Skip to comments.Motorcyclist Hit By Car, Killed On (Milwaukee's) East Side
Posted on 08/30/2008 7:04:18 AM PDT by BraveMan
MILWAUKEE - A motorcyclist was killed on Milwaukees east side after he was hit by a car.
It happened Friday afternoon near Humboldt and North.
Police said a 61-year-old woman from Milwaukee was driving her car southbound on Humboldt when she tried to turn right to go west on North Avenue, but instead of turning right, she went across all the lanes of traffic.
Police say the woman hit the curb on the other side of the road, and tried to correct herself. That is when she struck the motorcyclist.
Police said 55-year-old Michael Fleming of Michigan was riding in a group of four motorcycles, but he was alone on the bike. Paramedics took him to the hospital, where he later died.
The driver of the car is under arrest because police believe she was driving under the influence.
Police say the motorcyclists were doing nothing wrong.
Tony Coffaro, a Harley rider from Milwaukee, nearly got hit himself just moments before seeing Fleming lose his life.
"I had to lock up both my brakes, put the bike down on the side rail, and hang on just to not go over the top of the car. And then I came through the intersection and saw what I saw," Coffaro said.
Many other riders want to use this tragedy to remind drivers what they need to do to keep bikers safe:
"Keep a nice distance between the car and the driver. If you're going to change lanes, make sure no one is in your blind spot," Milwaukee Harley rider Aquine Jackson said.
"People in cars just have to stay the distance," Green Bay rider Gerry Van De Hei said.
But the biggest request of all is this: "If you are going to be drinking and driving, do not get behind the wheel. Do not get behind the handlebars," Coffaro said.
IMHO, a 61 year old woman driving drunk in the middle of the afternoon, killing a biker, should live her remaining years behind bars. There is no excuse for this . . .
Sad ping . . .
I like to think that I’m invisible when I ride. Take NOTHING for granted. People in cars can look right at you and not see you. In this case it seems that there was nothing the biker could have done. It must have been his time to go.
“IMHO, a 61 year old woman driving drunk in the middle of the afternoon, killing a biker, should live her remaining years behind bars. There is no excuse for this . . . “
“Please, please, drivers! Check your blind spots. Don’t follow any closer than three bikes’ distance. Don’t drive so agressively; you’ll get to your destination in plenty of time.”
You left out “wear a helmet”, which was also left out of this report, as were the injuries which killed the poor fellow - I do not think Wisconsin has a mandatory helmet law.
I agree with you, the woman should stay behind bars if she was indeed under the influence.....
I see way too many bikers hanging out in the blind spots of cars. Bikers are like boaters, people with no skill or common sense buy them then ride like they own the road. Bikers, if you cannot see the eyes of the driver of a car or truck they cannot see you.
This is a tragic scenario.
And you probably have the Constitiutional right to not wear a helmet but you are an idiot if you don’t.
Terrible. I’ve had a few near-misses as well this year. Let’s be extra cautious!
I wondered how many posts it woould take before blame the victim crept in. A helmet is poor protection against an out of control or deliberate rammming or crossing into path with no notice by a car. Our family just buried a beloved member who suffered this fate. yes he was wearing a helmet.
Hey, I don't feel safe in a full size truck. In a typical hours drive, I'll have to do, at least, three maneuvers from my fellow everybody-gets-a-license drivers, cell phone drivers, eating drivers, bottom of the bell curve, and on and on and on.
You get on a motorcycle and expect people to look out for you? That's wish fulfillment. Delusional.
I heard an emergency room doctor break motorcycle riders who had been involved in serious accidents into two groups, helmeted and non-helmeted.
Only he called the non-helmeted riders organ donors, and he call the helmeted riders quadriplegics.
I am appalled at this situation, and my heart goes out to the family and friends of the motorcyclist. I am a very experienced motorcyclist myself, who has been hit (head-on) by an irresponsible driver. Too often there is nothing the motorcyclist does or does wrong to contribute to the incident. (I will not use the word “accident” here. It does not apply.
If I had a dollar for everytime I was riding and another driver did not see (or look for) me, almost hit me and then got mad at me, I’d be a rich man.
