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Big Ben to be cited for riding without helmet, permit

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did
not have a valid motorcycle license when he crashed into a woman's
car last week, and the driver, who will be cited for failing to
yield, has received threatening phone calls.

Roethlisberger will be issued $388 in fines and fees for riding
without a license and not wearing a helmet, police Collision
Investigator Dan Connolly said Monday. Only licensed motorcyclists
are allowed to ride bareheaded in Pennsylvania, with certain
restrictions.

The Super Bowl champion quarterback rammed his Suzuki Hayabusa
into a woman's Chrysler New Yorker on June 12 when she was making a
left turn in front of him. Both had the green light.

Roethlisberger underwent seven hours of surgery to repair broken
jaws and other facial bones. Tests showed no brain injuries,
although he had a mild concussion; he also lost two teeth and
chipped several others.

"I think because of Mr. Roethlisberger's size and his athletic
ability and the fact that he works out as a professional athlete
had a huge part in the fact that he's still with us," Connolly
said.

The woman, who will be cited for failing to yield to oncoming
traffic and fined $106.50, has received threatening phone calls
since the accident, Police Chief Dominic Costa said. She filed a
police report and the calls were being investigated.

Roethlisberger was traveling at the speed limit in a posted 35 mph
zone, but he braked and hit the car at a slower speed, he said, and
there were no mechanical problems with either vehicle. Both will be
sent summary citations.

To obtain a motorcycle license in Pennsylvania, riders must
first get a learner's permit, which requires a $10 fee, a vision
screening and a written test. The permit is valid for one year,
during which a road test must be passed to obtain a full motorcycle
license.

Only after two years of possessing a valid license is riding
without a helmet allowed; that restriction is waived if the rider
takes an approved safety course.

Police did not have any contact with Steelers officials during
the investigation, Connolly said.

"This was no different than any other crash," Connolly said.
"We found our determinations and determined that the parties
needed to be cited and that's what we're doing."

In an interview with ESPN radio Monday morning, coach Bill
Cowher said there is no way of knowing what effect Roethlisberger's
injuries would have on his playing ability.

"That's the thing we have to be very sensitive to and we have
to make sure that we monitor -- and we'll do that," Cowher said.
"We'll work with the doctors. We'll talk to him."

He did not criticize Roethlisberger for not wearing a helmet,
something he had done last year.

"I think it would be very unfair, and I think it's really
irrelevant, to be judgmental about the accident itself," Cowher
said.

"Sometimes with the lessons of life, you have to get knocked
down before you get back up," Cowher said. "He's just very
fortunate. This was one of those lessons that could have been
devastating. It could have been a very tragic story."

Roethlisberger was discharged Wednesday night from Mercy
Hospital and apologized to the team, his fans and family in a
statement. He also said that he would wear a helmet if he rode
a motorcycle again.

Police on Monday declined to reveal the name of the driver of
the car, citing the threats. Her husband has said she felt terrible about the accident.