California is a beautiful landscape for motorcyclists. We have some of the best weather in the country and beautiful shoreline to enjoy on an afternoon ride. Earlier this month, The Mercury News reported on a story of one 48-year-old rider whose afternoon ride ended tragically.
According to reports, the Santa Rosa man was riding on Highway 1 in Sonoma County on Jan. 4, when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson and crashed around 3:15 p.m. Exactly why he lost control of the bike has not been determined. And, unfortunately, the motorcycle crash victim did not survive his injuries, so he can’t tell what led to the fatal accident.
What led to finding the crash victim, however, is clear. It took the collaborative action of various responders to locate the man and his bike. Searchers didn’t succeed in their search until a reported five plus hours after the crash took place. Some are surprised and concerned that the victim’s cell phone didn’t more effectively aid in locating the victim.
Reports note that the man didn’t immediately die from his crash injuries. He had the ability and time to call police and his son before passing away after the motorcycle accident. Certain action/mystery entertainment programs make it seem like tracking someone with a cell phone signal is easy, but CHP Communications Manager Mary Pat Marshall asserts that such tracking is “not an exact science.” It would have been a huge help If the victim had been more aware of exactly where he was when he crashed and relayed that information when he called police.
Ultimately, it took the U.S. Coast Guard to find the man and his bike. At around 9:15 p.m. a crew spotted debris from the accident with their light and night vision goggles. The victim’s body was found farther up the cliff where the fall occurred. A Lieutenant from the Coast Guard noted how the spot where the victim fell contained “a lot of debris … If it’s not already on somebody’s radar, somebody needs to put up a better guardrail there.”
If a simple guardrail improvement on this highest point in Sonoma County on Highway 1 could save even one life, then, hopefully, county officials will move forward with that preventative step.
The Mercury News: “Phone call from dying crash victim prompts desperate search on Sonoma Coast,” Mary Callahan, 6 Jan. 2011