If I had a dollar for every time I was driving and I did not see a motorcyclist — for any number of variables — I would be a rich woman. They are a different size and shape than a car, and they are often in a different place (mid-lanes) than I expect a car to be.
I am a careful driver and I DO watch out for motorcyclists. If I were on a motorcycle, I would assume that NO driver ever saw me.
This poor guy.
Usually if a helmet is not mentioned, the rider had one on.
One of my favorite hate visual things is first thing near dawn, a gray or black car driving to work with no lights on, on a gray or black road. I have also driven in pretty low light heavy rain and there is a pure gray car with no lights in the mist. But I expect this. As I said, there is a Bell Curve, and one out of two are in the bottom half. Expecting dumb, careless people to be smart careful people is crazy.
What do they call sociopaths who use a steering wheel as their weapon of choice?
“I wondered how many posts it woould take before blame the victim crept in. A helmet is poor protection against an out of control or deliberate rammming or crossing into path with no notice by a car. Our family just buried a beloved member who suffered this fate. yes he was wearing a helmet.”
Did I blame the victim? No I did not. I was responding to a post admonishing folks to be safe. A helmet is certainly worth mention if you are also mentioning safe following distance.
I’m sorry for your loss. however, I stand by my question. Was the guy in question wearing a helmet, and what were his injuries? That is a valid question, and no it is not blaming the victim.
That is the only way to ride. I assume other drivers are going to hit me if I don't avoid them.
“Usually if a helmet is not mentioned, the rider had one on.”
“Police said the man was not wearing a helmet.”
So, the only question is if he died from head injuries.
Again, it’s the car drivers fault, but this guy did lack basic safety equipment that may or may not have made a difference in this instance.
OK, I give up, what do they call sociopaths who use a steering wheel as their weapon of choice?
You're obviously lucky to be alive. What happened?
Off point but a good forum to mention this:
Whenever I drive my car, I try to give the maximum room to motorcycles for their safety, I’ve ridden motorcyles and understand the dangers, but here’s my rub.
I’m an avid bicyclist who rides the country roads in Michigan. I ride on the right side of the road and/or the shoulder of the road. I would say that a majority of the car drivers I encounter are courteous, allowing as much distance as possible when passing.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that for the motorcyclists that I encounter while on my bike. It’s the exact opposite and many in that same group are either obnoxious or dangerous, zooming closely by.
My point, please show the same regard for others using the road that you expect to be shown.
“this guy did lack basic safety equipment that may or may not have made a difference in this instance.”
blame the victim
“I assume other drivers are going to hit me if I don’t avoid them.”
Exactly. I have had bikers come up hard on me an be all pissed off I did not see them. Well I did not see them. If you ride a bike you are taking a risk that you will not be seen. It is your choice to ride.
By now you would think they would get the message. I sold my bike two decades ago when I figured living was better than biking. People expect cars on the road, not bikes. A minor accident in a car is fatal on a bike. I just had a friend here get killed by a motorcycle that hit him on a Bicycle.
It is dangerous out there. If you assume the risk you assume the risk. That said drunk drivers belong in jail but a lot of good that does you when you are dead.
“blame the victim”
??? Riding a bike is risky. If you get on one you either know people will not see you and you could get hit and if you get hit without a helmet you are more likely to die than not. I’m not saying the drunk driver is in the right but riding a bike in traffic is a calculated risk. If you do not know this and ride you are dense. If you ride anyhow you are flipping a coin.
I have absolutely no problem with people doing risky or dangerous stuff but when your number comes up you can hardly be surprised.
“blame the victim”
The victim only gets blame if he died of headwounds that would have been prevented by wearing a helmet. If he chose not to wear a helmet and dies of headwounds, he deserves some of the blame, does he not?
Is it not relevant that he didn’t have a helmet, and that the posted report didn’t report that?
It certainly is relevant to me. I’m guessing that it will be relevant to the woman who was under the influence and caused the whole deal - since it’s potentially involuntary manslaughter on the line.
I retract my agreement that she should be put away for the rest of her life, instead, I’m content to leave it to due process to sort it out.
