Bruce Rossmeyer wasn't wearing helmet during fatal crash

Dailies -


Bruce_RossMeyer.jpgAccording to the Wyoming Highway Patrol, Bruce Rossmeyer wasn’t wearing a helmet when he fatally collided with a pickup towing a trailer on July 30. Rossmeyer owned 15 motorcycle dealerships, including the famous Destination Daytona dealer near Daytona Beach, Florida. The 66-year old was riding from the Harley dealer meeting in Colorado to the Sturgis Rally in South Dakota with friends when the crash occured. The report follows.>

The roadway at the time of the crash was dry with clear weather
conditions. Both vehicles were eastbound on WYO 28. Rossmeyer was
traveling with a group of five other motorcycles. Rossmeyer was behind
the VanValkenburg vehicle which was pulling a 2 axle camper style
trailer. VanValkenburg braked and used his vehicles left turn signal to
indicate he was going to make a turn from WYO 28 onto a small dirt
road. VanValkenburg was in the process of making his left turn when
Rossmeyer attempted to pass the VanValkenburg combination on the left.
Rossmeyer collided into the drivers side door of the VanValkenburg
pickup. The collision occurred near the westbound shoulder. After
impact, Rossmeyer was ejected from the motorcycle and came to rest
partially under the trailer near the passenger side tires. Troopers
investigating this crash have determined that the turn signals and the
brake lights were in working condition on the VanValkenburg
combination. It is unknown why Rossmeyer did not see the turn signal/
brake lights.

Additionally, Lt. Shawn Dickerson of the Wyoming Highway Patrol told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Rossmeyer was not wearing a helmet.


  • Will

    Hopefully the Harley community will take note: you can wear a helmet and still be a badass.

  • JR

    Horrible news of course…. no shame in wearing a helmet.

  • Crab

    sad new to hear

    wear a helmet because it’s the smart thing to do, don’t rebel against it because it’s a stupid law

  • bndgkmf

    Let’s be honest about this situation. He put other lives at risk by not paying attention to what he was doing while on the road. He did what we excoriate cagers for on a daily basis. A helmet doesn’t fix bad decision making.

    • Ben

      You’re right. No amount of gear fixes that problem. However, it does provide a greater opportunity to learn from a mistake.

      Some folks don’t wear gear because it’s uncool. Some folks are just lazy. Some find it uncomfortable, while others believe that they can avoid all potential problems through skill alone. Amongst those who wear gear, there are countless numbers of rationalizations for exactly how much is worn. Thankfully, we still have freedom of choice. I go the route of the SuperDork. Hopefully that never pays off.

  • Brian

    Helmet or not, why is the lack thereof part of the tag line. A man died. There is no proof that a helmet would have made any difference in this situation.

    To me it seems like someone other than the biker involved making frickin left turns kills or injures more motorcyclists than any other one thing…

    Depending on the time of day the sun could have been bright enough to make seeing the turn signals on the vehicle/trailer very difficult.

    There should be a campaign for LED turn signals.

    • Tanshanomi

      “There is no proof that a helmet would have made any difference in this situation.”

      No, we don’t have proof regarding this exact situation, but there is a mountain of evidence that constitutes reasonable proof that helmets save lives a great deal of the time, in a wide range of accident scenarios.

      To suggest that lack of “proof” somehow proves the contrary view is faulty logic.

      • Brian

        My comment was specifically made in reference to the tag line “Bruce Rossmeyer wasn’t wearing helmet during fatal crash” as if to imply stupidity is what killed him. Helmet or not, none of us know enough about the accident to determine if a helmet could have made any difference for THIS individual in THIS situation. Read a little more carefully next time please.

        • joneez

          Regardless of whether or not a helmet may or may not have saved his life in this crash is still no excuse for not having one on. Why would you NOT take advantage of every bit of safety equipment available today? That DOES seem pretty stupid to me.

          @ everyone – Ultimately it’s the rider’s responsibility for their own safety not the cage drivers. You telling me you ALWAYS use your signal? Bullshit. I know I’ve forgotten my signal more than a few times. Don’t expect them to take care of you, or even see you to begin with, because they won’t and they don’t. In this case, if a car in front of you slows down, hang back a bit and figure out why they are slowing. Are they stopping for an animal? Another car? Are they turning? A few seconds of patience may have saved this man’s life.
          Be aware. Observe. Think.

        • Tanshanomi

          I did read carefully, Brian; I just disagree with you. That information was worthwhile and appropriate, regardless of whether a helmet would have saved his life or not.

  • Steve516

    I read one report where he pulled out to pass as the truck and trailer were signaling to make a left turn… So perhaps it was poor judgement, or perhaps the lack of a helmet meant his vision was not too good.

  • Eduardo Di Lascio

    Even with you turn signals blinking like crazy you must always check the road before turning.
    And of course, full gear on if you are a rider.

