a ninja 250r, gs500, or sv650. The key word here is SHOULD. They shouldn't be forced to start at your 400cc marking. Making a cc size mandatory is wrong and completely hilarious at the same time.

CC size is not a direct determinant of power. A gsxr 600 > sv650, etc. A 2.0L Evolution ~ 5.0 Gallardo. Your limiting variable is useless but that's not the point. But I digress..

If I were to agree with you, I would also have to agree with a statement along the lines of, "Once you are of legal drinking age, make it a requirement that drinkers can only drink beer for their first year. Vodka and other hard liquors are too much. If you limit drinkers to only beer, all will be right with the world." You can still get just as drunk off beer as you can liquor (although you might pee a bit more) and jump off a buidling.

My point is, no matter what you're on, you can kill yourself just as easily. A responsible person should have the right to choose. The irresponsible person should as well. They do in the cars they drive, the alcohol they consume, every instance of life.

kjo_shorty 8 years, 9 months ago

I think it is fantastic that there are so many people out there willing to help raise money for the cause. I pray for the speedy recoveries of all injured on this ride. I watched them stop at the 2 small gas stations in Perry. It was an amazing site to see. Gave me chills to see such an act of selflessness in that number.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago


I beg to differ with your, "no matter what you're on, you can kill yourself just as easily" comment. This is a common myth among riders and an argument used by riders to buy a bike they can't handle. "why get a GSXR600 when a GSXR1000 is the same size and weight?" These are just excuses for skipping the learning process, and there are many more of them. "80 mph on an SV is the same as 80 mph on a CBR1000RR!" That's one of my favorites, normally used by people with little riding experience. The truth is, EVERYONE thinks they are an above average driver/rider, and thus use this as an excuse.

What riders with less than 5 years experience tend not to understand is that riding is much, much more than just balancing and shifting gears. Learning the “rules of the road” is something you can’t read in a book or learn in a class. It takes AIS (a$$ in seat) time to learn. With all the extra attention being taken away from the rider trying to tame the supersport sportbike or trying to navigate a whale of a Harley WILL retard their learning progress if time were spent riding a more appropriate bike.

You’re right about the 400cc thing and horsepower. I was just giving argument in passing, leaving out details. As with most cc limits on the books, there is usually a horsepower level to go along with it. 400cc’s and 50 horsepower would be my suggestion as the limit. This would be for a minimum of 1 year, and be the law if under 18. After one year, take another riding test, pass it, and you’ll be granted with an unrestricted motorcycle endorsement.

And for the “let nature work it out” argument, sure, that would be fine, if people were riding on a closed racetrack. If that’s the case, sure, jump on that ZX-14 and let-her rip. But you wanna come out with no experience and ride that thing in public, in traffic, and with me on the road…not ok with me. Your alcohol analogy is misplaced, as well as letting unskilled riders on machines they cannot handle running around on public roads.

People need to “man up” and do their time on a smaller bike to learn how to ride.

countrygirl 8 years, 9 months ago

I met several of them on Hwy 92 this week-end and at that point they were stretched out in groups of a dozen or so. Jeff Co had members of their fire departments out at major intersections to try to help with traffic and I didn't have any trouble making my run to the grocery store. Thanks to all who donated time and money to such a good cause.

puddleglum 8 years, 9 months ago

if you see me on my kz1000, then you just got passed

ralphralph 8 years, 9 months ago

Old People + Motorcycles = Ouch! Get a Hoveround.

DavidW 8 years, 9 months ago

Ladies and gentelmen, please remember this thread was started by an article on an injured motorcyclist. I don't know Mr. Coons nor am I aware of his riding experience. However, I doubt he said "Hmm... it's Sunday. Think I'll find myself a piece of road and hurt myself good." In fact, he was attempting to contribute to the well being of others while participating in a communal activity.

Should the state or the feds enact a tiered license system? Thats open to debate. Are motorcycles everyones thing? By the tone of some comments here obviously not. Are large motorcylcing events inconvenient? They sure are, so are taxes, tolls, and the Macy's thanksgiving day parade. Are there some baby boomers out there with overpriced toys and little experience handling them? Sure and a million other riders of varying ages, experince levels, riding styles and sanity.

The bottom line though is there is a guy in the hospital tonight, and I wish he and his family luck. Get well Mr. Coons and ride again soon.

silversportster05 8 years, 9 months ago

I agree with DavidW and to James Unruh- get a life!

gsxr600 8 years, 9 months ago

Any motorcycle, even a 125cc can hit 100mph and destroy you. It feels the same crashing on a Ninja 250 at 100 as it does on a Hayabusa. Yes, one is more agile and has more forgiving throttle, but it doesn't take much on either to get yourself into a mess.

