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Man dies after head-on motorcycle accident on Iowa Street; road shut down for nearly five hours

Lawrence police and medics respond to a wreck reportedly involving a motorcycle and a car near Iowa Street and University Drive on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

Lawrence police and medics respond to a wreck reportedly involving a motorcycle and a car near Iowa Street and University Drive on Wednesday, August 31, 2011.

August 31, 2011, 6:22 p.m. Updated August 31, 2011, 10:43 p.m.


One person dies in van-motorcycle accident

Lawrence fire and medical personnel work the scene of an accident between a motorcycle and another vehicle. One person died at the scene after the Wednesday evening accident near Iowa Street and University Drive, an officer at the scene said. Enlarge video

Police Discuss Iowa Street Motorcycle Accident

Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman, discussed the investigation into a two-vehicle accident in which a motorcyclist died the evening of Aug. 31, 2011, on Iowa Street near University Drive. Enlarge video

Iowa Street and University Drive

A man died Wednesday in a rush-hour accident that shut down one of the city’s main thoroughfares for hours.

The accident at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday involved a motorcycle and a van near Iowa Street and University Drive, said Sgt. Matt Sarna, a Lawrence police spokesman.

Sarna said according to a preliminary investigation, it appeared the motorcyclist, headed northbound, veered into the lanes of oncoming traffic and was struck by the southbound van. Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical workers declared the motorcyclist dead at the scene, and no other injuries were reported.

“We believe that he was slowing for traffic and went into the other lane and got hit then,” Sarna said.

Iowa Street was closed in both directions between 15th Street and Stratford Road until just before 11 p.m. Wednesday as police investigated the crash. It caused major traffic headaches Wednesday evening in area neighborhoods near the Kansas University campus.

Police Wednesday night did not identify the motorcyclist, pending notification of family members. Sarna also did not release the man’s age or hometown.

A Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical supervisor initially asked about the availability of a helicopter ambulance, but it was later called off. The crash occurred on one of the city’s busiest streets.

“For any kind of vehicle during the rush hour, it’s always going to be busy, and we always tell people to drive carefully,” Sarna said. “In some instances they just need to be more aware of their surroundings when they’re driving. In this instance we’re not sure exactly what happened, so we can’t be as sure until we go through the whole investigation process.”

This is the second fatality in Lawrence in recent days after a Michigan man, who was possibly involved in a chase with a Tonganoxie police officer earlier, died in a North Lawrence crash early Saturday morning.

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BitterClinger 6 years, 7 months ago

Prayers going up for the motorcyclist's family and friends along with the driver of the SUV.

cj123 6 years, 7 months ago

Devastating to all involved! Thoughts and prayers to the families!

GUMnNUTS 6 years, 7 months ago

Very unfortunate. Was he wearing a helmet?

Ricci Moyer 6 years, 7 months ago

He was wearing a helmet. My fiance drove by right after it had happened and the helment was laying further down the street and his shoes had also been torn off because of it. My thoughts go out to the families involved in this.

gsxr600 6 years, 7 months ago

If a proper full-face helmet is affixed correctly (fully on, strap tightened on an snapped in) it should never come off even in high speed accidents

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

That's not necessarily true. The MAIDS report states that "9.1% of these helmets came off the wearer's head at some time during the accident, due to improper fastening or helmet damage during the accident. " Note the part about "... or helmet damage during the accident. " You can get a copy by registering and downloading the PDF's, here:

Without physically inspecting the helmet, we can't tell if it came off because of improper fitting, or damage.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the info. When I rode, I always wore a helmet, but knew darned well they weren't always 100% effective.

I had a friend who actually blamed his helmet for causing an accident. Fool was riding too fast and turned his head and looked back toward us. He hit a rock in the road and lost control. The helmet split down the middle during the resultant crash, but it sure as heck saved his life.

The head injury he received (in lieu of dying) caused him to lose his memory of a few seconds around the crash. No matter how many times we told him what happened, he refused to believe us and, since his last memory was of turning his head, was convinced that "the wind in his helmet" caused the accident. (At least the split in his helmet convinced him to keep wearing one regardless.)

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

The NHTSA says helmets are 78% ineffective in two-vehicle accidents in preventing moderate to sever head and facial injuries. Even if he was wearing a helmet (and one commenter says he was wearing a helmet, but it came off during the accident), the odds weren't in his favor. Read the NHTSA report,, here (PDF, pg's 29 and 30):

Same report: helmets are 72% ineffective overall in preventing TBI's, and in two-vehicle accidents, 75% ineffective (pg 31).

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

What that means is:

Helmets are 22% effective in two-vehicle accidents in preventing moderate to sever head and facial injuries.

