To the west (my left), traffic is stopped at the light at Zuck Road and between Zuck Road and me there are two empty lanes. To the east (my right), there is some west bound traffic that will shortly clear. I’m waiting for it to clear before pulling out and making my left turn.
I check to the west again. Empty lanes all the way to Zuck Road (maybe 300 yards away) where the light is red for eastbound traffic on 26th Street and no one appears to be turning onto 26th from Zuck.
I look to the east. Traffic is clear. Mentally, I’m ready to make my turn. Just have to check once more to the west.
I look to the west again. Clear lanes all the way to Zuck Road. Wait…is that a shadow I see? No, it’s a young man on a motorcycle doing a wheelie in the eastbound lanes and going at least 60 mph. His headlight is pointed at the sky (and thus invisible to me). The bottom of his bike (the only part of him visible to me) is dark black, just like the pavement. He literally looks like a shadow. And no helmet. As he passes me, I hear the whine of a small engine revving. But my windows were up and I heard nothing before he was right on top of me.
Fortunately, I saw him. Fortunately, there was no accident. But it was close enough that it caused me (and my passenger) to comment on it. Frankly, it caused my heart to beat a little quicker.
I’m a defender of motorcyclists and motorcyclist rights. I don’t think drivers pay close enough attention to bikers and I think many car drivers are just plain thoughtless when it comes to bikers. I used to ride bikes myself and my brother is still an avid biker. My point is that I am definitely NOT one of those people who always blames the motorcyclist. Instead, I am a committed defender of the motorcyclist’s right to share the road and a believer that motorists need to be more aware and alert for the safety of motorcyclists. But this young man was simply out of his mind and he came closer than he’ll ever know to paying a terrible price for it.
I’ve attached a link to the Pennsylvania motorcycle operator’s manua l to remind motorcyclists that they’ve got a duty to be safe. I just re-reviewed that manual and noticed there is no specific warning about speeding while doing a wheelie in a heavily populated area. Maybe the authors just figured that came under the heading, “Use Common Sense.”
At Purchase, George & Murphey, P.C. we are Erie lawyers committed to helping injured people. And we are very much aware of how motorcyclists are often blamed for accidents that are not their fault. If you’ve been injured in an Erie motorcycle accident, we want to help you (Click HERE to get a free, no-obligation consult with an experienced Erie injury lawyer).
But please, to the kid who drove by my office this afternoon and every other motorcyclist who’s tempted to do something similarly crazy: save it for a private course. Do not drive like a maniac on public streets. You’re going to hurt yourself or kill yourself. Or someone else. And even if, against the odds, you somehow manage to get through this lunatic phase in your life without getting hurt, you’re nevertheless leaving behind witnesses who will hold your behavior against all the other motorcyclists out there. People already have an unfair bias against motorcyclists. You don’t need to convince them they’re right.