10 bikes and at least 2 SUVs were involved in the serious accident. [fimg=right]http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/MC_Crash_in_OR.jpg[/fimg]Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - Sept. 18, 2009 EMS personnel on the scene of the mass accident Friday afternoon. A crash early Friday afternoon south of Wilsonville, Oregon sent 10 riders to the hospital and shut down northbound Interstate 5 traffic for more than two hours. Initial reports stated that a group of at least 26 motorcyclists belonging to the “Brothers Speed Motorcycle Club” were traveling together. This group included members from the Portland Chapter formed in 1970. “Approximately 26 motorcycles were traveling northbound in the left inside lane near milepost 282 in a formation of two columns when traffic ahead began to come to a stop,” said Oregon State Police Lieutenant, Gregg Hastings. "The first two motorcycles maneuvered to avoid a collision with the stopped vehicle, but the rest of the motorcycles could not react in time and crashed into the vehicle in front of their group and into each other." Eight riders were taken to area hospitals by ambulance with injuries ranging from broken bones to shoulder injuries. Two additional individuals were taken by Emergency medical helicopter. The two seriously injured riders, identified as 40-year old Herbert Sinclair of Heyburn, Idaho and 38-year old David Bowyer of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, were transported by LifeFlight to Oregon Health Sciences University and Legacy Emanuel Hospital, respectively. No additional information is currently available regarding the other individuals involved in the crash. "It was a domino effect," witness Terry Scott said of the motorcyclists, who had been riding in a two-column formation prior to the crash. "There were bikes and people and gear flying." Group Riding Safety Although it is not known if any of the riders within the group were fully geared, Oregon has a strict Helmet required law on the books so we can assume all riders were wearing DOT certified helmets. Unfortunately, we can also assume by the number of riders involved in the accident and the name of the Group that proper lane placement and speed limits were not being adhered too. Now is as good a time as any for a quick review on Group Riding Safety as laid out by the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation). Riding as a group with friends on a Sunday morning ride or with an organized motorcycle rally is the epitome of the motorcycling experience. Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride: Hold a riders’ meeting. Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals. Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider. Both should be experienced riders who are well-versed in group riding procedures. The leader should assess everyone’s riding skills and the group’s riding style. Keep the group to a manageable size, ideally five to seven riders. If necessary, break the group into smaller sub-groups, each with a lead and sweep rider. Ride prepared. At least one rider in each group should pack a cell phone, first-aid kit, and full tool kit, so the group is prepared for any problem that they might encounter. Ride in formation. The staggered riding formation (see diagram below) allows a proper space cushion between motorcycles so that each rider has enough time and space to maneuver and to react to hazards. The leader rides in the left third of the lane, while the next rider stays at least one second behind in the right third of the lane; the rest of the group follows the same pattern. A single-file formation is preferred on a curvy road, under conditions of poor visibility or poor road surfaces, entering/leaving highways, or other situations where an increased space cushion or maneuvering room is needed. Avoid side-by-side formations, as they reduce the space cushion. If you suddenly needed to swerve to avoid a hazard, you would not have room to do so. You don’t want handlebars to get entangled. Periodically check the riders following in your rear view mirror. If you see a rider falling behind, slow down so they may catch up. If all the riders in the group use this technique, the group should be able to maintain a fairly steady speed without pressure to ride too fast to catch up. If you’re separated from the group, don’t panic. Your group should have a pre-planned procedure in place to regroup. Don’t break the law or ride beyond your skills to catch up. As always, be wary of everything and enjoy the ride... MSF Group Riding Recommended Motorcycle interval and stagger spacing.