Saturday, September 19, 2009

State Police Video Catches Motorcycle Crash

An Oregon State Police (OSP) in-car video of an incident that happened June 18, 2009, is being released after a motorcycle operator pled guilty to Careless Driving when he lost control and separated from his motorcycle. The in-car video caught the sliding motorcycle and rolling operator as both passed the trooper's stopped patrol car along Interstate 84 in The Dalles.

(Note: audio is unavailable for first 30 seconds of video. At about six seconds into the video, the motorcycle slides into view from the far left of the frame.)

On June 18, 2009 at 7:18 a.m. OSP Senior Trooper Michael Holloran was sitting in his stopped OSP patrol car on the right eastbound shoulder of Interstate 84 near milepost 85 writing information in his notebook. With the patrol car's radar unit on, Holloran heard an approaching fast vehicle and began to look in the side mirror when he saw a motorcycle lose control. The motorcycle dropped onto its side and the operator went down onto the pavement as the radar unit obtained a speed of 85 mph.

The sliding motorcycle and rolling operator both went past the stationary patrol car and surprised trooper. Shortly after the motorcycle's operator, KENNETH CARL THEIMAN JR., age 31, from Dallesport, Washington, stopped rolling, Holloran got out of the patrol car and ran up to help THEIMAN as he was picking himself up off the pavement.

THEIMAN told Holloran that he was surprised how quickly things happened when he lost control of the motorcycle. THEIMAN thought his speed was about 85 mph when he lost control.

THEIMAN was transported by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, mostly abrasions. He was wearing a protective helmet.

Holloran cited THEIMAN for Careless Driving and he pled guilty in Wasco County Circuit Court.


Lesson Learned

The motorcyclist says that he looked up just before the crash, implying that he wasn't scanning the road ahead. He probably jerked his arms in surprise and panic, throwing him off-balance.

What can help?
Scan: search aggressively for potential hazards (parked policeman?)

Target fixation: the machine will go where your eyes are focused. Scan and identify a hazard, but put your focus on your intended path.
Protective gear: the rider rolled at least three times in the video...probably at least that many times before he entered the view of the camera. He ended up conscious, alert and basically unhurt, with helmet still secure, after a crash at about 85 miles per hour.

How much skin are you willing to lose? Boots, gloves and jacket saved this fellow's skin and presumeably good looks, and the helmet protected his presumeably intelligent brain.

Speed: posted speed limit in this incident was 65 miles per hour. If you're going to violate the speed limit, at least be extra observant and alert. If you'd rather relax and enjoy the ride, stick to the speed limit.