I think a more realistic idea would be to implement mandatory MSF classes as well as a rigorous DMV test.

The day new drivers are disallowed from driving RWD cars in areas that snow, I'll believe your idea is more realistic in nature.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

Unruh replied:

"I never claimed to perfect. Should high risk leisure activities be associated with charity? Would it be better to raise money for charity without the disruption and personal safety risks? But then baby boomers couldn’t have fun while they save the world. Typical self indulgent BS of the boomer generation."

You might not be perfect but you sure do seem to be riding an awfully high horse. Again, you presume that everyone that participated in the event was a self-indulgent Harley riding baby boomer. Perhaps you should volunteer for the event next year and actually see what goes on and who participates so that you might have a valid point. But then, that would require you to get out of the house where you might get sunburned or rained on or hit by a passing T bus. Finally, I leave you with this: "The only person who never makes mistakes is the person who never does anything."-Denis Waitley I'll assume your that guy.

Mr. Coons, sorry about your pile up. Get well and get back on.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

Correction....meant to type: I'll assume you're that guy. (Not 'your that guy')

Nikki Kessler Pickens 8 years, 9 months ago

Maybe Mr Unruh could come and care for my premature son and see all the 'gadgets and gizmos' that are needed to care for him, and then maybe ...just maybe he could grasp that the money raised on Sunday by all of those darned baby boomers will help my baby with new equipment and medical engineering.
You have succeeded in making yourself the biggest ass I have ever encountered in my entire life. Nice work.

Mr Coons, I do hope you recover quickly, and thank you so much for your contribution.

corners 8 years, 9 months ago

gsxr600 (Anonymous) says… "Any motorcycle, even a 125cc can hit 100mph and destroy you. It feels the same crashing on a Ninja 250 at 100 as it does on a Hayabusa. Yes, one is more agile and has more forgiving throttle, but it doesn't take much on either to get yourself into a mess."

This is false logic. I called this argument out in a previous comment. I won't go into steering geometries, power, learning curves, etc...since it will take too long. Generally speaking, this argument is used by inexperienced riders of less than 5 years who don't fully grasp the complete aspect to riding a motorcycle on public roads in traffic.

Basically, I already know all the arguments you'll use to try to convince me that riding a bigger/more powerful bike is ok, and I can shut them all down. It's just not how it works in the real world.

It all comes down to, if you want to be a better rider more quickly, you will man up, put your ego behind you, and do your time on a smaller bike.

kansasmutt 8 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how many negative posters and or there kids were born premature and got help from The March Of Dimes ? I guarentee at least 10% of them and they dont even know it. If that child had died , i bet they would have given and supported the ride. It doesnt matter what you ride , unless it is too slow to keep up to the posted speed limits. I have been riding since i was 9 yo and that is about 40+ years of riding. Bikers for Babies is one of the most important rides in the nation and helps 1 in 7 families in this area. It doesnt matter if you dont have kids, someone in your family does, niece , nephew or other . It is sad that a rider went down and got hurt , but that person gave up a sunday and lots of $$$$$ to help kids. Respect the riders and remember this, you may need the help and the guys and gals who donated time and almost $700,000.00 next time you see one sitting a an intersection , or you have to wait that extra couple minutes for a large group to go by. They ( bikers ) also give over $5 billion nationwide to fight cancer. Keep this in mind, That biker sitting on a corner or coming down the road may be the one who gives his last $5.00 to cancer research and saves your wife or mothers life. Yea i ride and i give thousands of $$ to help others , but i enjoy it. Best wished to the rider who went down for a speedy recovery. He gave more than just $$$ he gave lots more. Owh, i ride a $45,000.00 hand built (by me) custom bike, but i still respect those who ride a factory metric or Harleys, we all give and we all enjoy the wind in our face. Ride safe !!!!

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago


Well stated. I've ridden in this event 5 out of the last 6 years...only missing the one because I was out of the country. Just before B4B last year, my sister had twins over two months pre-mature. This ride means a hell of a lot more to me now than it did. So, I tend to take the negative comments posted above pretty personally.

Again, to all those who were inconvenienced, or consider us losers or self indulgent....sorry 'bout that. What were we thinking??

supernik 8 years, 9 months ago

wow! some of the mean comments! seriously! the dude was riding for kids! that would be like saying that B.A.C.A. is worthless! I only dream of being able to do the kind of good that Bikers do! you don't see SUV rides for any sort of causes -

here's to your speedy recovery good Sir

jaycee7 8 years, 9 months ago

There is a person laying in a hospital bed struggling for the best recovery possible given his injuries, let's not forget that. Mr. Coons not only willingly gave up his money to help the cause, he ultimately will give up so much more.

