Red-light cameras are supposed to catch drivers who run stoplights, but a camera at a busy intersection in Clearwater recently captured a scene that was much more dramatic. The camera recorded footage of a motorcyclist leaping from his bike and somersaulting through the intersection after a car enters his path.
The video shows a Mitsubishi Galant attempting to make a left turn. But just as the car reaches the crosswalk, the motorcycle enters the picture on a collision path. The motorcyclist flies over the car, flips twice in the intersection and walks away.
The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet, and, amazingly, his head never appears to hit the ground. Incredibly, he suffered only minor injuries to his elbow, hand, leg and back, WFLA reported.
The motorcyclist told the television station that he jumped to avoid more serious injury in the collision.“I gotta bail; I’m not going through the car. I have to go over it,” he said.
Many accidents involving motorcycles occur at intersections because other drivers fail to see a motorcyclist. The driver of the Mitsubishi was charged with driving with a suspended license and making an improper left turn.
The accident in Clearwater was typical in another way. Drivers of cars and trucks are usually the ones responsible for crashes with motorcycles, the Sun Sentinel reported. A study by the Florida Department of Transportation reviewed 10 years of Florida motorcycle accidents and found that 60 percent of those involving other vehicles were not the motorcyclists’ fault. The most common accident occurs when a driver fails to yield the right of way.
The motorcyclist got a ticket for not having a valid motorcycle endorsement on his license. The lack of proper licensing is not unusual in motorcycle wrecks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 22 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes nationwide in 2011 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses at the time of their collisions.
Nonetheless, the motorcyclist is lucky to have walked away with his life. Since Florida repealed its helmet law in 2000, the number of motorcyclist deaths has risen from about 160 a year to 457 in 2012, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The NHTSA says that helmets are an estimated 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle riders. That means for every 100 motorcycle riders killed in crashes while not wearing helmets, 37 could have been saved if all had worn helmets.
“That guy could have killed me that day,” the motorcyclist said, adding that he has learned to be more cautious in intersections.