Washington County Donates Crashed Sheriff's Office Motorcycle for Community Education

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sponsored by: Support Services Department, Fleet Services Division

ODOT to Create Traveling Static Display With Crashed Motorcycle

Washington County's Fleet Services Division, in partnership with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, has donated a patrol motorcycle previously involved in a serious crash to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). The donation was made to assist in educational efforts which emphasize the need to intentionally look twice for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians while driving.

In November of 2017, Sheriff's Deputy Mark Demmer was conducting routine patrol when he was struck on his motorcycle by a motorist who pulled out into his path from a nearby business. Deputy Demmer sustained serious injuries in the crash and only recently returned to duty after a six-month recovery including numerous surgeries. The driver received a citation for failing to yield the right-of-way and the motorcycle was determined to be a total loss.

In an effort to prevent similar incidents and support the efforts of ODOT's Transportation Safety Division, the County agreed to donate the wrecked motorcycle to the State for educational purposes. The Transportation Safety Division will use the motorcycle as a traveling static display, mounted on a trailer that will make its way around Oregon to fairs, schools, rallies and various other events to raise awareness about distracted driving, motorcycle visibility and traffic safety. The donation will ensure that the motorcycle continues to "protect and serve" the community by illustrating the critical need for drivers to pay strict attention to their surroundings at all times.

Deputy Demmer's crash is one example of a large number of similar crashes in Oregon involving motorists who fail to yield the right-of-way to oncoming motorcycle riders. Driving safety research reveals phrases like "looked but failed to see" and "inattentional blindness" used to describe the phenomenon where drivers state that they simply did not see the motorcycle rider before hitting them. The display will help start conversations with all transportation system users to better understand how to avoid these types of crashes and underscore the catastrophic consequences of distracted and inattentive driving.

To further highlight this significant issue, Governor Brown has recently proclaimed May 2018 as "Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month" in Oregon. The proclamation encourages all Oregonians to be alert for motorcyclists and recognizes the importance of sharing the roadways. Additionally, as warm spring weather sparks an increased use of the transportation system by pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, it is critically important for drivers to watch out for vulnerable roadway users and to always look twice before proceeding, especially when entering traffic.

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