Crash near Fenwick injures motorcycle driver


The Delaware State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit this week was investigating a motorcycle crash near Fenwick Island that seriously injured a Maryland man.

The DSP said their preliminary investigation determined that the incident occurred about 10:27 p.m. on Sunday May 15, as Cody N. Becker, 23, of Manchester, Md., was driving a 2005 Honda CBR1000 motorcycle northbound on Dukes Avenue near Fenwick Island, while a 38-year-old Selbyville man was driving a 2006 Honda Ridgeline pickup truck eastbound on Lighthouse Road, approaching the intersection with Dukes Avenue.

According to the DSP, as the Ridgeline traveled through the intersection, Becker attempted to make a left turn and struck the right-side front of truck within the intersection. Becker was ejected from the motorcycle and landed in the intersection, while the pickup truck came to a controlled stop on the shoulder of Lighthouse Road, east of the intersection.

DSP officers reported that Becker was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash and was airlifted by Delaware State Police Aviation (Trooper 2) to Christiana Medical Center, where he was listed in critical condition.

The driver of the truck was properly restrained and uninjured in the crash, they said.

The Collision Reconstruction Unit was continuing their investigation into the incident early this week, and no charges had been filed. Lighthouse Road and Dukes Avenue were closed for approximately three hours while the crash was investigated and cleared.

If anyone may have witnessed the collision they are being asked to contact MCpl. K. Argo at (302) 703-3264. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the Internet at www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com, or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES) using the keyword “DSP.”

The DSP also noted that, with warmer weather fast approaching, more motorcycles are back out on the road and the drivers of passenger vehicles need to be alert. Motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway, they emphasized. Drivers of passenger vehicles, they said, should always remember to follow these steps to help keep motorcyclists safe:

• Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width. Although it may seem as though there is enough room in a traffic lane for an automobile and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the full room to maneuver safely. Do not share the lane.

• Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.

• Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look, due to their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.

• Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle — motorcycle signals usually are not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.

• Remember that road conditions that are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Be aware that motorcyclists may need to change speed or adjust their position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions, such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings and grooved pavement.

• Don’t tailgate a motorcycle. Allow more following distance — 3 or 4 seconds — when following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.

Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too, noted the DSP, including following the rules of the road and not speeding or weaving in and out of traffic. They should be alert to other drivers and always wearing protective gear, including high-visibility outerwear.

“Too often in a crash, the drivers of other vehicles involved say they never saw the motorcyclist and failed to respond in time. This is no excuse. Too many lives are lost for not checking twice.”

In 2014, motorcycles were involved in 398 crashes in Delaware — 12 of them being fatal, 232 of them resulting in personal injuries and 89 causing property damage. In 2015, motorcycles were involved in 402 crashes, and 20 of them were fatal, 209 of them were personal injuries and 106 were property-damage. The remainders of the crashes for both years were a result of minor or non-reportable crashes.

“Our message to all drivers is this: Help make this the first year in recent years when motorcycle fatalities do not increase. ‘Share the Road’ with motorcycles and ‘Look Twice.’”