A motorcycle accident happens in Clare County with a Ludington connection, as it happened on Ludington Drive. The theme of a motor vehicle turning into the path of the motorcycle occurs here, where a helmetless biker driving down Ludington is confronted with a truck making a left turn into a driveway in front of him; the bike careens off the front passenger side of the truck, gets wedged underneath the back wheel of the truck, the biker is thrown off and suffers a non-serious head injury.
The local media headlines it as Truck-motorcycle crash leaves helmet-less rider hospitalized, greatly desensitizing the readers to the fact that the truck was completely at fault for the accident with what has been relayed to the media, and over-sensitizing the fact that the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet (yet somehow survived without any lasting injury). The article by Cole Waterman on Mlive follows the picture of the crash, which could have ended up worse.
GRANT TWP, MI -- A motorcyclist was hospitalized with a head injury after colliding with a pickup truck in Clare County.
The crash happened about 7:20 p.m. on Friday, April 7, on Ludington Drive near Harrison Avenue in Grant Township. Clare County Sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene to find a 1997 Ford truck atop a 2014 Harley-Davidson.
Deputies determined 24-year-old Charles Corey, of Harrison, was driving the Ford west on Ludington and tried turning left into a driveway. Corey turned the truck into the path of the motorcycle, which was heading east.
Shannon Schaefer, 43 of Cadillac, had been driving the motorcycle and was thrown from it. Schaefer suffered a head injury and was transported to MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland for treatment.
Schaefer was not wearing a helmet at the time. He was listed in stable condition as of Monday morning, April 10.
Corey was transported to a Clare hospital for evaluation.
Neither alcohol nor drugs were involved in the crash, deputies report. Deputies did not state whether or not either party involved was issued a citation.
Deputies were assisted at the scene by an off-duty Mount Pleasant police officer, Clare police, Clare firefighters, Mobile Medical Response Ambulance Services, and Joe's Auto Wrecker Service. [End article]
The truck driver admitted to turning in front of a motorcyclist, depriving the biker of his right-of-way to travel down the street, and yet the police couldn't even verify if there was any ticket issued. In many situations like this involving motorcyclists, bicyclist and pedestrians (BMPs), the police fail to cite the motorist obviously at fault, particularly when the vulnerable user of the roadway manages to survive. This isn't the case when two motor vehicles collide.
Perhaps if we decided to protect those without thousands of pounds of metal, seat belts, and airbags protecting them from having to endure accidents like this, as much as those who are well protected, these victims of poor judgment could find justice. One of the reasons for having laws, after all, is to protect the innocent and the vulnerable.
To Helmet or not to helmet
As for helmets, can anybody say with certainty that had this motorcyclist been wearing a helmet that he would not have suffered a head injury? Is it not also possible that if he had wore a helmet he might be worse off now?
This is not as farfetched as it sounds, this Ludington Torch article noted that one year after the helmet law repeal in Michigan the statistics showed that for every pair of sober riders without a helmet that gets into a crash, there are seven sober helmeted riders that crash.
Exactly one year ago, Michigan Capital Confidential's Tom Gantert reviewed motorcycle accidents in Michigan following the repeal of the helmet law. He found some counterintuitive results:
"In 2012, 129 people were killed in Michigan motorcycle accidents and 2,870 injured. Those numbers dropped to 128 and 2,497 respectively in 2013. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, 107 people were killed and 2,309 injured.
Between 2005 to 2011, while the helmet mandate was still in effect, an average of 114.2 people were killed each year in Michigan motorcycle accidents and 2,757.6 injured. The state police data shows no clear trend."
Being that motorcycle use and mileage has likely increased since the repeal, these figures seem to show it may be as safe, if not safer, to ride without a helmet. As I posited in Motorcycle Helmets Cause Accidents? : "the [mandatory helmet] repeal was a good thing-- an educated motorcyclist can decide what's best for them on any given day, with any given conditions."