Mike and I were driving home from the Trail Blazers game on Friday night when a truly horrific motorcycle accident happened right in front of us. We were travelling South on 112th/Chkalov Drive (pronounced chalk-lauv), a 30 MPH residential road in Vancouver, Washington.
Out of nowhere, we heard a loud noise and felt a rumble coming from our left. We looked over and saw a motorcycle as he passed us in the left lane, probably going about 40 MPH. His engine was so loud and abrupt that it startled both of us. We looked over and watched him pass. He swerved in front of us right as we were coming to a bend in the road. Mere seconds after he pulled in front of us, we watched as his rear tire slipped, the back of the bike began to veer to the right. His motorcycle slammed into the curb flinging his body into the air.
His body floated through the air like a flailing rag doll, arms and legs awkwardly outstretched as gravity pulled him closer to the chain link fence on the side of the road. When he hit the fence, his arm wrapped around his back, dislocating it from his shoulder. He rolled down the fence, his helmeted head bounced off the sidewalk, and he landed right in front of my car. The entire experience played in slow motion in front of us, and it’s been replaying in my head since it happened.
I slammed on my brakes the moment I saw his tire slip. When he landed in front of us, my fight or flight response kicked in (apparently I’m a fighter). I ordered Mike to call 911 while I got out of the car to assist the cyclist. His head was laying on the curb, his body outstretched in the road. Cars from across the street also stopped and other people came running to his aid – thank God there was an RN who knew what she was doing. The man was conscious and really confused. He squirmed while the RN told him to be still. I couldn’t see any blood, though I’m sure he has several broken bones.
One by one, policemen, firemen, and paramedics showed up. Mike and I gave our statements and were eventually ushered off the scene. My heart hurts for this injured man, a stranger that I’ve never met. I know he’s going to be ok, but I’m still saddened that the accident even happened.
This horrific motorcycle accident was truly one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever witnessed. If you ride a motorcycle, please wear a helmet and be careful. If you’re sharing the road with a motorcycle, be courteous – the human body is fragile and a motorcycle doesn’t offer much protection. Overall, please be safe out there.