Riding: When Bad Luck Becomes Worst Luck

Sometimes, an accident is just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In Peoria Thursday, a pickup truck rear-ended a motorcyclist and pinned him beneath a second pickup. In a strange repeat of a Utah accident, the bike caught fire and bystanders ran to lift the pickup off the motorcyclist and drag him to safety. It was last reported he is in critical condition. Like the Utah rider, he was not wearing a helmet.

Today the news broke the pickup driver may have had a seizure behind the wheel. It’s hard to say how this would have been avoided. There’s no clear exit for the motorcyclist, no steering clear or something like that. It’s one of those things that just happens, and it happened to be a motorcycle.

However, I see the pickup driver was also cited for operating an uninsured motor vehicle. That’s bullshit. It doesn’t matter whether he hit a motorcyclist or another car, he caused a lot of damage to two vehicles, severely injured someone, and could have done a lot worse. Now the victims are left on the hook for their vehicle and medical bills, and have to either deal with their own insurance companies (and take hits on premiums) or try to sue the pickup driver. It’s insult to injury.

I rode my own bike through Peoria after midnight last night. I still had no fear, but these things serve to heighten awareness. I checked my mirror a lot more often than usual, and I recalled my MSF lessons about always leaving an escape. For example, don’t ride up on someone’s bumper or stop in the center of the lane, because it’s going to be much harder—if not impossible—to slip out on one side if you see a rear-end collision coming. I also try to stay in gear at stop lights so I can get moving in a hurry.

Would I have avoided a collision like this? Maybe, maybe not. But we should all do our best to keep our skills sharp and minimize our risk.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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