Family thinks helmet law could have saved their son's life

Category: Motorcycle Accidents

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It was 82 degrees with low humidity and light wind the day Scott Pohl died.

This is significant because a motorcycle was not Scott’s primary transportation. He usually drove his pickup to work.

Scott Pohl died after an SUV turned into his motorcycle’s path. He was not wearing a helmet, and suffered traumatic head injuries.

Scott’s shift for most of his six-day week started at 4:30 p.m. But on Fridays and Saturdays he’d start at 7 p.m., which is also significant.

It is why he was headed east on North Territorial Road in Salem Township at 6:32 p.m. on the second day of summer, approaching an SUV driver who never saw him coming.

Scott bought the black 2007 Honda Shadow VLX in April, the month lawmakers lifted Michigan’s mandatory helmet law. Increasingly, he rode helmetless.

Karl Pohl texted his son on May 23, begging him to wear his helmet.

Scott responded he loved his dad, and more.

“I’m always going to be more of a risk taker then you ever were. That’s where I get a thrill out of life. You may call it stupid but I call it living. I hope you can understand that,” Scott wrote.

“I say a prayer every time I get on my bike too. I ask to be protected. It makes me feel safer so I hope you can relax a little more. My goal is 100 percent not to get hurt.”

He died exactly one month later, after the SUV turned into his path.

Both parents—divorced for some years, but close friends still—blame the state’s new helmet law.

“When they changed that law, I thought it was stupid. I didn’t know it would affect me like it has,” Karl Pohl says. “He very well may have survived that crash.”

Adds Scott’s mother, Linda Doyle, “The worst pain in the world is losing your children.”

There is a reason she said “children.”

‘An all-American kid’

Karl Pohl taught physical education in Fowlerville schools until his body was overtaken by the rheumatoid arthritis that gnarled his hands. A related bone infection claimed his right leg below the knee. He retired due to his disabilities.

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