Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Four killed in three separate motorcycle crashes

Story Created: Sep 15, 2009 at 9:09 AM MDT
By KBCI Web Staff (

BOISE - Monday was a deadly day on Idaho roads and highways throughout the state for motorcyclists.

Four people were killed, including two from Boise, in three separate crashes.

The first crash, Idaho State Police says, occurred on Highway 55 near Banks. Police say Richard Schroeder, 63, of Halfway, Ore., was traveling southbound when he failed to negotiate a left curve and was ejected from his motorcycle. The man, who was wearing a helmet, ended up down a 30-foot embankment and into the Payette River.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities also responded to motorcycle crash near the Idaho, Oregon border. They say Eric Shink, 40, of Kennewick, Wash., was headed eastbound on Interstate 84 when he struck a guard rail and was ejected from his motorcycle.

Shink, who was wearing a helmet, was pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol and speed are believed to have been factors in the crash.

The third crash, Idaho State Police says, occurred about 18 miles from Stanley on Highway 75. Officials say an Idaho Transportation Department employee was doing routine maintenance on the highway when he saw two people and a motorcycle on the bank of the Salmon River.

Authorities say Ronald and Sharon Weber, of Boise were riding a motorcycle when for unknown reasons, they drifted off the right shoulder and down a 90-foot embankment. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in the crash.

Lessons Learned

Motorcycles are inherently dangerous.

I know that's a controversial over-simplification, especially coming from an enthusiastic motorcyclist, but it's a fact we have to face. A motorcyclist simply cannot make a mistake.

Automobiles allow a generous leeway for mistakes. The operator is surrounded by steel and buffered with restraints and air pillows.

A motorcyclist is surrounded by environment and free of any restraints.

The motorcyclists who were ejected from his motorcycle would not have gained any protection if they had managed to stay astride their rides...being ejected from a motorcycle means little during a crash. Wearing a helmet does little good when the wearer ends up at the bottom of a 30-foot embankment and into a river.

What mistakes were made?

Failure to negotiate a curve means excessive speed and inattention.

Striking a guard rail means excessive speed and inattention...probably due to alcohol in this instance.

It's more difficult to identify a cause for the couple who drifted off the road and down an embankment. Riding two up requires extra of balance changes make steering more difficult. Falling asleep is a real danger on big bikes...they are so much more comfortable and smooth running. The operator may have experienced a medical emergency...heart attack? It could have been as innocent as spying a deer on the side of the road, causing a distraction, allowing the bike to drift onto the shoulder of the road, and riding two up could make it difficult to correct.

Riding a motorcycle requires a commitment to skill and attention, far more than that required to operate an automobile.