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 NTSB investigates multiple-vehicle motorcycle crash in Maine
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DataDan
Advanced Member
578 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 04/29/2019 :  9:46 AM                       Like
In September 2017, the United Bikers of Maine held their annual toy run to collect Christmas gifts for needy kids. During the ride, in which 3000 motorcyclists participated, an accident involving five motorcycles and a pickup killed two and injured four. In addition to the normal investigation by state authorities, the US DOT's National Transportation Safety Board also looked into the incident. Though better known for probing plane crashes, the NTSB also sometimes investigates highway crashes. Readers here may be interested in the results.

I have included the NTSB's summary below. The full report (15-page PDF) includes much more detail, and crash scene photos (PDF, vehicles not victims) are also available. The crash occurred here (Google Maps link).

As a result of the NTSB investigation, UBM have excluded the group ride from their planned 2019 event, though donations will still be collected, according to this story in the Brunswick Times Record.




Motorcycle and Pickup Truck Crash During "Toy Run" Group Ride

Executive Summary

About noon on Sunday, September 10, 2017, an estimated 3,000 motorcyclists gathered at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine, to participate in the 36th annual United Bikers of Maine (UBM) Toy Run, a charity event in which motorcyclists join in a group ride, bringing a toy to the gathering. From the civic center, the motorcyclists were first to travel north on Interstate 95 (I-95) between exits 112B and 113. They were to enter I-95 using the on-ramp north of exit 112B and to depart I-95 at exit 113. After leaving the interstate, the motorcyclists were to proceed east on Route 3/202 and then south on Route 32, reaching their destination at the Windsor Fairgrounds.

As the UBM Toy Run began, the large number of motorcyclists merging onto the interstate caused a traffic queue on northbound I-95 between exits 112B and 113. The motorcycles were queued in a staggered formation. The distance between the exits is only about 0.5 mile and, in the northbound merge area, the roadway transitions from four to three lanes (left, center, and right lanes). At the crash location, the northbound roadway consisted of these three lanes. There was no traffic control, lane closure, or law enforcement presence on I-95 to provide warning, management, or protection for the queue of motorcyclists.

About 12:05 p.m., a 2007 Harley-Davidson XL 1200 motorcycle (vehicle 1), which was participating in the group ride, suddenly moved out of the right lane, traveled across the center lane, and entered the left lane in front of a 2008 Ford F250 pickup truck (vehicle 2), occupied by a 67-year-old male driver and a 99-year-old female passenger, which was traveling north on I-95. The motorcycle was carrying a 25-year-old male operator and a 26-year-old female passenger. Based on skid mark evidence, the pickup truck driver attempted an evasive maneuver but collided with the motorcycle at about mile marker 112.5, losing control of his vehicle, in part because the pickup truck had "collected" the Harley-Davidson XL 1200 motorcycle, causing the pickup truck to rotate clockwise. The pickup truck veered out of the left lane to the right and traveled across the center and right northbound lanes, striking four other motorcycles.

The pickup truck then went through the right guardrail, overturned, and came to rest on its passenger side. The 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle traveled through the guardrail and came to rest on its right side in a ditch beside the pickup truck.

As a result of the crash, two motorcyclists died. One motorcyclist and the pickup truck passenger received serious injuries. The pickup truck driver and four motorcyclists received minor injuries.

Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Augusta, Maine, crash was the motorcycle operator's unsafe maneuver in moving in front of the pickup truck. Contributing to this crash was the failure of the city of Augusta Police Department and the Toy Run event organizer, United Bikers of Maine, to identify and mitigate the risks associated with routing a group ride onto an interstate without providing supplemental traffic control or state police oversight.


Alan_Hepburn
Male Standard Member
200 Posts


San Jose, Ca
USA

Honda

1994 GL1500SE

Posted - 04/30/2019 :  10:48 AM
Seems to me that a run of that size absollutely NEEDS a police presence for traffic control if nothing else...
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onthebeach
Male Standard Member
118 Posts


Arch Cape, Oregon
USA

BMW

R 1200 RT

Posted - 04/30/2019 :  3:22 PM
The NTSB report lists 3,000 motorcyclists. I don't know if that is 3,000 motorcycles or potentially 1,5000 motorcycles each with a rider/passenger pair. Either way a lot of motorcycles. So one take away would be that riding in a really large group should be carefully considered as you are at risk from other riders. I suspect there is added danger from riders trying to stay together which will be quite difficult without dedicated traffic control.

The NTSB report listed 5 motorcycles with 5 operators, 4 passengers. Only one operator was using a helmet as was one passenger on a different bike. The report only called out one rider and passenger as being required to wear a helmet, neither were. So 2 helmets for 9 people.

I would guess that in a state in which only SOME riders are required to wear a helmet compliance may be low due to police not being able to look at a rider and immediately know if they are required to use one.

I am not claiming that helmets would have prevented death or injury in this event, just commenting on the lack of helmet use even by those for whom required.

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DataDan
Advanced Member
578 Posts
[Mentor]


Central Coast, CA
USA

Yamaha

FJR1300

Posted - 05/01/2019 :  9:27 AM
quote:
Originally posted by onthebeach

The NTSB report lists 3,000 motorcyclists. I don't know if that is 3,000 motorcycles or potentially 1,5000 motorcycles each with a rider/passenger pair. Either way a lot of motorcycles. So one take away would be that riding in a really large group should be carefully considered as you are at risk from other riders. I suspect there is added danger from riders trying to stay together which will be quite difficult without dedicated traffic control.

The NTSB report listed 5 motorcycles with 5 operators, 4 passengers. Only one operator was using a helmet as was one passenger on a different bike. The report only called out one rider and passenger as being required to wear a helmet, neither were. So 2 helmets for 9 people.

I would guess that in a state in which only SOME riders are required to wear a helmet compliance may be low due to police not being able to look at a rider and immediately know if they are required to use one.

I am not claiming that helmets would have prevented death or injury in this event, just commenting on the lack of helmet use even by those for whom required.

You make a good point about enforcement when a helmet law has exceptions. In practice, the requirement becomes an add-on ticket when a motorcyclist gets pulled over for something else. Michigan's 2012 helmet law repeal (see this thread) requires a helmet for motorcyclists under age 21, but from 2012-2017, 20% of crash-involved riders under 21 were unhelmeted.

The unhlemeted Sportster rider in this crash was required to wear one because it had been less than a year since he got his motorcycle endorsement. His passenger, also unhelmeted, was required to wear one because he was. He died from "blunt force trauma to the chest", according to the NTSB report. She bailed (at 25mph) before impact and broke her ankle.

The second rider killed collided with the pickup in the #3 lane, after it had caromed off the median guardrail. He was wearing a full-face helmet and died of "multiple blunt force injuries".
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