Monday, May 10, 2010

Motorcycle Crash: Eagle Creek

Motorcycle Crash: Eagle Creek

62-year-old man crashed his 1975 Harley Davidson, attempting to pass a turning vehicle on the right side. The motorcycle's front tire went off the abrupt pavement edge, flipping and ejecting the operator.

The motorcyclist was wearing a helmet, but received serious injuries and was transported by helicopter to the hospital.

Lessons Learned

Motorcyclists cannot be impatient. Any action based on a desire to save time, or for the sake of convenience, must raise a red flag of alert: SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT!

Passing on the right is illegal for a reason. It is an unexpected action, and it causes other vehicle operators to react unexpectedly. Even emergency vehicles, with the lawful right to pass on the right, have experienced crashes when the operator they are passing reacts unexpectedly, veering hard to the right just as the passing vehicle comes close.

In this instance, the right side of the highway was abruptly elevated above a steeply sloping embankment...there wasn't room for the motorcyclist to safely pass. Passing on the right requires the operator to maintain distance between two moving objects: the car on the left, and the embankment on the right.

Bottom line: stay calm, stay legal, and pass on the left.

The motorcycle crashed on May 2, 2010, at about 4 PM. This month is "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month", with Oregon joining with other federal, state and local highway safety and law enforcement organizations in a nationwide campaign designed to raise awareness about sharing the road with motorcyclists.

More information about "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month" is available on ODOT's website at

For more information about "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month", contact Christine Miles at (503) 969-1107.

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