A pickup truck collided head-on with two parked Idaho State Motorcycle Patrol officers near Boise, Idaho, Thursday, October 22, 2009, at about 3:45 pm.
The motorcycle patrol officers were parked in the median of Interstate 84. The driver of a pickup left the highway and struck them head-on. News agencies are reporting that it may have been deliberate.
One officer was treated and released - the other remains in the hospital in serious condition.
No arrest has yet been made in the accident. The pickup driver, age between 20-30 years old, is being tested for presence of drugs or alcohol.
Stopping in the median or shoulder of a highway cannot be considered safe. It's entirely legal, and necessary at times, but it is not safe, not even for experienced motorcyclists.
A strong case could be made for saying that parked on the side of the road is more dangerous than riding in traffic. A parked motorcycle has no evasive capability, and the riders are not paying much attention to the traffic. In this instance, that inattention was tragic.
What to do?
Don't park alongside a busy roadway unless absolutely necessary. If at all possible, find a cross street, an exit ramp, a rest stop. This is especially important towards the end of the day, when the sun is low in the horizon, making it hard to see, or if the light is fading for the evening.
If you must stop alongside the road, watch oncoming traffic like a hawk...don't turn your back completely on them, glance up often and stay on the side of your bike that is away from traffic.
This crash could have been deliberate, but even if it were an accident, or the result of the pickup's equipment failure, or if the driver suffered a heart attack, the result would be the same.
Parking in the median or shoulder of a busy roadway is dangerous!