Yeah, it's this attitude that caused me to have the organ donor notation removed from my drivers license when I had to renew it last week. The lady at the DMV looked at me funny when I insisted that it be changed.
Most people participate in some form of risky behavior, whether it is smoking, drinking, being a couch potato, or enjoying far too many greasy cheeseburgers.
Wonder if Doctor Busybody considers all of them organ donors too?
I agree. And if you are going 80 on the freeway and watching for many variables, a motorcycle out of the blue/ in a different space than expected, might be one more thing than you are able to deal with quickly. My husband had a motorcycle for years and loved it, so don’t get me wrong. Just that I am often surprised by them.
Experiences vary, but the times I wore a helmet I could not see nor hear as well, and head movement was limited, but I have an old neck injury which is aggravated by the extra weight as well. YMMV.
Everyone has to weigh the risk of riding without one against the relative advantages of situational awareness and the extra fractions of a second to react to unforseen threats--and every other vehicle out there is a threat.
“Everyone has to weigh the risk of riding without one against the relative advantages of situational awareness and the extra fractions of a second to react to unforseen threats—and every other vehicle out there is a threat.”
Exactly, however, in this particular situation, should the woman who caused the accident be charged with vehicular manslaughter if the victims injuries could have been limited through the use of a helmet?
I’m sure the lawyers will slug this one out, but it’s an interesting facet of the helmet law debate.
Had the woman not hit him, he would have suffered no injury. Period.
Millions of people ride every day without ill effect--or a helmet. With or without a helmet, regardless of circumstance or attire, getting run over by a car proves fatal to people.
Her vehicle hitting him was the cause of death, the responsibility to prevent those injuries lies with her as the operator thereof, and she is especially liable if she operated under the influence--placing everyone on the highway at risk.
Yes. Charge her.
I never wear a helmet, although for comfort reasons.
I wear that patch on my jacket.
To those who seem to think that the fact that the man was not wearing a helmet mitigates the drunken womans responsibility, please consider that a helmet only offers protection up to about 25 mph. after that point, depending on the weight of the motorcyclist, if you hit your head, you’re toast. I do a great deal of highway riding. I am usually riding between 60 and 75 mph. If some idiot on a cell phone with a few too many beers decides he has more right to the lane I’m traveling in, I had better be skillful enough to drive out of the situation or I’m dead.
I’ve been hit before and lost partial use of my right hand as the result of a woman in a minivan who claims she was blinded by the sun while traveling southwest at 10 AM. She bought me a house. It doesn’t begin to compensate me for nearly loosing the hand all together nor the pain I go through when I twist my throttle or use my front brake. I live with that and she lives with a second mortgage. For me, I’d rather have the monthly payment than the pain.
I never wear one these days either. Comfort is a consideration, but having been so involved in getting Connecticut’s helmet law repealed over 30 years ago, I’m pretty much invested in the individual rights issues concerning motorcyclists. I suppose I’ll need to buy one if I ever want to leave Florida. but I’ll wear it in protest, not because of any safety issue.
Back in the early 70’s, when CT’s helmet law was still in effect, my ex and I were riding double on the interstate. I was aware of a semi to my right, but lost track of him while approaching a toll booth. All of a sudden I felt the wife’s fingernails dig into my shoulders and I barely heard her screem. I glanced right and there 6” from my elbow was the front left tire of the truck. a quick mirror check and hard throttle saved our lives as I dove left scraping pegs at 50 mph. I guess he didn’t see me.......
I own a few helmets. Rarely do I ride the dirtbike without wearing one. On long trips, I'll wear one. I do enjoy the putts down to the lakefront without a helmet though. It cleanses the soul . . .
No, Mike wasn’t wearing a helmet. However, a helmet would not have saved him from the massive internal injuries sustained on impact that caused internal bleeding. I agree that the helmet issue should be saved for another thread. Mike was an innocent victim who was in the clear line of vision (not her blind spot)of the driver. The problem is that when you are drunk...your entire field of vision is one big blind spot. It’s sad that a good time on vacation with friends has ended so tragically. Mike will be missed by many!
