BADD Makes The First Page In Key West

BADD is finally setup in Key West and ready to roll.   Group helps drunk-driving victims By JOHN L. GUERRA Citizen Staff<b\> A drunk driver in a pickup truck weaves into incoming traffic, knocking a motorcyclist and his machine into the air. More than a hundred feet down the lane, the biker lands in a bone-crunching thud on the road surface, rolling and flipping like a rag doll. The pickup driver doesn’t even slow, unaware that he’s probably killed a man. If the drunk driver gets away and if the biker survives the crash, the victim must rely on his own motor vehicle or health insurance or cash to pay for his ambulance ride, emergency room care, surgeries, and long rehabilitation. If he loses his legs, who pays for his prosthesis? His mortgage, rent, groceries, and other bills he’ll not be able to pay without working? Meet an organization — soon to be based in Key West — that provides financial and legal help to motorcyclists seriously hurt by drunk drivers. “Our mission is to create an emergency fund for victims of drunk drivers while they await other compensation or where no other compensation is forthcoming,” said Lynn Ricks the president of Bikers Against Drunk Drivers (BADD). “We’ve helped pay for injured bikers to travel to get their skin grafts, helped another man in Canada pay for high-quality prosthetic legs. The insurance company was going to give him these plastic ‘Barbie doll’ legs. We got him $13,000 for titanium legs that work much, much better.” The Canada-formed group, which launched in 1986, will open a chapter in Key West on Duval Street in the next several months. Victims must present a police report of the incident and must not have been drinking before the accident. BADD evaluates how much they’ll pitch in for a victim based on the circumstances. The national organization, headquartered in Daytona, also operates a nationwide awareness program to teach automobile drivers how not to hit motorcyclists. “They don’t see us because they’re not looking,” Ricks said. “Florida has its ‘watch out for motorcycles’ programs, but more and more kids are getting their drivers licenses. It’s about teaching people to keep their eyes open.” Why form a chapter in Key West? “We want to be in every corner of Florida. Plus there’s the excessive drinking and a major amount of bikers, scooter drivers and bicyclists in this town. There were two deaths in recent days from accidents.” The organization, which is largely sponsored by the Hard Rock CafĂ© on Duval Street, will be offering chances to win combinations of classic Harley-Davidsons and vintage pickup trucks, including a 1937 Ford, a 1938 Hudson Terraplane, and a Ford Cobra/Harley ensemble. He’s still making arrangements with the city of Key West to park the beauties along Duval Street for display. BADD officials will be selling raffle tickets to passersby on the street in the next week to raise money for their nonprofit and to tell people about their group. They extend help to car drivers hurt by drunk drivers, too, and will help various Key West nonprofits with their projects, Ricks said. “When the shelters need something we’re here for them,” he said. “If a fire breaks out leaving a family or group without a home, we’ll help. We’re not exclusive to victims of drunk driving.” Raffle tickets are $1 each. Reach the BADD headquarters in Daytona at 844-529-BADD or visit https://www.baddcentral.com for more information. jguerra@keysnews.com