Can Motorcycle Semi Truck Accidents Be Prevented?

It’s no secret that my job means that I see and go through some uncool things (like finding dead bodies). Being on the road all day driving to different jobs sites means that I deal with lunatics behind the wheel, too. But yesterday I saw something that really shook me up.

I was at a red light waiting. I saw a semi truck coming through the intersection on his green light. Right before the semi truck got into the intersection, a guy on a motorcycle turned directly in front of the semi truck.

MotorcyclesThe truck smashed the sh*t out of the guy. The guy flew through the air, literally like a rag doll.

When he landed on the ground, his legs were spread out, his arms were spread out, and his face was directly up. Not tilted in any direction, just straight up.

I got out of my truck and the guy had blood coming out of his eyes, out of his nose, his mouth, and his ears.

I saw this guy die.

The semi truck driver got out of his car, but I told him that the motorcyclist wasn’t alive and so he should probably wait in his truck. I did that because that semi truck driver just went through a pretty traumatic experience, too.

When the cops showed up, they felt the motorcyclists arm and his neck and then put a blue, plastic thing over the motorcyclists body. The motorcycle was wedged underneath the semi truck.

That semi truck was entering that intersection on a green light, going probably 50 mph, and that motorcyclist just had to get in front of him, had to make that turn just then.

I’m still shaken up by this, don’t know quite how to handle it.

I do wonder if it could have been prevented. Accidents do happen, though and they can’t all be prevented.


Drive right and don’t end up here

In this case, I feel like drivers in cars and trucks have to always be watching. Watching for motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians (my sister was on her bicycle and got hit by a car just last year! She was, luckily, entirely unharmed).

But drivers in cars and trucks have big blind spots. And motorcycles are small with no blind spots. I feel like people who drive motorcycles have to be careful, too. Don’t be a bad a*s, don’t “hot dog” it and weave in and out of traffic. Those cars are moving machines driven by non-computer human minds; they’re not stand-still objects that you have to just get around like in Frogger.

I’m not saying that motorcycle accidents are all the motorcyclists fault, I’m just sayin’ that cars have big blind spots and can’t stop or turn on a dime. Motorcycle drivers need to follow the rules of the road and not think they’re gonna beat out cars or trucks, or “slide right past them” because one false move, and …

and the motorcyclist is going to be the one who gets hurt. Or dies.


Drive carefully out there, you guys!! Don’t be in a rush! Take your time and don’t drive like a douche! And if you have a motorcycle, drive extra careful!! And here’s some motorcycle driving tips in case you need ’em.

Photo credits: Motorcycles, stretcher


Can Motorcycle Semi Truck Accidents Be Prevented? — 46 Comments

  1. Damn that’s f***ing harsh. Sorry you had to see something like that happen first hand. Motorcyclist often don’t seem to realize how vulnerable they are. Instead of being in a rush all the time, people just need to learn to use better judgement. One moment of recklessness and they can end up dead, we as well as traumatizing anyone who witnessed it.
    Modest Money recently posted..To Have or to Hold: The Pro and Cons of Investing in Real Estate (Either Directly or Indirectly)My Profile

    • It was really hard to see and it makes me wish more people had better judgement when they drove. Get there a few minutes late or not at all? That semi truck driver, he looked in shock, it’s traumatic for everyone,t hat’s for sure.

  2. Sorry you had to see that man. I love motorcycles but I know how dangerous they can be. I’ve always figured that if I am running late there is no point in trying to hurry because I’m already late, what’s an extra couple of minutes. Would rather be safe than sorry.
    DebtsnTaxes recently posted..Weekend TripMy Profile

    • I think it’s probably pretty hard to come upon people who have already died in an accident, too. It’s never easy having to see stuff like that, I agree.

  3. It sounds like you could potentially get wrapped up in yet another court case as a witness.

    If you are 100% sure you saw it as described you NEED to be a witness. And you probably need to make some notes and diagrams or recordings now (and email them to yourself to positively date them) to secure your memory and credibility as a witness a year from now. Being responsible or even partially responsible for a fatal accident while on the job could end a commercial drivers career forever. There will be no shortage of personal injury lawyers contacting the family of the deceased to help reassign some fault to the truck driver and trucking company.

