Now is one of the busiest times of the year for traffic and motorcycles. Bikers know there’s no such thing as a fender-bender on a motorcycle. A News 5 Investigation shows us where the most dangerous intersections are for people on two wheels. A motorcycle crash can happen any time of day and anywhere.
Some spots in Mobile have greater odds for a crash than others. I-10 is one of those spots. It’s where a little more than a year ago Paul Phipps was killed on the Daphne side of I-10 hit by a driver who kept on going.
“It doesn’t even seem real, it hasn’t sunk in yet that we’ve lost him because I find myself all the time still trying to call him and stuff and realizing no wait he’s not here anymore,” said the victim’s brother Glenn Guinand. Glenn says he’ll never get on a motorcycle after what happened.
“Just take that extra couple of seconds, check your surroundings that’s all it could take to save someone’s life,” said Guinand. In the last year, Mobile Fire-Rescue received to 121 calls where a motorcycle was involved. Putting those records on a map, you can see many are clustered around the highest traffic areas in Mobile. The worst being Tillman’s Corner, I-10 near the Wallace Tunnel, and especially the I-10 corridor between Dauphin and Government street–particularly merging on and off the interstate.
“It comes so quickly it’s really hard to judge what the distance and distance closure when you pull out and the car’s coming into you,” said the owner of Moto-Tech Jean-Paul Stassi. In Baldwin County, Daphne Police say their worst spots are the intersections of Highway 90 and 98 along with the I-10 and Highway 181 interchange.
Bikers have been documenting these close calls with affordable bike and helmet mounted cameras. One of the most egregious examples comes from this video taken on I-10 where a semi-truck nearly collides with a biker.
“There are 18-wheelers that can’t even see you and will merge into your lane and run you right off the road,” said Stassi. One common refrain among bikers is every intersection is dangerous, not just the ones we’re highlighting. They say ride to be noticed and assume no one else on the road can see you.
“I think with text messaging and everything now it’s gotten so much worse with teenagers and wrecks that’s why a lot of them have loud pipes, running LED lights on bikes just doing what we can do on our part,” said the General Manager of Hall’s Motorsports Dion Carrera. Hall’s Motorsports sits right next door to Beads and Leather in Mobile. Tommy Thompson clicks through digital folders full of patches he’s designed in memory of biker’s who’ve died on the road.
“Didn’t see them or the driver has taken off they hit these guys and women on a motorcycle and don’t have the respect them enough to stay around to see how bad they are,” said the owner of Beads and Leather Tommy Thompson. Every patch, a person like Paul Phipps–dying too soon.
“Something that takes an extra two seconds could save someone’s life,” said Glenn Guinand. Officials at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency add that it’s important for bikers to ride at their skill level. A spokesman says there are only two kinds of riders–the ones that have had an accident and the ones who are going to if they ride long enough.
We asked officials with FDOT to crunch the numbers for us in Escambia County. They said a specific query filtering only for motorcycles would not meet our deadline. Instead, they gave us data on the top intersections for collisions in Escambia County, Florida overall:
Intersection of N 9th Ave & E Wright St – Crash Count of 1189 with 0 fatal crashes.
Intersection of N 12th Ave & Bayfront Pkwy – Crash Count of 304 with 0 fatal crashes.
Intersection of Mobile Hwy & Saufley Field Rd & W Michigan Ave – Crash count of 291 with 0 fatal crashes.
This information was gathered from a 5 year span starting Jan. 1st 2013 through Dec 31st 2017.–Adam Rose with FDOT
The Florida Highway Patrol also sent us data on the top intersections specifically for crashes. You can see their report here.