Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

One of the deadliest stretches of road in our city will see radical changes beginning today. According to The Oregonian automated speed cameras “will be activated along the 3/4 –mile stretch of Southeast Division Street between 148th and 162nd avenues.” This comes just four days after the city council voted to lower the speed limit along a broader stretch of the road, running from Southeast 87th Avenue to 154th Avenue.

While the speed limit cameras have been in the works for some time (a state law approving their use was passed in 2015) the choice of Southeast Division as the site for one of the first sets installed is evidence of how much of a problem this stretch of road has become. Last week The Oregonian quoted Dan Saltzman, the City Commissioner who oversees the Portland Transportation Bureau, referring to Southeast Division as “a death corridor.” The newspaper noted that of Portland’s 44 traffic fatalities last year five took place on this one stretch of road. The 2016 tally of fatal Portland auto accidents was the highest since 2003, and the concentration of so many deaths in such a small area made a strong case for action.

According to KGW the city transportation division “used a little-known state law to enable the Portland City Commission to quickly lower the speed limit. Commissioners used their emergency safety authority to reduce the speed limit with Thursday’s vote.” Normally it is state officials who control the setting and changing of speed limits. The move drops the speed limit in the area from 35 mph to 30 mph, but it is only effective for 120 days. Saltzman and other city officials said the statistics along Southeast Division cried out for immediate action. The city government hopes state officials will move to make the new lower limit permanent before the four-month measure expires and are preparing to file required paperwork requesting the change.

An Oregon motorcycle crash that also involved a pickup truck left a Monmouth man dead over the weekend, according to a report in this morning’s Oregonian. The newspaper reports that the man “died Sunday morning in a collision between a pickup truck and a motorcycle on Oregon 51 north of Independence.”

The victim, age 22 according to the newspaper, “struck the right front side of the truck and crashed through (its) windshield” when the driver of the truck, a 77-year-old man, “attempted to turn his truck left into a driveway.” The paper also reports that witnesses say neither the motorcycle nor the truck appeared to be speeding at the time of the Oregon motorcycle accident. Although an investigation of the fatal crash is still underway, the newspaper cites police sources saying they believe alcohol was not involved in the Sunday morning accident. Both men were airlifted to Salem Memorial Hospital, according to The Oregonian, where the motorcycle rider was pronounced dead and the driver of the truck remains in critical condition.

Based on these details, what we appear to see here is a straightforward case of poor driving, the sort of accident that happens every day in every American city, and which is all the more tragic because it is so easily avoidable.

A recent article in The Oregonian offered the following somewhat surprising revelation: despite deaths from motorcycle crashes having “more than doubled since the mid-1990s” several major motorcycle-focused lobbying groups are advocating for fewer regulations and less enforcement concerning helmets.

The paper writes that lobbyists and their congressional allies want the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to be “blocked from providing any more grants to states to conduct highway stops of motorcyclists to check for safety violations such as the wearing of helmets that don’t meet federal standards.”

Even more shockingly, “the rider groups are seeking to preserve what essentially is a gag rule that since 1998 has prevented the agency from advocating safety measures at the state and local levels, including helmet laws.” The article notes that the gag rule is supported both by grassroots-based riders groups and by lobbyists working for motorcycle makers. It is surprising to learn that just 19 states require all motorcycle riders to wear helmets – though also a relief to find that Oregon is one of them. Even more surprising, however, is the revelation that state legislatures have been rolling back helmet laws for years. The article notes that in the late 70s all but three states required everyone on a motorcycle to be wearing a helmet.

A young child (his exact age was not released by police) was injured in a Salem motorcycle accident involving a pick-up truck earlier this month, according to Salem-News.com.

I have highlighted the dangers of injuries to Oregon children from ATV accidents in previous blogs. The details of this incident – which involved a dirt bike, rather than an ATV, are, however, a reminder that children far too young to drive can be found operating motorized vehicles and that without the exercise of extreme caution tragedy can result in an instant.

According to the newspaper, the accident began with the boy “riding on dirt trails on his grandparents’ property.” The trail in question was apparently next to the road. Though accompanied by his mother, the child “suddenly drove into the roadway in front of the truck.” The Oregon motorcycle accident took place when the child’s dirt bike was struck by a pick-up truck traveling east on Lakeside Drive in Salem. The paper quotes both witnesses to the Oregon child accident and the driver of the truck telling police that “there was no way for the driver to avoid hitting the child.” The paper reports that there is no indication that the driver was “impaired.”

A recent Oregon motorcycle crash left a Salem man hospitalized in critical condition, according to The Oregonian.

The newspaper reports the accident took place in Aurora at the junction of Oregon Route 551 and Ehlen Road. Quoting a press release from law enforcement officials, the paper says the Aurora motorcycle accident took place when the rider, who was obeying relevant traffic signals, entered the intersection and “was immediately hit by a 2006 Toyota Scion” whose driver “was turning left from eastbound Ehlen Road onto northbound Oregon 551.”

The motorcycle rider was airlifted to the Oregon Health and Science University Hospital by helicopter. The driver of the Toyota “was transported by ambulance to Legacy Meridian Park Hospital with minor injuries. He has been cited for careless driving and taking a dangerous left turn,” the paper reports.

A Clatsop County court has convicted a 45-year old Portland man in a case stemming from a fatal drunk driving car crash last year, according to The Oregonian.

