Friday, October 2, 2009
Two victims died when their motorcycle was struck by a sport utility vehicle (SUV) on Highway 97, north of Chiloquin.
The 63-year old driver of the SUV was northbound and attempted to pass a truck. Moving out to the left lane to pass, he crashed head-on into the southbound motorcycle. Both riders of the motorcycle were ejected and died at the scene.
The motorcycle operator was male, age 65...the passenger was male, age 49. Both were wearing helmets.
The driver of the SUV suffered minor injuries...his passenger was transported by air ambulance with serious injuries.
Unforeseen and unpreventable.
I've critiqued motorcycle-related accidents before in this blog, and I usually can point out at least one defensive riding tactic that relates to the incident...but not this time.
From the news article it seems clear that the motorcyclists were blameless. A two-lane highway provides separation between opposing vehicle traffic only by painted lines and driver skill and attention...it wasn't sufficient for these two motorcyclists.
The riders could be faultlessly alert and skillful, yet be killed by an inattentive or impaired driver who crosses the centerline directly in front of them.
So, no lesson to learn?
I take from this tragedy a reminder of two things:
One, we are not ultimately in complete control of our lives.
Two, ride with the expectation that the oncoming traffic is unstable:
Motorcycles by design and definition are unable to compete on equal grounds with all other traffic, except bicyclists and pedestrians. We can decide to never ride a motorcycle, or we can take all reasonable precautions and ride skillfully and defensively...
...and take our chances.