Oct 17, 2017

Mixed Emotions

Enoch Langford was riding his recently purchased motorcycle at high speed in fairly congested neighborhood traffic. Apparently, his “plan” was to blast through an intersection hoping the rest of the world was watching out for him. He was clearly moving multiples faster than the traffic around him when a pair of vehicles turned in front of him at the intersection. One made it through without incident, the second vehicle turned just in time to cause Langford to panic and “lay ‘er down.” KARE II’s reporter said, “It left Langford no choice but to lay the bike down and skid right into the car. . .”

For years, I’ve argued that it is irrational to believe (as ABATE apparently does) that the majority of multiple vehicle crashes involving motorcycles are the fault of everyone but motorcyclists. What left Langford with “no choice” was his approach to the intersection. It’s obvious that his speed was totally inappropriate for the situation and his skills were far below what he needed for the result. He didn’t “lay ‘er down,” he fell over due to poor braking skills and a total lack of escape route planning.

The part of the story that flips the blame is where the driver of the car clearly slowed after the impact, then sped away from the scene. “One witness told KARE 11 News the driver got out of his car for a second, but then got back in and drove several more blocks before ditching his car and running.” That statement makes me wonder, if that happened, why has it been so hard to identify the driver? If they have the car, doesn’t that give them a lead on the driver? Or is that statement just something silly the media latched on to? So far, all of the media reports have been totally devoid of anything resembling rational analysis of the crash itself.

Hit and run is a crime, but it’s one that police seem to prosecute randomly. There have been a couple of hit and run incidents in my family, where my daughters were the victims, and the police didn’t even bother to include the evasion information in their reports. In both incidents, the police didn’t bother to assign blame or include the hit and run information until they were forced to finish their job. A friend is currently waiting for the Minneapolis police to file a crash report where his wife’s car was sideswiped while stopped in traffic. She recorded and reported the license number, but the police haven’t even bothered to finish their initial report, let alone hunt down the driver. I agree that the driver of this car needs to be found, but I doubt the end result will be as dramatic and conclusive as the news report imagines.

In the meantime, I’d like to hear about the details of the police report. I’d like to know if Mr. Langford was a licensed motorcyclist. I’d like to know if the police crash scene analysis estimated his speed before he fell over. It would be nice to see some consistency in how crashes and hit and run situations are handled, but I’ve given up on hoping for that in our decaying society.

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