This summer, my nephew was killed while riding his motorcycle. He was just 2 months shy of his 41st birthday. I can still hear my daughter saying “I have some really bad news…Junior died.”
The crash happened at night. He was hit by a car turning left into the entrance of an apartment complex, and although my nephew had the right of way, the driver said she “didn’t see him.” He was wearing a helmet and driving within the speed limit.
According to a recent CDC study, between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed, and there was a 55% increase in motorcyclist death rates during this period. More people in the U.S. are riding motorcycles today than ever before, making motorcyclist deaths and injuries an important public health concern.
Interestingly, I didn’t know that Junior (as we called him) rode a motorcycle or was in a motorcycle club. At the funeral, I would get a glimpse into the culture and perspectives of his community of motorcyclists and the camaraderie they shared.
Dr. Leandris Liburd is the Director of the CDC’s Office of Minority Health, serving as the agency lead in coordinating CDC engagement with HHS, other federal agencies, national organizations, and the public on issues of health equity to improve minority health. Dr. Liburd is a respected health care leader with many years of experience addressing community health, health disparities, and social determinants of health.