On Friday night, well-known motorcyclist Don Tilley died in a crash on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Mile Post 394. According to WLOS ABC News Channel 13, the wreck happened sometime around 8:00 p.m. His passenger and wife, Robinette, was critically injured and rushed to Mission Hospital. For currently unknown reasons, their motorcycle left the roadway and crashed into an embankment.

Community Members and Friends Mourn

The loss of Don Tilley, of Tilley Harley-Davidson in Statesville and Salisbury, has hit the local, racing and motorcycle communities hard. Described as an icon in the industry, his loss is being mourned by friends and admirers in the community. NASCAR driver Kyle Petty even expressed his condolences on this Twitter account.

Continuing Investigation

At the time of the crash, the Tilley’s were riding with other motorcyclists, but there’s still no word on why the motorcycle left the roadway and struck the embankment. The seemingly inexplicable crash is still under investigation with the U.S. Park Service’s Traffic Safety Unit and the Asheville Police Department. Investigators on the scene collected evidence and took field sketches and photos to help determine what happened. Apparently, this portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway is notorious for crashes.

Motorcycle Crash Facts

  • Between 2001 and 2008, over 34,000 motorcyclists were killed in crashes across the U.S.
  • During that same time period, an estimated 1,222,000 people were treated for injuries due to motorcycle crashes.
  • Over half of all non-fatal injuries were to the leg/foot or head/neck.
  • Motorcyclist death rates increased 55 percent from 2001 to 2008.

Motorcycle Safety in North Carolina

If law enforcement officials are continuing to see crashes on a particular stretch of roadway, it’s time to take a closer look. Improving motorcyclist safety should be a top priority in North Carolina. Safety gear and safe riding practices can only go so far, so drivers need to “Share the Road” too.

At this time, there’s no word on the Robinette Tilley’s condition or the extent of her injuries. The team at Davis Law Group, P.A. sends their deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Don Tilley, and wishes a speedy and full recovery to his wife, Robinette.