The case of Ken Middleton’s Portland fatal car crash is particularly shocking not only because of the sheer amount of alcohol he consumed in the hours leading up to the accident, but also because he got behind the wheel so completely intoxicated despite having his own 13-year-old daughter riding with him. The Daily Astorian reported that Middleton, at his trial, “admitted he had consumed at least 12 beers that day.” His daughter, mercifully, “suffered only minor injuries,” according to The Oregonian.

In addition to Oregon drunk driving Middleton was convicted of manslaughter, second-degree assault and three counts of reckless endangering, The Oregonian reports. The manslaughter charge stems from the death of Andrew Church, a motorcyclist whom Middleton struck head on when he drifted over the centerline as he and his daughter drove along US-30 in Astoria last May.

In a scenario that reads like a scene from a movie or television show, a 19-year-old motorcycle rider was arrested Friday at the end of a high-speed chase near Salem. According to The Oregonian, the chase included a dramatic Oregon motorcycle and car crash that, miraculously, left no one injured.

The incident began when a Marion County sheriffs’ deputy saw a lone motorcyclist zoom past him at 112 miles per hour. According to the Salem Statesman-Journal, the officer chased the motorcyclist southbound on I-5 at speeds as high as 125 miles per hour but eventually relented for fear of endangering other drivers. When the biker tried to exit at Mission Street SE, however, he lost control of his motorcycle and was hurled off the bike as it careened off-road. The riderless motorcycle then slammed into a car as the rider attempted to flee on foot, according to The Oregonian.

By an extraordinary stroke of luck neither the biker nor the driver of the car his motorcycle hit was injured. Once apprehended the 19-year-old suspect was charged with a long list of offenses: “reckless driving, attempting to elude police, hit-and-run, driving without insurance and failing to have a motorcycle endorsement, as well as several citations,” the Statesman-Journal reported. The rider, according to The Oregonian, later told police he fled from them because he wanted to avoid getting “another” speeding ticket.

Portland-area drivers on I-205 near Gladstone were delayed for hours last Thursday as police closed the road in both directions to investigate the circumstances surrounding a serious Oregon motorcycle crash, according to The Oregonian.

Media reports emphasize that the investigation into the accident and its exact circumstances is still in progress, but some basic details are clear. According to the Portland Tribune, the accident took place Thursday afternoon when a motorcycle that was headed north on the interstate “collided with a vehicle, throwing the rider into a southbound lane.”

This accident highlights the special dangers motorcyclists face on our roads. Despite advances in safety gear, such as helmets, Oregon motorcyclists remain far more likely than car drivers or passengers to die or suffer serious injury as the result of an Oregon motorcycle accident while operating their vehicle.

Alcohol-related Oregon fatal car accidents and holiday weekends seem to have a grim connection. As the Daily Astorian notes, Memorial Day has long been the holiday weekend in Oregon most closely associated with alcohol-related fatalities. This year is no exception. According to the newspaper an Oregon drunk driver strayed over the center line of Highway 30 just east of Astoria Sunday night, striking a motorcyclist nearly head-on.

The motorcycle rider, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown from his bike and killed. Both the alleged drunk driver and his 13-year old daughter who was riding in the truck with him were uninjured. The Oregonian, quoting Oregon State Police, reported that the truck driver was arrested and charged with drunk driving, reckless driving, manslaughter and recklessly endangering another person (this is presumably a reference to the child in the truck).

Unmentioned by the media, but also worth considering as we think through the legal implications of this tragic Oregon fatal motorcycle accident, is where the alleged driver obtained his alcohol. If a bartender continued to serve the suspect or a store clerk sold him alcohol after he was obviously drunk that person too could be subject to legal action.

Traffic was backed up for miles on Interstate 5 on Friday following an Oregon traffic accident involving several motorcycles. The riders belong to the Brother Speed outlaw motorcycle club.

The Oregon motorcycle accident happened as approximately 26 riders, traveling in the left lane and following a car, were forced to slow down because traffic ahead had slowed down. Unfortunately, several of the motorcycles collided with one another, causing a pileup on the road. A vehicle in one of the lanes also hit one of the motorcycles.

Two riders sustained critical injuries. They were flown to Portland hospitals. Seven other traffic crash victims were driven to hospitals for hip injuries, shoulder injuries, and broken bones.

With so many vehicles involved, it can be difficult to determine who was liable for causing the Oregon motorcycle collision without the help of an experienced Oregon personal injury lawyer.

Getting thrown off a motorcycle can lead to serious injuries and the rider’s helmet and protective gear are often not enough to prevent serious injury or death. Hospital expenses and rehabilitation costs for motorcycle injuries can start to add up, and a Portland, Oregon motorcycle accident lawyer can make sure that you receive your financial recovery.

Motorcycle accidents can result in broken bones, burn injuries, paralysis, other spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and wrongful death.

Protective steps motorcyclists can take to avoid getting involved in traffic accidents with other motorcycles or vehicles:

• Watch out for possible hazards.
• Make sure you are visible to other drivers and riders.
• Make sure that you can see the other vehicles and pedestrians around you.
• Make sure that there is enough stopping distance between you and other vehicles. This will vary depending on how fast you are going.
• Always pay attention to the vehicles in front of and around you.
• Pass other vehicles carefully.

26 Brother Speed motorcycles crash on I-5; traffic back, Oregon Live, September 18, 2009
Multiple motorcycle accident closes I-5, Newberg Graphic, September 18, 2009
Related Web Resources:
The Hurt Report

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

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