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 Motorcycle Safety
 Motorcycle Accident Reports - WITH COMMENTS
 Merging motorcycle vs. divider curb
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DataDan
Advanced Member
567 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 08/06/2018 :  3:10 PM                       Like
Merging into freeway traffic, motorcyclist hits curb on raised divider between onramp and mainline and goes down

I have three of these in my archive, and another happened this weekend--all fatalities. It might seem like a mistake you're unlikely to make, but a little impatience combined with poor conditions could lure in even a more cautious rider. The relevant conditions are lighting and roadway markings. All of these occurred after dark without direct lighting, and in some the painted markings delineating the divider were heavily worn.

Three of these examples, including the most recent, were on I-10 between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, two at La Brea Ave, though one was on the eastbound ramp, the other westbound. Alcohol was a factor in the 2017 crash, but not in 2013 or 2015 (no info on the 2018). Here are Google street view links as the rider would have seen the roadway:

onthebeach
Male Standard Member
117 Posts


Arch Cape, Oregon
USA

BMW

R 1200 RT

Posted - 08/09/2018 :  11:18 AM
I took a look at each of the photos available in the links posted. While I have certainly ridden freeways and used onramps most of my riding is rural. This is a good reminder of the hazard a low curb presents - especially at speed with other traffic around when a spill could more serious consequences than would an unnoticed curb in a parking lot.

The dividers are interesting as something presenting a minor hazard or perhaps just an annoyance for an automobile but potentially fatal for a motorcycle.

This left me wondering if there is an improvement possible to make onramps safer for motorcyclists. Good reflective marking immediately comes to mind but as mentioned in the post this is degraded over time. The last photo looked to me as if tires had deposited quite a bit of rubber on the divider which would obscure paint.

Is there an alternate design that would make the road safer for motorcyclists?
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scottrnelson
Advanced Member
6915 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, ID
USA

Honda

XR650L, 1090 Adv R

Posted - 08/09/2018 :  2:00 PM
It is not a safety hazard for any motorcyclist that obeys the rules and doesn't merge over until the two lines converge. I'm tempted to cross early sometimes, but never do it. I've seen cars doing it on a few specific merges in California, specifically near Sacramento and Stockton. You're not supposed to cross double thick white lines.
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dhalen32
Male Moderator
846 Posts
[Mentor]


Omaha, NE
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 08/12/2018 :  5:01 PM
Dan:
I checked the photos out. Thanks. These all appear to be what I would call an edge trap where the motorcyclist no longer has steering control. Is that what caused each crash?
Dave
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DataDan
Advanced Member
567 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 08/13/2018 :  10:44 AM
quote:
Originally posted by dhalen32

Dan:
I checked the photos out. Thanks. These all appear to be what I would call an edge trap where the motorcyclist no longer has steering control. Is that what caused each crash?
Dave


Basically, yes. Not an edge trap in the sense of an unintentional longitudinal obstacle like a newly re-paved section. But the same effect on the motorcycle.

Because these were all fatalities, they appear, or will appear, in NHTSA's FARS database (Fatality Analysis Reporting System). Here are details from the 2013 and 2015 crashes (the 2017 database is a few months away). In both cases, the first harmful event was striking the curb. In the first, the motorcycle was a cruiser, a Honda VT700C, in the second a sportbike, a Suzuki GSX-R750. The lower ride height of the cruiser may explain why its undercarriage was noted as the impact point, while Gixxer hit at 12 o'clock--presumably the front wheel.

2013 California FARS case 1346, 9/2/2013, I-10 westbound onramp from La Brea Blvd:

manner of collision ........... not collision with motor vehicle
first harmful event ........... curb
most harmful event ............ fell/jumped from vehicle
pre-event movement ............ going straight
critical pre-crash event ...... other critical precrash event
crash avoidance maneuver ...... unknown
pre-crash stability ........... precrash stability unknown
pre-impact location ........... departed roadway
crash type .................... departed road left side--drove off road
initial contact point ......... undercarriage
speed limit ................... 65
travel speed .................. unknown
speed related ................. unknown
driver related factors ........ none
driver distracted by .......... not distracted
driver impaired by ............ unknown if impaired
violations charged ............ none
vision obscured by ............ no obstruction noted
vehicle factors ............... none

event sequence ................ striking vehicle: impact point
ran off road--left ............ 1:non-harmful event
curb .......................... 1:undercarriage
fell/jumped from vehicle ...... 1:non-collision



2015 California FARS case 1771, 5/9/2015, I-10 westbound onramp from Central Ave:

manner of collision ........... not collision with motor vehicle
first harmful event ........... curb
most harmful event ............ curb
pre-event movement ............ merging
critical pre-crash event ...... off the edge of the road on the left side
crash avoidance maneuver ...... unknown
pre-crash stability ........... tracking
pre-impact location ........... departed roadway
crash type .................... departed road left side--drove off road
initial contact point ......... 12 o'clock
speed limit ................... 55
travel speed .................. unknown
speed related ................. no
driver related factors ........ making other improper turn
driver distracted by .......... not distracted
driver impaired by ............ unknown if impaired
violations charged ............ none
vision obscured by ............ no obstruction noted
vehicle factors ............... none

event sequence ................ striking vehicle: impact point
ran off road--left ............ 1:non-harmful event
curb .......................... 1:12 o'clock

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rkfire
Advanced Member
1713 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 08/31/2018 :  12:58 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I just cannot recall a merge like that in my area. A curb like that ought to have Armco barrier, a sting of rubber tube makers or something, to ensure this obvious as not a place to cheat the merge. Or just make a mistake.
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