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UPDATE: Motorcyclist Wearing Novelty Helmet Killed In Temecula Wine Country Crash

“It is unknown at this time if a proper helmet would have saved his life,” CHP spokesman Nathan Baer said.

A motorcyclist donning a “novelty” helmet was killed Wednesday in a Temecula Wine Country crash.

San Diego resident Michael Witham, 65, was riding a 2000 Harley Davidson northbound on De Portola Road -- just south of Danza Del Sol Winery -- shortly after 3:30 p.m. when he veered off the road, according to a report from California Highway Patrol spokesman Nathan Baer and the Riverside County Coroner's Office.

Witham was ejected from the motorcycle and landed on a dirt shoulder; he was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar but died less than 90 minutes after the crash, Baer reported.

Witham was wearing a non-approved novelty helmet, according to Baer.

“It is unknown at this time if a proper helmet would have saved his life,” Baer said, adding that it's unclear if drugs or alcohol were involved.

There were no other vehicles involved in the crash and no other injuries were reported.

Moni Botts November 29, 2012 at 07:49 AM
What's a novelty helmet? Why would someone make/buy a helmet that was not meant to protect? Not being insensitive, just curious. So sad for this man and his loved ones.
Jhoffa2 November 29, 2012 at 08:04 AM
Some riders believe if a motorcyclist is in an accident going highway speeds it doesn't matter what kind of helmut you wear. A lot of riders resent the fact that they have to wear a helmut at all. I would partially agree with this with a clause. If you don't wear a helmut then have a DNR on your license.
Larceny November 29, 2012 at 03:04 PM
*helmet *helmet *helmet
JP November 29, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Helmets have to meet safety standards set by the Department of Transportation. DOT approved helmets are very bulky, so a lot of riders prefer to use helmets that are slimmer and do not meet DOT standards. To limit liability, the companies that make the slimmer helmets have to call them "novelty" helmets, so that in instances like this, they can have an out. It's pretty common here in Temecula to see riders wearing "novelty" helmets. While they offer some protection, they don't offer as much protection as a helmet built to DOT safety standards.
LifeinTtown November 29, 2012 at 05:14 PM
you just can't fix stupid
Net November 29, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Must of been a scull cap nazi looking helmet. Sad story.
Brenda November 29, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Agree with Steve, and believe I have said the same thing at one time or another. I totally, when I was younger, understand the fight that drives those to say, I want to feel the wind in my face, my hair flapping behind me. But its was about the time the helmet law started that I had seen enough brains, body parts laying on the road, and was old, mature enough to know that helmets do save lives, just like seat belts. RIP Michael Witham, condolences to your family and friends.
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Yes those type just pop off I think when you hit the ground. Very sad story :/ Have to say though he was probably riding with the feeling of God on his shoulder, the sun, the wind, and a big smile of the outdoors and freedom on his face. That is what it feels like to ride, and pray that he did not hvae pain.
keepn it real November 30, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Or how bout this people a Man lost his life today1 his family and friends lifes are changed forever..When its your time it doesn't matter how it happend. . My pryers go out to all who knew him its hard to lose someone you love but when it happens during holiday time..your holidays are also changed forever. RIP
Budd Williamson November 30, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Brother Bear, R.I.P. You will be missed Brother. and to those that vhave "Helmet" issues. . . maybe you should think about what his bfamily reads your comments like I just did. Don't think thye helmet would have helped much. R.I.P. Uncle Mike, Budd & Kim
Brenda November 30, 2012 at 01:48 AM
I dont believe anyone meant any disregard for your Brother, or the helmet for that matter. Most of us didnt know what a novelty helmet was and if they are legal or not. I sure didnt know that is what they call those kind of helmets, didnt know they had a name at all. My own ignorance and have ridden and had riders my entire life. I realize its a sensitive time and I am sorry if I said anything that even remotely says I have helmet issues or that wearing a different one would have saved his life. I am not a doctor, or coroner and the article even says that from the police statement.
keepn it real November 30, 2012 at 02:33 AM
@ Budd and Kim so so sorry for your loss my prayers and thought are with all of his family and friends. Its never easy to say goodby. Its down right heart breaking.
Timber November 30, 2012 at 04:36 AM
In reference to the comment, 'Witham was wearing a non-approved novelty helmet, according to Baer.' Nathan Baer being a CHP spokesman should know the 'helmet law' and how it should be applied here in the State of Calif. His statement is perpetuating a falsehood regarding any information claiming helmets receive 'non-approval' let alone approval from any government agency. The impied belief that the DOT 'approves' any safety equipment for use with motor vehicles is a vile stretch of the truth. The CHP has been reprimanded in court over this issue which prompted them to issue REVISED ENFORCEMENT GUIDELINES in March 2010. SEE: http://www.boltofca.com/files/OrderAfterHearingSC.pdf
Mike November 30, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Can everybody stop talking about the helmet issue,.... I rather figure out why the bike went off the road?? He could have been west s dive helmet and still not survived the impact helmets help but are not the real question here?.. Why did his bike go off the road?????
Kelley November 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I've known Bear for close to ten years. He was a customer of mine and others at Quaid Temecula Harley Davidson. He was a rebel, but he was a love. One of the biggest teddy bears you'd ever meet. Regardless of what helmet he was wearing, it may or may not have affected his life. He was still a good man, but he made a choice, it's no different than those that chose not to wear a seat belt. My heart goes out to his family he will truly be missed. -Kelley @ Quaid
John Doe December 02, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Helmet or NO helmet, when you number is up you will not beat it. God knows the number of your days and what manner of death you will have. This is just another example of Government in our lives telling us what we can/cannot do. Wait until the healthcare mandate takes effect, then a bureaucrat will decide the "treatment" one would receive after the accident.
Galactic Cannibal December 02, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Hey J D. I would rather have insurance due to a mandate . Than have no insurance like in the status quo, (like the 40 million Americans who must beg at the ER's)
John Doe December 02, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I don't think anyone has to beg for medical help at the ER. My point was that after the person was still alive that someone who doesn't know medicine would make the decisions for treatment and that would be based on cost vs benefit. Read up on the facts to enlighten yourself.
Brenda December 03, 2012 at 01:06 AM
I seriously DO NOT even know why 4 years of presidency was wasted on medical insurance instead of the top problems we have in this country. Insurance is easy, we have it great, if we dont, then the government supplies an equivelent to what others recieve. NOT letting people die by refusing services. IF two doctors say a treatment is needed(if there is even a question)then they pay the bills. Just as it is now with Medi-cal. Such a fricking waste of 4 years.

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