For those that were inconvenienced and can't see past that to see the greater cause of the day, I pray someone in your family never has a life altering accident and never needs the help of a program such as the March of Dimes. (BTW, several newpapers had articles stating that the ride was taking place and would interfere with traffic flow, so it is not like there was no warning and 8,000 bikers suddenly showed up in your way) I am just glad there are those out there who do appreciate the efforts and gifts that the riders are giving. From the time we left the speedway until the wreck site there were hundreds of people on the sides of the route in different places with Thank You signs and waving and clapping for the riders. It is truely moving to see that many people join together for a cause that many of them have never needed, but they understand and support it's mission, and it was truely moving to see these families supporting the riders. Yes, I said until the wreck, because as some of you whined about being held up and some of you want to debate a rider's ability to handle thier bike, there were four of us on the ground, off our bikes and attempting to do everything we could to assist this fallen rider and his family and friends who were riding just in front of him when he went down. We did not know Mr. Coons prior to his accident, nor did we once ask his riding knowledge, time in the seat, or beliefs on laws, we just knew a bike was down and a rider was seriously hurt. We all know the risks when we climb on a bike, and when a rider goes down we should all come together to support them, not tear apart the cause, the rider, the event, or those participating. The ride is about helping others, specifically the children helped by March of Dimes, but the lesson is far more reaching. If you choose not to learn the lessons or participate that is fine, but don't condemn those who do decide to reach out, show their support, and give unselfishly.

Mr. Coons is a very sweet man with an amazingly good spirit despite the massive injuries he sustained, I am glad I had the chance to cross he and his family's path and I pray for a speedy recovery for this giving soul.

DavidW 8 years, 9 months ago

Well said Jaycee... I was lucky enough to meet several other riders on Sunday. Some riders were old enough to be my parent and some were young enough to be my child. Some were excellent riders with lots of experience, others not so much. The one thing they all had in common was a willingness to donate a Sunday and some funds to the March of Dimes. As the father of a premature baby (Now 23 years old and getting married) I am thankful. As a motorcyclist, I'm proud of my community, riders and non-riders who offered support for this event. $600,000.00 can sponsor a lot of research.

I have not met Mr. Coons but I was less than 100 yards away as he was airlifted to KC. I can assure you that every biker within sight of the helicopter said a small prayer for his safety. Yes, including the agnostic and atheist among us. As a motorcyclist we're all acutely aware of the inherent danger of sharing the road with larger and superiorly armored vehicles. We assume those risks when we sit in the saddle. The risk Mr. Coons did not assume was to be prejudged (as in prejudice) due to a mishap.

BTW riding is not a high risk leisure activity for me. My bike is my daily commuting vehicle. Making it a high risk daily activity. Broad brushes are for painting houses not people.

indythinker 8 years, 9 months ago

It seems that Unruh has an underlying and latent disdain for bikers. Perhaps he was the offspring of some one night encounter of a grizzly road-worn ramblin' man and some floozy $20 lot lizard...and he's never really come to terms with it.

Some professional counseling might do you some good.

growyourmind 8 years, 8 months ago

IN my opinion, one of the greatest things in our society is the instinct that exists in people to come together to care for others. This ride is a perfect example. 8000 people of all ages, incomes, interests and backgrounds bound together with one good cause. How could anyone question action with such positive intent? Some of the greatest disappointments in society stem from those who publish an opinion without proper education of their subject or who banter without care to who or what they are referring and especially those who cause harm from their choice to do so. This was a tragic accident. The rider deserves to be referred to with respect. I can guarantee you have no fact that would prove otherwise. Why choose to send bad information and negative energy into a situation that doesn't need or deserve it? Everyone would benefit from taking a moment to consider the impact your words have and to attempt understanding of someone else's perspective. I have listened to yours. Listen to mine: Grow your Mind. Offering of yourself takes energy. You may as well offer something good to the world.

monkey_c 8 years, 7 months ago

Way to go Bikers!!! Good cause. The idea that some people are too selfish to have a little patience, they get upset at the sight of thousands of people riding together to raise funds for a good cause is just awful.
I hope the rider makes a quick and full recovery.

monkey_c 8 years, 7 months ago

Why can't I give my appreciation when ever I get around to it?
Is he already all recovered...a little sore still maybe? Man - y'all never fail to make me feel sub par. Boo hoo

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