Motorcycle Crash


The date of this crash is November 1, 2005.  While this initially looked like a Getty station, intersection of Long Lane and PA 72, just north of Lebanon, PA, the still photos have a background that differs from the video.  Yet from the shadows, both views are facing west.  Strangely enough, this means that the direction of both vehicles was the same had this been the site of the crash!

Since it could have happened here, we can use the video and the photos to reconstruct the crash.  From the video, the rider was northbound in a 40 mph speed zone approaching an intersection with a traffic light.  Note from the photos that the rider was going uphill and visibility was limited.  Southbound was a car making a left turn into the gas station; this driver was approaching from the other side of the hill and visibility was limited.

Study the movie and photos carefully.  It is not important to figure out who was at fault.  If we crash, we get hurt.  Instead, try to select a strategy that will prevent such a crash.  My take:  If I'm approaching an intersection with a gas station to my left and my visibility is less because of a hill, I can guess that I may miss traffic either entering or exiting the station.  SLOW DOWN!  Cover the controls and be ready to brake or swerve.

Here's a wide angle shot looking west, from the same vantage point of the video of the crash.

Here's a view of the intersection looking west, taken by moving directly south from the first photo.

Here's what the southbound driver saw approaching the station.  I took this from my Ford Explorer, so I'm seated higher up than the car in the video.

Here's a picture of the last thing the rider saw looking northbound.  I double checked; posted speed limit here is 40 mph.  You can judge from the video whether excess speed was involved.  I can tell you from riding this road that 50 mph (or more) is nominal.

Left turning cars in front of motorcycles are one of the most common problems that we face.  A public safety video from New York state demonstrates this fact.  The MSF as an excellent video on sharing the road.

Want to avoid such unpleasantries?  Turn on your radar!