Motorcycle helmet that saved man's life

This motorcycle helmet saved the life of David Hardy of Nixa when his bike collided with a truck in Christian County in 2011. (Thomas Leonard, KY3 News / May 3, 2012)

NIXA, Mo. -- It's no surprise that nearly 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes end up in injury or death.  That’s why David Hardy of Nixa wants to educate riders about the need to wear safety equipment and make other drivers aware that cycles sometimes are hard to see.

Hardy had ridden a motorcycle nearly all his life.  Then his life was changed forever while he was out on a ride one night.

“Broken ribs, collapsed lung, factures below the knee,” Hardy said Thursday, listing a few of his injuries after his crash.

Hardy never dreamed he would be confined to a life of sitting and lose half of one leg.

“If I don't set the brakes, then I'm on the floor,” he said, demonstrating how he moves himself into his wheelchair.

It's a struggle to do the simple things.  Hardy will tell you, while he broke about everything in the wreck, the wreck did not break his spirit.

“If I allow myself to have anger and resentments over what took place, the wherefores and the whys are only going to hurt me,” he said.

Hardy still has the scraped-up helmet that saved his life.

“You can hand that to people and say, ‘Well, you think you want to go without a helmet?  Well, take a look here.”

“The things I've seen a lot of times from a wreck on a bike, especially if you go over the handle bars.  You are going to lead with your head.  We are talking about very traumatic brain injuries.  Some people don't recover from it,” said Nixa Police Officer Brent Forgey.

“Because I was wearing this, I didn't get my eggs scrambled,” Hardy said.

It was less than a year ago, at an intersection in Christian County, that Hardy was hit by a truck.  He flew more than 130 feet.  He couldn't move because of his injuries.  The guy who hit him fled from the scene.  He says his helmet saved his life because he could call 911.

“I'm still glad I have a voice to speak of things like this, to help make people aware,” Hardy said.

Making people aware is his mission with every step.

“I get up every morning and I'm reminded of it.  It's my choice what I do with that memory.  Do I use that memory to push forward and try to make a difference in the world or do I cry in my Cheerios?  I'd rather not.”

Hardy has four children who are helping him.

The driver of the truck met with police a few hours after the accident.

Here's how Hardy remembers the accident:

On August 19, 2011, I became the victim of a hit and run (motorcycle vs. pickup truck) accident.

I was travelling approximately 40 MPH when I was struck on the right side by a pickup truck entering my lane.  I was knocked down and rag doll rolled for 130 feet before coming to rest on my left side in a ditch.

The injuries I sustained were seven ribs broken in two places on my right ribcage, a collapsed right lung, a shattered right ulna, three fractures of the right femur, over thirty fractures below the right knee, a broken left ankle and a broken left thumb.  I required six units of blood upon arrival at the hospital.

I was not knocked out by either the impact, nor the slam, slam, slamming of the deceleration of my body in the ditch.

I had no idea that I was alone in that dark ditch on a country road lightly traveled at that hour of the night.  It was only by the grace of God that I was gently prompted to attempt to call 911. I was able with my left hand, ( just about the only part of my body I could move) to work the chin strap off of my chin and reach back and pull the helmet off of my head.  I was able to retrieve my phone from a shirt pocket and dial 911.  When I connected I set my phone on the ground and laid my head on it due to the extreme discomfort that raising my head off of the ground was causing me.  There was an ambulance shed just a few miles from where the accident took place, yet it took them the better part of an hour to find me due to the darkness and my concealed position in the ditch.

As a direct result of the accident, I have lost both my right leg above the knee and most of the use of my, formerly dominant, right arm.

Life for me will never be the same.

Thank you,

David Hardy