    Crashes at controlled intersections open up all kinds of issues and interpretations for right of way, intersection design, traffic signal operation & standards, etc

    Anyways in a case as serious as this, if you were really right there and clearly saw everything, I think you have a responsibility to be a thorough well documented witness.

    On a lighter note, I think your blog is great!

    • You’re right, I should do that. If they do make me an official witness in a court case, it would help since it woudl all probably go down a long time from now, the court system being so slow. Man, I hope that semi driver’s career isn’t over, it wasn’t his fault! Thanks for the tip though on getting everything recorded or on paper.

  4. Oh my God, that’s horrible! I’ve never witnessed something like this, and can’t imagine what it would do to me. I hope you are able to find peace with this event at some point. Traumatizing experiences like this can haunt us for the longest time. How awful about the motorcylce driver. No doubt he had people that loved him, people who are horribly grief stricken.
    Plowing Through Life (Martha) recently posted..Today’s Tidbit – Celebrating All Things ‘Ginger’My Profile

  5. We saw the same thing a week ago except it wasn’t like what you went through – instead we simply saw the state police on the other side of the highway and a white blanket wrapped around what was obviously a body. And even though this was not nearly the same as what you went through, I thought that was bad enough – I grabbed my husband’s arm and said, “Oh, don’t look” when I realized what the white object was. Farther down the road, the highway was blocked by the police and there was a traffic back-up. Read the online newspaper when we got home and according to it, the young motorcyclist attempted to pass two vehicles at a high rate of speed. It’s horrible – alive one minute and not, the next. I’m not a motorcycle fan.
    444 recently posted..I said I would be backMy Profile

  6. Wow, I’m sorry that you had to see this! I agree with you-everyone needs to be more road aware. Some motorcyclists (not all but some) expect everyone to watch for them but don’t pay attention and some cars/trucks don’t pay attention to the motorcyclists. And some semi trucks don’t pay attention at all to their surroundings. I still suffer small panic attacks on bridges with multiple lanes and a semi is near me in the other one. (Bad weather was happening and the semi tried to get over into the lane I was in at the exact spot I was in. Having a fear of falling and hitting the sides of brdige didn’t really help but luckily no one was hurt in that accident.)
    bogofdebt recently posted..Seriously I hate my student loansMy Profile

    • I hear ya about that bridge thing. There’s no where to go if something happens! Sorry that happened to you — if everyone just had more awareness on the road, so many accidents could be avoided.

  7. Wow… I rode a motorcycle all through college and grad school. Thanks God I didn’t have any close calls (through no fault of my own… I was an idiot at times…). I dumped it once, slow speed, and just picked it up and kept going. But I lost a buddy to a motorcycle accident 8 years ago and another buddy is paralyzed from the chest down due to a motorcycle accident.

    There’s little you can do to cope with seeing something like that other than to know that it’s given you valuable information that could save your life or others in the future by talking about it. So the biker couldn’t save himself unfortunately, but may save others…

    The part that gets me personally about my buddy’s death is that he was riding with other friends for a long weekend. I was supposed to go but bailed. They all had sport bikes and I had a cruiser. If I had gone, I KNOW my buddy would not have been RIGHT THERE RIGHT THEN. So maybe if I had gone things would have turned out differently. But I don’t let that haunt me because I know that if it were his time to go, it would have happened then anyhow – just maybe not “right there.”
    Nick recently posted..I hope you really like Angry Birds….My Profile

    • Motorcycles are good for conserving gas and so it makes sense, espeically for young people getting started. But man, you do have to be careful. I’m sorry to hear about your buddies. Things might have turned out differently if you were there, but you can’t really know that and you can’t live thinking about “what if”, even though it’s hard. It’s good you don’t let it haunt you. Be careful out there if you still ride!

  8. I’m a former biker. Sold my Kawasaki Ninja last Thursday. Reading this made me glad I did. I had 16 accident-free years of riding. Didn’t want to push it.
    I found you on the Wednesday Blog Hop. Great idea, huh?
    virginia recently posted..Name That TuneMy Profile

    • Hey, congrats on selling that death trap, I mean, motorcycle. No but seriously, it’s awesome that you rode for so long and never had an accident! I wonder how many people are like you.

