Motorcycle safety instructor dies in crash
Aug. 4, 2012 at 3:04 a.m.
Updated Aug. 5, 2012 at 3:05 a.m.
It was the trip of a lifetime.
Merlyn Hartman, 71, of Victoria started for Alaska on July 13, riding his 2003 Goldwing 1800, candy-apple red.
But he would never make it home.
Three weeks into his trip, Hartman died in a motorcycle accident Tuesday in Chetwynd, British Columbia.
"My husband always told me, if he was ever killed on a motorcycle that he was doing just what he wanted to do," his wife, Alyce Hartman said.
She found out about the accident when a sheriff deputy came to her door Tuesday night.
"I knew what he was going to tell me," she said. "There was no other reason for a law enforcement officer to be on my doorstep. He said, 'May I come in?' And instead of saying yes, I said, 'Has my husband been killed?' And he said, 'May I come in?' And I said again, 'Has my husband been killed?' And he said, yes."
Alyce Hartman said speed was not a factor in the wreck, but Hartman lost control on a dangerous S-curve.
Hartman taught a motorcycle safety class at Victoria College and his wife said he was an advanced rider, competing and winning in international rallies. He had been riding since 1969.
Stephen Fuhrman, a close friend of Hartman's and a fellow instructor for the safety course, said Hartman was always trying to improve his riding.
"Merlyn and I, we shared a passion for that - for motorcycling in general and for teaching people how to do it properly," Furhman said. "It is all about saving lives and that is really what we embraced."
He was shocked when he got the news of Hartman's death.
"How could this have happened to someone with all of his skill and training?" he asked.
A native Victorian, Hartman was retired from Dow Chemical and loved to go on motorcycle rides with his wife and friends.
"The thing that comes to mind to me is free spirit," Alyce Hartman said of her husband. "As long as he was on the motorcycle he was happy, happy."
Chetwynd city officials were unavailable Saturday for more information about the crash.
Hartman's motto, his wife said, was "aggressively ride safe."