My Friend Diane Nolan
It has been so hard for me to write this article. The holidays are here and my heart is very heavy. I lost my best friend in a motorcycle accident on July 3 of this year. Just recently I received a telephone call from attorney who is trying to help my girlfriend's husband get her hospital bills paid.
After I told him all about the accident, the attorney asked me if I was still riding. I told him, "Yes." He said my still riding was a great tribute to Diane because she showed me how to ride and got me ready for the Motorcycle Safety Course.
I am very grateful I joined Spokes-Women. I want to extend a special thanks to Judy who provided us with instruction on group riding. I remember Judy saying, “Be careful not to speed up because riding in a group is like a rubber band. First the group comes close together and then it spreads back out”.
As I was riding with my friends on that beautiful July morning, I noticed the cars up ahead hitting their brake. There were five of us riding together. My friend Diane was riding in first position. Her husband, Greg was riding second. I was riding in third. My husband was riding in the fourth position and our friend Wes and his son were riding fifth. We were on Route 287 North just past Mahwah. As I looked ahead, I saw that traffic was slowing down.
Judy’s voice came into my head and I remembered what Judy said during our group-riding lesson. I saw that the cars had speeded up when they were spreading out and now were hitting their brakes as they were coming back together. I rode with caution, tentative on the throttle. My action caused the riders behind me slow down. I saw the brake lights in the car in front of us turn bright red.
I couldn't believe what was happening. I saw Greg’s bike fishtailing and his tire was smoking. Diane's bike turned sideways before hitting the ground. She flew off and went under a tractor trailer on the other side of the road. The trailer never hit her because she slid under the space between the tires. I stopped my bike, cut the engine and ran to her side. I couldn't believe what just happened. Didn't they see the brake lights?
I really thought she was going to live, I prayed for a miracle. When we were saying goodbye to her, I told her to BE A MIRACE. But, I forgot, she already was.
In the end she died from head injuries. Her husband swears that her helmet was fine. She wore a twenty-dollar cool look helmet. I don't know if she would have of survived if she'd had a stronger helmet .
I guess having so many memories is good. I am so grateful to her because while I was waiting to take the Motorcycle Safety Course for beginners, she gave me her old Harley Davidson Lady Magazines. I got so excited about riding a motorcycle from reading those magazines. I wanted to ride so bad, especially with her. Diane rode a Harley Davidson Heritage Softtail.
When I started to “practice for the safety course”, I fell a lot. She gave me tips like “keep your handlebars square”. Diane used to invite me to her house for girls night. We’d either hang out on the deck or in the house. Here, who ever was struggling with their spouse or child could get it all out. We would all make jokes and laugh a lot. Sometimes, I was invited to play cards, a game in which I have no skill.
Before long we would go out for a ride with our spouses on weekends. It was so cool. Sometimes, my husband and I would meet them and go on a long ride to breakfast. Other times, we’d run into them in Frenchtown, riding their bikes. My husband referred to them as “Our Cool Friends”.
Diane worked at the Anderson House where she was a counselor helping women recover from addiction. I remember talking to her not too long ago where she said, ” I love my life”. Not many people can say that.
Today I am holding onto memories of her. During her life she planted her seeds. She planted a motorcycling seed in me and it’s up to me to let it grow. I'll keep her spirit alive each time I ride.
I was the person with the least amount of experience on that fatal ride. I believe the only reason I wasn't involved in that wreck was because of Spokes-Women. Kudos to all the members that help enforce riding safety. I thank you.
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