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Old 09-14-2009, 10:13 AM   #1
Chuck289 OP
Air cooled
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: SF Bay, California
Oddometer: 2,273
Motorcyclist loses leg. ATGATT?

From here (w/ pics):

Last weekend.
A motorcyclist hit a street light post and lost a leg. He had no helmet and sounds like he wasnt wearing any other gear.

So I wonder, in this case (or any other where an arm or leg is lost), was there any amount of gear that could possibly prevent that? Or perhaps are the forces required to take a leg off just too great, that anything like leather pants wouldnt even hold up?

PS, the rider survived.

Saturday morning I stepped out in my backyard to take a few pictures when in the distance from the south I heard the familiar sound of a large displacement street bike. It was coming closer but as it approached I heard the back wheel spinning up. Given that it was still traveling rather quickly I was surprised at the sound I was hearing because the back wheel shouldn’t be spinning unless the street was wet or something which would of course take some decent skill. I can just barely see the tops of passing cars from the backyard and saw a flash of motorcycle rider blast by about 2-3 seconds of hearing the spinning wheel. Being a bit of a motor head and race fan I couldn’t help but notice how great is sounded but ultimately I was slightly annoyed that he was riding at mach on our 30mph street. I’d guess his speed was around 65 when he passed and he was accelerating. About 2-3 seconds later I heard the distinctive sound of an impact! I ran through the house with a straight shot grabbing my keys and cell phone from the coffee table. My truck was already in the driveway and I quickly jumped in and headed up the street.

There was still dust in the air as I approached and I saw the rider face down but his body was sort of on its side…no helmet. 911 connected about that time and I gave them my cross street and asked for an ambulance. Just then another car approached as I went to take a look at the guy on the ground. I finished with the 911 operators and went to put my ear to the victim’s back but I couldn’t hear him breathing. The rider had hit a steel streetlight that looked to be about 5x5” square. I don’t know exact size but the impact was great enough that it displaced the square post about 6-8 inches about 2 feet up the pole. The rider was about 25 yards from the bike and debris and motorcycle parts were scattered everywhere fanning out about 35 yards from the bike where it stopped near the pole. Midway in between the bike and rider was the riders left leg which as been torn off. It was a terribly gruesome accident scene and I was struggling a bit to stay cool. I honestly thought the man was dead because of all the blood along with the fact that I didn’t hear him breathing. By that time there must have been 20 bystanders moving to the scene along with children. I realized that this might be treated as a crime scene so I had people get back away from the bike and asked the teenagers to make sure no little kids approached this mess. It was traumatizing even to some of the teenagers.

The fire department arrived within 4-5 minutes of my 911 call and the ambulance about 2 minutes after that, then a police woman showed up next by herself and I knew she’d have her hands full. I pointed out the two eyewitnesses for her and then she asked me to go to the other side of the street and move everyone back. The paramedics did put an oxygen mask on the victim’s face, which was encouraging. They also asked for a large cooler with as much ice as they could round up, which one of the close by neighbors supplied. I don’t have to tell anyone what that was for….right? Yes, the leg actually fit inside.

One brave little boy about 11-12 years old was holding the plasma bag for the paramedics right over the downed rider. They called in an air ambulance and the fire department was clearing the landing zone of people. Since they were still short of police I asked if they wanted me to clear the opposite side of the block and the guy say “please!” The same guy later thanked me for helping which was nice. I walked back down toward my house clearing people as more police and fire department showed up. I only had my camera phone on me but I knew the whole two blocks were going to be a big accident or crime scene so I started taking pictures of anything that looked crucial. I found the riders glasses for example and the path that he took over the sidewalk and through the dirt. The guy was spinning the wheel in the dirt just off the sidewalk at 60+ mph and plowing through bushes. Because of this I don’t think he was in his right mind. My guess is that he stole the bike, was on drugs or was exceedingly angry for some reason. I’d guess his age between 20-25. After I took about 20 pictures, I headed back toward the accident and waited on a side street to stay out of the way. The helicopter pilot passed overhead and then did a descending 360 degree left turn before coming in pretty fast! This surprised me because there were good-sized trees on either side of him and a 25-foot tall light poll just to his left that he passed by right before touching down. It was impressive to see him plop that thing down on a small residential street with no hesitation.

After about 5 minutes they had the victim in the helicopter and it left as quickly as it came in. I stayed and talked to police and showed them the rider’s glasses and path through the bushes. They close the entire street for about 3 blocks and had a web of yellow tape strewn everywhere. It took them a couple of hours to do their thing and then it was mostly quiet again except for lots of resident and traumatized kids standing around talking. One little girl was crying because she happened to see the mess there before we could herd people back. I called the police department the following day because I wanted to see if the guy lived or not. They couldn’t give me much info but did tell me it wasn’t marked as a fatality, which I was very relieved to hear. I’m doubtful that there was any way to save that leg because it wasn’t a clean separation. Still, I pray that somehow there was a way. Needless to say, this guy’s life is going to change forever but at least he’s getting a second chance. I’ll share a few Medi-Vac pics for now. Maybe later I’ll show the post he hit but that’s all. In any event, it was quite the Saturady morning around here. Things like this always make me count my blessings.

"This is an environment of welcoming, and you should just get the hell out of here" - Michael Scott
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