  • carlos

    well helmets don’t always save you from death or serious injury, but i’m sure the moto community would rather have the higher chances of a paralyzed rider than a dead rider.

    i’d rather have those odds.

  • aeolus

    Yes the vehicles turn signals were in working order. But did he use them. Supposedly the other bikers might testify to that. It defies logic that Rossmeyer would begin to overtake with the vehicle turning. More likely the vehicle driver turned quickly as Rossmeyer was in the act of passing. Of course the driver of the vehicle will claim he was using his turn signals when he didn’t or might have activated them just as he began to turn. Iv’e been that route but as the driver was turning from a curb lane to make a U turn, I won the case. None the less, riding without a helmet is crazy in todays traffic.

  • M.P.

    Sadly, I’m not suprised.

  • Isaac

    Dumb for not wearing helmet. However I am more interested in the driver ‘claiming’ he used his turn signals. Funny how Bruce isn’t here to defend himself. I think the driver was lying period!

  • primitive

    It’s a shame this happened, but it’s easy to see how, and not the first time I’ve heard this scenario. Maybe instead of the value of helmets we should remember, when passing some slow poke over the yellow line, make sure there are no intersections approaching. We’re awfull frail out there on our bikes.

  • Albert Lopez

    Based on this sketchy, initial report, there is no indication at all that a helmet would have saved Bruce’s life or even provided any protection at all under these circumstances.

    It is curious, however, how quickly the “You Have To Wear A Helmet” crowd speculated and pontificates.

  • nick

    As bikers, we are more vaunerable out there on the road, that is a risk we take. It doesn’t matter who’s fault it is, we are the ones getting hurt, not the cagers.

    We don’t know if he would have been saved with a helmet, or if the cager really signaled. All we know is he was not in control of the situation, and he’s dead.

    We can argue about how he could have improved his chances by reducing his risks, but it’s better to learn from the incident to improve our chances and to reduce our risks.

    Ride safe friends.

  • stu

    to those of us not living in the US it’s still amazing to hear people like Albert refer to the’you have to wear a helmet’ pontificators. irrespective of the law, anyone in Australia who was riding without a helmet would be universally regarded as a complete moron and pitied for their stupidity and short life-expectancy by motorcyclists of all stripes. That so many Americans seem to confuse wearing a helmet with notions of loss of personal liberty is ridiculous and disingenous to your own political history.

  • Slim Francis

    Not replying to anyone in particular but personally I know that proper dress and technique prevent injury and loss of life. I am almost Bruce’s age and probably have as much or more riding experience having begun on Whizzer motor bikes.

    Just a few days ago I was heading back to town after my even oxygen run ride – I have COPD from Agent Orange exposure – which I take to usually one of the lakes nearby and usually return along the river route. Thus coming back I have the river and all those trees on my left and go just fast enough to feel all that great air, 45 – 50mph.

    This night I had been following an old MG that was driving kind of slow. Usually I would have passed but I’d actually talked to the owner a while back and was just wondering where he was headed. I was also thinking about how nice he’d restored it and the brightness of the tail lights; he’d obviously upgraded the electrics.

    Then he turned off into what must have been his driveway. Thus I sped up to 50 – 55 mph, the speed limit. Then it hit me. It was just getting dark and did so sooner than I’d expected since I’d loafed along follwoing the MG. All at once I felt a sharp pain in my left leg, the bike began to wobble, I glanced down and a deer was bouncing off, flipped over and quickly disappeared behind me.

    Somehow I managed to keep the bike upright and both wheels on the road; this is rule number one when encountering any situation. I was able to pull over without the car behind me running me over. In my mind I had caluclated all this in a split second. Who says old people are slow. The driver and the passenger in the car came up and helped me off my bike as I was still holding it up. I couldn’t get off by myself because I could not move my leg.

    However, I was wearing a helmet. So it wasn’t needed you say because I did not go down. OK, I was also wearing leather gloves but again I did not go down so my hands received no road rash. However, I got a cracked leg. But what might that had been had I not been wearing jeans which were over heavy cow hide high top western boots and heavy wool socks? There is no doubt in my mind that the socks, boots and jeans prevented much more serious injury. I never leave home without them. I notice in the picture of Bruce herein that he is not dressed for the road nor in any other pictures I’ve seen of him.

    And because I was able to keep my bike moving and upright it sustained hardly any damage. The battery cover popped off but that is a known problem with Harley Sportsters. The front fender is slightly bent but it’s made of metal. Other than that it appears OK. One of the two guys who helped me rode it back to town for me, a distance of several miles and he said it was OK. I rest my leg and my case. The only change I’m going to make is to install crash bars/engine guards on my bike.

  • Harley Helmets

    Usually all will disagree with this. But I appreciate your guts and passion of riding.