We live in a world of overwhelming statistics.
We experience the most poignant human conditions in the form of numbers and abstractions and being the most connected culture in human history, our experience of reality and truth gets washed over by the onslaught of rhetoric and opinions that isolate us from critical issues that often affect us.
Motorcycle fatalities is a subject that our society has become particularly good at communicating solely in statistical terms.
Numbers put us all at ease, isolate the acute human pain associated with an accident and inevitably numbs us to the reality that we or someone dear to us may be suddenly afflicted by a life-changing event.
During the last week of January the northwest experienced dry and spring-like weather conditions. As a result many additional motorcyclists exited their garages to take their favorite ride on a spin. The area roads are in pretty good shape being mid-winter with the occasional gravel rock from the ice storm earlier in the year bouncing off the windshield. Yet, on January 25th at approximately 3:25pm Mr. Ronald V. McNutt became the first fatal motorcycle crash in Oregon.
According to OSP reports:
Mr. McNutt (age 66) entered the northbound lanes of I-5 near milepost 250 when he appeared to lose control in the area of the middle and right lanes. A school bus operator saw the motorcyclist losing control and tried steering to the left lane but was unable to avoid the motorcycle as it fell toward the school bus. The school bus was loaded with about 50 high school students and struck the motorcycle operator who was pronounced deceased at the scene.
OSP continues to investigate the accident and if they provide the media an update I’ll update this post.
I’ve been thinking about this accident off and on for the last couple of weeks. I debated the merits of blogging about it. Then I thought about the frequency at which certain motorcycle accidents are growing in our society and if it warrants the question of whether it’s good enough that we just know that they happen or whether we should become better acquainted with them and why. By knowing more, we’re truly able to understand the extent of suffering (not in a creepy way, but learning) and extend to them a hand of help, either as money that helps the family, or a charity or simply as an act of acknowledgement and well wishes to the survivors.
I confess that I have absolutely no connection or personal knowledge of Mr. McNutt, yet found this accident disturbing not only by the statistic (first fatality), but in antidotal information about the frequency of accidents on the rise for this age group. We can debate causes endlessly, but what I hoped to communicate was the gravity of these accident’s which forces us to come face-to-face with the human dimension and to help raise awareness on the importance of driving safe out there.
UPDATE: February 10, 2011 — As if we need another example: Dale Stark (64) critically injured in an accident yesterday. More info HERE.
Photo courtesy of World Health Org. Graphic image full size HERE.