  9. Wow, what a tragedy. I saw motorcylicist flip over a car when I was a little girl.

    I’m so sorry to read what happened. Sometimes I think people let their egos, pride, or “it’s me and the road” mentality get in the way. That definitely could have been prevented. I can’t imagine how many lives it must have affected.

    Whether you are walking, running, jogging, or riding motorcycle be alert. Drivers have to be defensive drivers for a reason. But I’m sure in this incident there wasn’t much the truck driver could do to avoid the situation.
    Ornella @ Moneylicious recently posted..Why Life Insurance is More Important Than You ThinkMy Profile

    • That must’ve been traumatic to see as a child!

      Yeah, in this case I don’t think there was much the semi driver could do, but I agree, drivers need to be alert!

  10. Holy mackerel, TB! You’ve had one helluva last few weeks!

    One of my son’s best biker friends was sideswiped by a fifth-wheel that fishtailed as he was trying to pass it on a freeway. Mercifully he survived, but he was seriously injured — lost a kidney.

    That was when he discovered that his employer hadn’t been paying the company’s health-insurance premiums…

    The stupidest people inhabit the road. They’re completely unpredictable and some of them are downright vicious. Plus accidents happen, even without stupidity or orneriness.

    Godlmighty, yesterday I was flying up the freeway at 70 mph, just slightly over the limit, when a guy shot past me on a motorbike, with a hefty woman on the back. She had no helmet and no clothing to protect her arms or legs, and she wasn’t holding on. Not that holding on to the driver is gonna do you much good. But this character actually was waving her arms around.

    Looks to me like SwearJar’s right: you’ll be seeing some more of the inside of the courthouse. Sorry you’re having to get there through such gut-wrenching experiences!
    Funny about Money recently posted..Staying on Budget: Manually Track Credit-card ChargesMy Profile

    • Thanks, it sucks, but I guess you never know what life is gonna throw at you.

      That lady and the driver of that motorcycle are crazy! Nuts! I’ve heard that protective clothing actually does a LOT to protect people in an accident.

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  12. So sorry you had to see that. That’s extremely traumatic for all of the witnesses, and the truck driver who was just following the rules. It’s true though, people do not take driving seriously enough. It’s the same reason I hate when people tailgate; if that person had to slam on their breaks, you’d end up dead or hurt or hurt the other people, just because you are mad and want to piss the other person off.
    Gillian @ Money After Graduation recently posted..How much I spent for 3 weeks in EuropeMy Profile

    • Yeah, I completely agree about tailgating. That’s another thing that people do to piss someone off or try to move them along, but it’s really dangerous! Especially when driving at high speeds.

  13. Sorry you had to witness that. I am sure that will stick with you for a long time. If you need therapy for this you really should go. Seriously. Trauma is serious.

    I think there are many drivers in general, not just bikers that take this for granted and don’t do what they should to be safe. I see them every day. People need to start paying attention and being smart with their actions. Nothing is 100% safe.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..Organizing Your ComputerMy Profile

    • I think sometimes that’s the problem– people feel sheltered and safe. There’s safety features in everything we do, and there’s police and ambulances, and when nothing bad happens for a long time, I think people just start to feel safe and sheltered. But like you said, nothing is 100% safe and lots of things are actually pretty dangerous!

    • Accidents on the road are really common anyway, it’s true. Maybe we all should just be banned from driving since we don’t handle it very well!

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  15. Oh my gosh, I am so sorry you had to witness that. My husband works in law enforcement and has also been on a scene when someone has died, and ti’s always a traumatic experience for him – he’ll never get used to it, and I shudder to think about the nightmares it likely causes him.

    My best friend from high school nearly died in a motorcycle crash five years ago (no other vehicles were involved). I think bikers often take unncessary risks with their motorcycles, and not only put themselves in danger, but can also endanger other drivers.
    Elizabeth @ Simple Finance recently posted..Carnival of Money ProsMy Profile

    • Sorry you had to go through it too, man. Yeah the visuals are still with me and it’s been a week now. Makes me love my family more though

    • Well, if you’re gonna do it man, then you’d better be sure to wear a helmet, wear a leather jacket, wear long pants, be wide awake and alert, and don’t be a hotrod!

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