My condolences for your loss. Please tell Michael Fleming’s family they are in our thoughts and prayers. If I can offer the family any help here in Milwaukee please contact me.
Charges are expected today against a suspected drunken driver who struck and killed a Harley-Davidson motorcyclist Friday on the east side, according to the Milwaukee County district attorneys office.
The victim has been identified as Michael V. Fleming, 55, of Ann Arbor, Mich., who was in town for Harleys 105th Anniversary Celebration.
Fleming, who was retired, loved his Harley Electra Glide Classic and his 2007 California Mustang. But more than the open road, he was dedicated to his family.
When his elderly father became too sick to live on his own, Fleming took him in, said Ron Betts, who met Fleming through a Michigan Harley Owners Group 12 years ago.
When his cousins husband had surgery for lung cancer in May, Fleming temporarily moved in with them.
I dont know what I would have done without him, said his cousin, Dora LaValley of Canton, Mich.
Fleming spent countless hours at the hospital with LaValley, even in the middle of the night. When she had to return to work, Fleming cared for her husband.
He was a very wonderful, kind and loving person, LaValley said of her cousin.
Fleming had previously visited Milwaukee for Harleys 95th and 100th anniversary celebrations, said Betts, 60, of Brighton, Mich. On this trip, Fleming joined Betts and another friend on the roof of their hotel Thursday evening, where they smoked cigars, ate pizza and talked.
The next afternoon, the friends were eastbound on North Ave., on their way to see a Harley dealership, when a 61-year-old woman attempted to make a right turn from Humboldt Blvd.
I saw this car hit an eight-inch curb, she went up on the sidewalk and came up behind me. I thought she missed Mike, Betts said. I saw her keep going down the road. When I looked back I saw him lying in the road, the bike next to him.
Fleming died en route to the hospital, according to the medical examiners report.
In the aftermath of the crash, people went out of their way to help, Betts said.
A biker who had been getting gas nearby chased the car down the block and grabbed the keys out of the ignition. A couple who lived in the area invited Flemings friends into their home. A taxi driver who had witnessed the collision dropped off his fare, then returned to the scene. And after Flemings death, people who didnt know him contributed to a makeshift memorial at the intersection.
Although Fleming was not wearing a helmet, his injuries were so extensive a helmet likely would not have saved him, Betts said. It angered him that anyone would try to deflect the blame for Flemings death away from the woman who hit him.
Kathleen Boland, of the 2300 block of N. Humboldt Blvd., is charged with one count of homicide by intoxicated use of a vehicle and one count of homicide by use of a vehicle while operating with a prohibited blood alcohol concentration. According to the complaint, her blood alcohol concentration was 0.182 more than an hour after the crash occurred.
Investigators estimated her blood alcohol level at the time of the accident to be at least 0.202 and at most 0.232.
In Wisconsin, a level of 0.08 is considered evidence of intoxication.
Michael V. Fleming, 55, of Ann Arbor, Mich., was struck about 2:15 p.m. Friday as he and a group of riders were heading east on E. North Ave. at N. Humboldt Blvd. He died of injuries to his head and torso on the way to the hospital.
According to the complaint, Boland, heading south of Humboldt, ran a red light and swerved wide as she turned right onto North.
Her 1997 Mercury Grand Marquis hit the south curb of North Ave. then sped up as she hit Fleming while she attempted to move into the westbound lane.
A witness told police he saw Boland holding the sides of her head and mouthing the words “Oh my God” as she brought her car to a stop, according to the complaint.
Thanks for the Ping ~ prayers for the family.
I wanted to respond to all who posted regarding the issue of Michael Fleming wearing his helmet or not. As the niece of the woman who killed this wonderful man I place the blame solely at her feet. My aunt chose to drink and drive without any regard for others on the road. As the daughter of parents who rode in this celebration I am outraged. I love my Aunt but believe that she needs to be held accountable for her actions. Please don’t put any responsibility on Mr. Fleming. People should be able to ride a bike,cycle, go for a walk or even drive a car without fear that someone will run you down. Our family has Mr. Fleming and his family and friends in our prayers. Thank you