I was eastbound on Arapaho in the right-hand lane approaching the light at Jupiter today when I had to groan again, “Oh shit.”
It is a helpless feeling...knowing what is going to happen and also knowing there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. One of the freedoms...and liabilities we riders face is that when we are actually riding, we are truly on our own. It is sad that I have seen enough of this that I do not even get excited anymore...but I do still get that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.
As I was approaching the light (it was red in my direction) a sport-bike motorcycle that was northbound on Jupiter turned right (eastbound) onto Arapaho. He did it correctly, turning from the right lane into the right lane.
At about the same moment a car that was southbound on Jupiter turned left (eastbound) onto Arapaho also. She turned into the left lane, but immediately crossed the middle lane and entered the right lane. They were both close (or in) the yellow light, as my light changed green immediately after they connected. I could not see their lights…but I am pretty sure they both had green or yellow (she did not have an arrow) as I go through that light daily and that would be it’s typical cycle, but it really is not relevant. She impacted him when she changed lanes into an occupied lane, not in the intersection.
They impacted just about front wheel to front wheel. The zip-splat cartwheeled, end-overing at least twice as the rider went flying.
He lives. He was conscious and coherent, but not moving. He could move his fingers and toes…I suspect that the worst of his injuries is a banged up shoulder. We had to wiggle him just a bit (careful not to move his head), as he was lying on the hot concrete (it was sunny and 103 today). I suspect the concrete was at least 135+ degrees, and he was lying on his bare right arm. We edged a towel under the arm so he hopefully does not have severe burns along with whatever other injuries he received. EMS responded within 8 minutes…one advantage of technology is that at least 5 people were on the scene calling for help on cell phones.
The cage driver was a cute, petite oriental lady…probably in her late 20’s or early 30’s. Did not talk to her, I arrived on the scene on my motorcycle, and I am a large guy. She saw me get off the bike and stayed well on the other side of her car until the police got there…though she really had nothing to fear from me. She did not intentionally run over the guy, and did stop immediately. Accidents do happen.
The zip-splat rider was a young man. I talked to him briefly, just to let him know we were there and help was on the way, and to help get the towel under his arm.
A couple things saved the rider...
First of all it was not a heavy impact. She side-swiped him, but they were not moving very fast at the time. Second, he was wearing a helmet. I saw his helmeted head solidly thunk the pavement. I am not preachy…but without the helmet, that would have been the end for him. Oh, and third, the bike narrowly missed coming down on top of him in the last cartwheel. A 400-pound bike landing on your butt from a 4-foot drop is enough to ruin anybody’s day.
But he wore a helmet. He lived. Good man.
What can we learn from this?
This is the cage’s fault… but I believe a more experienced rider would have avoided this accident. Of course, we all have to get experience…we are not born with it after-all.
Had he kept sight of the turning car, he could have out-accelerated or out-braked her and avoided the contact. He also could have taken the bike in a hard turn onto the sidewalk or fast-food place’s parking lot as the entrance was to his immediate right. Problem was he saw her coming too late (I clearly saw the moment he knew what was coming).
Install loud horns on your motorcycle. The cage driver was not intending to run into the guy…a loud beep in time would have probably warned her and avoided the contact.
As for cage drivers, do not change lanes without clearing them first. This applies to all traffic situations. If you need to cross three lanes, do not take a peek and then cross all three lanes, enter one, look again, enter the next, and so on. I cannot even count the number of times I have almost been whacked on the freeway by some moron that changes 3 or 4 lanes at a time.
I hope the guy is ok…he will live to tell the tale…but I hope he rides again. His bike looked pretty good….I expect I will hear, as the police have me down as a witness.
You folks be careful out there...