May 26, 2010
Turkey Lands Harley-Riding Woman in the Hospital
By Chad Love
From the story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune:
When Lori Hansen leaves her digs in rural Arcadia, she rumbles her Harley-Davison onto Armadillo Trail, hits Opossum Road, then swings onto Gator Trail. So there's really no need to lecture her on the perils of varmints and critters when riding a motorcycle. "I was coming home one night," said the 42-year-old teacher from her hospital bed in St. Petersburg, "when I had this hog come right at me. It charged me over there, at Horse Creek Road."
But that's not what landed her in Bayfront Medical Center on Saturday afternoon. What flung her like a rag doll at 55 to 60 mph into a webbing of barbed wire as she hurtled west on State Road 72 last weekend was a wild turkey. "I saw it out of the corner of my eye, for just a millisecond," said Hansen, who never wears a helmet. "I ducked left to avoid it but it hit me in my head, and I lost consciousness." The bird, whose 20-pound carcass was recovered by a nearby resident and stuffed into a freezer, had bolted from pastureland east of Myakka River State Park shortly before noon. Hansen, who suffered no broken bones or internal injuries, was helicoptered in serious condition to Bayshore Medical, where she was patched up with staples and stitches.
The most serious wounds are from lacerations to her arm. She expects to be released at any day now. Collisions with animals are not unheard of by experienced motorcyclists, but a wily turkey known for its caginess? "Well, I've been hit by a bird before as I was going over Ringling Bridge," said Matt Glenn, parts manager for Granny's Motorsports in Manatee County. "But it was a seagull, and I was wearing a helmet. I've never heard of anybody hitting a turkey before." Jimmy Procopio, a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation instructor from Sarasota, just gasped at the tale. "Oh my god! Are you kidding me?" he said. "Hit by a turkey? In the head? Without a helmet?"
OK, all you cycle riders: what's the worst or scariest animal encounter you've had? Can you top this one?