Fatal motorway collision
All images used in this article are general images and do not represent the actual accident described.
I was in the pub a couple of days ago accompanying my partner on a reunion with her old work mates. After a short time the conversation somehow got around to motorbikes. In particular a sad story of one of their colleagues who had unfortunately been killed on his bike. He was according to them an experienced rider who had been riding for many years. I asked how the accident had happened.
He was riding on a motorway, I believe in good conditions when for reasons unknown the traffic in front of him came to a sudden stop. He then also stopped behind the stationary car in front of him. Unfortunately the driver of the lorry still travelling at speed some distance behind him was texting on his mobile and did not see that the vehicles in front were stopped.
You can imagine what happened next. The resulting collision killed the motorcyclist instantly. I guess the driver was rightly prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving but that won’t bring back the biker.
This accident was clearly the lorry drivers “fault” but is there anything the biker could have done?
On the face of it, it seems not. He was stationary minding his own business and then unexpectedly hit from behind. However I think that better situational awareness and defensive riding could have possibly avoided this collision. The rider should have been aware of the vehicles behind him, especially as the traffic in front stopped suddenly and unexpectedly. He should have at least checked his mirrors to make sure the traffic behind was slowing. Another thing would be to use the motorcycle to its advantage and as the traffic slows. Don’t stop behind the vehicle at the back of the queue. As soon as you can, begin carefully filtering through the slow moving or stationary traffic. This means that you are no longer at the back of the queue and puts a safety buffer between you and the lorry or any vehicle that fails to stop. It won’t prevent the accident, the lorry will still hit the queue of cars but you won’t be there.
Be sure to watch out for vehicles changing lanes in the queue ahead of you or, when its stationary people opening doors to get out and see what’s going on and as a general rule don’t filter at more than 15mph faster than the vehicles you are passing. There are risks to be taken into account when filtering but it’s better than being rear ended by a 40 ton truck! And you are making forward progress. Remember to use every advantage a motorcycle gives you.
Do you have any riding tips to share?
Please share them with everybody on ridetalkshare.com it may just save a life!