Two motorcycle riders lost their lives while attempting to swerve out of the path of a wrong-way driver. The fatal crash occurred in the community of Stanleytown in Henry County, Virginia (VA), on the night of August 21, 2015.
A male biker and his female passenger were traveling along County Road 903/Henry Road a little after 10 pm when a pickup truck headed directly toward them. Hoping to miss a head-on collision near the intersection with VA Route 57A/Fairystone Park Highway, the man steering the motorcycle ran off the road. He and his passenger flew from the bike and sustained injuries that took their lives after they arrived at the nearest major hospital in Martinsville.
The pickup truck driver did not get hurt, and it remains unclear why he was driving into oncoming traffic. Common explanations for wrong-way driving include confusion and impairment by drugs or alcohol. Neither has been cited as a contributing factor, but police have filed at least one reckless driving charge against the man who was behind the wheel of the pickup.
In addition to highlighting the worst consequences of wrong-way driving, this deadly accident should remind everyone on the road that they bear significant responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of motorcyclists. Bikers have little protection and less room for error. When another motorist makes a major mistake like crossing a center line, failing to yield right of way or following too closely, individuals on motorcycles cannot rely on the stopping power of four breaks nor the impact absorption of sheet metal and steel beams. Car and truck drivers must operate cautiously, conscientiously and considerately if motorcycle riders are to reach their destinations unharmed.