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It happens to the best of us

October 31, 2013
Fourth Estate damage

Orin O’Neill photos

Earlier this week, my unblemished driving record took a hit. And as you can see, so did the Fourth Estate.

I was driving out of a parking lot onto an arterial street, intending to turn left. As I started to move, I saw a motorcycle and rider, and knew instantly I’d seen him too late… and that he wouldn’t have enough room to stop.

Luckily for both of us, I stopped and the motorcyclist was going well below the 35-mph speed limit. He took a tumble over the handlebars, landed on the car’s hood, and rolled onto the pavement. While complaining of soreness, he was not seriously injured, and in fact was standing when I got out of the car to check on his condition.

The driveway is at the exit of a curved roadway, and the car was pointed at just the right angle for the motorcycle to be out of sight, obscured by the car’s A-pillar until it was too late (new cars have much thicker A-pillars, further obscuring vision to the car’s corners). I don’t do shit like text/talk on the phone when I drive… in fact, the radio was off.

Motorcycle damage

It’s not so easy to see in the photo, but the bike’s front suspension was seriously damaged, and there was some bodywork debris on the ground. Thankfully, the rider was completely geared-up; I don’t doubt he would’ve been more seriously injured otherwise.

I’ve always considered driving a skill, and have done much over the years to enhance that skill: skid-car training, racing school, that sort of thing. Having ridden not just scooters but bicycles, I’ve always tried to put myself in the rider’s shoes when driving. And I subscribe to the idea that the motorist’s first rule is (or should be) “drive the car.”

But no matter how skilled you are, how closely you pay attention, how careful you are, accidents can still happen. While in this case, our numbers were up, this could’ve turned out much more badly, for both of us. I’m very glad it didn’t. And I sincerely hope it never happens again. Favicon

  1. October 31, 2013 4:49 pm

    Glad it was not any more serious .

    Kindest regards

  2. November 1, 2013 10:09 am

    Yikes. Sure glad everyone was okay.

    I find I can see and scan much better wearing my helmet than I can driving the Subaru. Those A-pillars block so much and if what it is blocking is traveling at or around the same speed you are driving you just can’t see without a lot of front to back motion.

  3. November 1, 2013 11:12 am

    Orin, glad it wasn’t worse. SMIDSY (“Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You” —Ed.) is SMIDSY for a reason. Bikes present a very small cross-section and are easily obscured. In a similar situation I think if I were the rider I would have honked. I wonder if he was keeping an eye on your front tire. That’s a good way to get early warning of a car’s intentions.

    Still, you are right, stuff happens. That’s why they’re called accidents.

  4. Jason McFadden permalink
    November 11, 2013 7:58 pm

    Sorry this happened. Glad y’all were both ok and not much worse. Sure am glad the rider was geared up! Glad you did all you could to be safe also. It’s encouraging to hear you are handling the accident well too.

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