Biker killed in I-79 motorcycle wreck, A Second Collision Results From Traffic Backup
On Wednesday afternoon, April 1st, I-79 was shut down for hours as a result of a fatal motocycle wreck. The motorcycle operator, for reasons unknown, lost control of his bike and hit a guardrail on the bridge just south of Morgantown, causing the fatal single vehicle collision.
So many factors can come into play in causing motorcycle accidents including debris on the road, errors of other drivers which can force a motocycle into a dangerous position, speed, and potholes or other road damage which may throw the motorcycle off balance.
Obviously, the likelihood of injury is extremely high in motorcycle accidents. Ninety-eight percent of the multiple vehicle collisions and 96% of the single vehicle accidents resulted in some kind of injury to the motorcycle rider; and forty-five percent resulted in serious injury and death. Riders without helmets sustained a 600% greater rate of traumatic brain injury than riders wearing helmets.
Since the typical motorcycle accident allows the motorcyclist just less than 2 seconds to complete all collision avoidance action, every biker should use every means to ensure he or she is visible to other drivers including lights and bright clothing or safety vests.
Tragically, it was a 19 year old Fairmont man who was killed in the motorcycle wreck Wednesday afternoon near the 142 mile marker near the Marion - Monongalia County line at about 3 p.m., which closed down I-79 northbound for hours. The exact cause of the collision is not known and is still under investigation. The motorcycle was not carrying a passenger, and no other vehicle was involved in the collision, but certainly another vehicle could have been the cause.
A subsequent collision occurred at about 4:50 p.m. as a result of the traffic backup, a three-vehicle accident on I-79, near the 136-mile marker, in Marion County, between the downtown Fairmont and Pleasant Valley Road exits. A 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck failed to slow while approaching the traffic jam caused by the first wreck and struck a 2006 Toyota Camry, pushing it into a dump truck. The injured were taken by ambulance or flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital.
According to the Marion County Department Emergency Management, all lanes of I-79 were shut down to allow a HealthNet helicopter to land. The highway was reopened by 6:16 p.m.
Dominion Post, "One Killed in I-79 Motorcycle Wreck," Connor Griffith, April 1, 2015.
WAJR News, "One Fatality Confirmed in I-79 Motorcycle Crash"