Dan Haeberlin has been in a few motorcycle wrecks over the years, including one Monday with a deer that left him with a broken collarbone and a badly damaged Harley Davidson Dyna Super Glide.
The 47-year-old Richland man says he's lucky because he walked away without more serious injuries each time.
"I'm here," he said Tuesday while recuperating at his sister's house. "The bike can be replaced."
He says the gear he was wearing -- a proper helmet, a leather jacket and leather chaps -- prevented him from being hurt more seriously. He wants other motorcycle riders to remember to wear proper gear when they're out on the road.
"Get rid of those toy helmets. Wear your gear. Be smart," he said.
The wreck Monday happened near Murray, Idaho, while Haeberlin was riding back from a Fourth of July celebration with family in Montana.
A deer -- he estimates it was between 120 and 150 pounds -- darted out in front of his bike.
"He just ran out," he recalled.
Haeberlin, who was with a group of other motorcycle riders including his brother-in-law, slid about 200 feet on the road. A photo taken of his helmet after the crash shows deep scratches.
He suffered a broken collarbone and bruised kidneys and ribs in the wreck.
The deer was killed.
It wasn't Haeberlin's only close call. In 2005, he side-swiped a bear on another motorcycle trip. Not long after that, he T-boned a truck that had run a stop sign, he said.
"Every time I was wearing the same gear," he said. "You've got to accept the risk and responsibility (of riding). Be aware."
In Washington, motorcycle riders are required by law to wear helmets that are certified by the manufacturer as meeting federal Department of Transportation standards, according to the Washington State Patrol. The helmets have an inner foam lining that's typically about an inch thick, a sticker on the back and labeling on the inside with manufacturing information, the state patrol said.
* Sara Schilling: 509-582-1402; firstname.lastname@example.org