Helmets are 28% effective overall in preventing TBI's, and in two-vehicle accidents, 25% effective.

Wear one.

Plurilingual 6 years, 7 months ago

What RonHolzwarth said.

Wearing a helmet will offer a higher probability of keeping your brains in your skull than not wearing one.

maddockt 6 years, 7 months ago

Did anyone see the color of bike and/or helmet? I know lots of riders...

Jonathan Kealing 6 years, 7 months ago

It looked like a black bike. Not much sign of color on it when I was out there.

maddockt 6 years, 7 months ago

Okay thank you. Most of my friends have been accounted for. One, who has a black sportsbike, hasn't been accounted for, but hopefully we reach him soon.

Kylee Manahan 6 years, 7 months ago

Both were black, but the bike was almost unrecognizable.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Hmmmmm, wonder if it had anything to do with the fact there isn't a turn lane there...? One of the most dangerous places in town for driving (high number of accidents) and we can't make it safer/solve the problem with a turn lane? It was done on 6th street by hy-vee where eastbound left turners would get rear-ended, why not there?!

xclusive85 6 years, 7 months ago

Wasn't a rearend accident. The biker swerved into oncoming traffic. Tragic, yes. But, why try to fix a problem where there isn't one.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

I find it hard to believe you are that delusional to think there is not a problem with accidents in that area. There are stats proving it. I suggest using the search function on your page to learn about it. :)

auntmimi210 6 years, 7 months ago

xclusive85 - Yes, we know it wasn't a rearend accident. Yes, it sounds as if he did swerve into oncoming traffic. But what you're missing is that he might have swerved to AVOID a rearend accident. We don't know why he swerved, yet. Was there a line of cars stopped ahead & he didn't see them in time, or a car attempting to turn that stopped too quickly or didn't signal, & he just instinctively swerved to avoid rear-ending a car? Did he get distracted by something & accidentally swerve? Was there a sudden mechanical problem w/ his bike? We may never know. But being a lifelong Lawrence resident, I know I have seen lots of near-misses in that area, where someone turning East either stopped very quickly &/or didn't signal, etc. & almost caused an accident. Regardless of what happened, my thought & prayers go out to this man, & to his friends & family.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm guessing, but the traffic there can suddenly stop during rush hour, so he may have been going just a little too fast for the traffic conditions and swerved into the oncoming traffic to avoid the car in front of him.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 7 months ago

@wtff The neighborhood has been trying to get one for years, but for some reason it's never made any headway. It wouldn't have done him any good though, as he was northbound.

Our prayers to the rider and his family, and those in the van.

@ maddockt. I hope your friend is OK.

maddockt 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you, unfortunately it seems that it was our friend... we're all in shock.

Ricci Moyer 6 years, 7 months ago

I am so sorry to hear that. You will be in all of our thoughts and prayers.

Ralph Reed 6 years, 7 months ago

We're so for your loss maddockt. We'll light a candle for him and his family.

Jamea CallsHim 6 years, 7 months ago

So sorry to hear about your loss. Let me know if you need anything. <3

John Hamm 6 years, 7 months ago

So sorry to hear this. Sad for anyone but especially when it's a friend.

ReCollectiveHeart 6 years, 7 months ago

The accident happened in front of our home and I was just arriving home literally seconds afterward. My family and I send our most sincere condolences to all his family and friends and same for the ladies in the van.

Boston_Corbett 6 years, 7 months ago

@ Ralph Reed. Actually, I believe the neighborhood, or at least several in the neighborhood, opposed it. I believe when a turn lane on University was proposed some years back, at least some residents on University St believed it would significantly increase traffic counts and hence become a safety issue of its own. At least I remember listening to one such member, a local trial attorney, go on at some length on that issue.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

How selfish. It would help drastically cut accidents instead of people slamming on their brakes or swerving into the other lane to avoid the suddenly turning vehicle. I'm talking turn lane like what they did by hy-vee on 6th because of a similar sudden-turning-vehicle situation on a very busy street. It says he was slowing for traffic and went into the other lane, he could've been trying to avoid a pile-up because of a left turner. Also, why buy a house next to/near a busy street (highway, btw) if you don't like traffic.

broadpaw 6 years, 7 months ago

^^ This. The neighborhood is near the the biggest hub of activity in town, KU campus. Traffic needs to be managed, this isn't a quiet subdivision neighborhood. Maintaining quietness is more important than safe traffic flow? Ridiculous, move to the cookie-cutter houes in West Lawrence.

Shame that it takes a tragic event like this to make that point so clear.

broadpaw 6 years, 7 months ago

(This was directed at the neighborhood homeowners that fought to avoid a turn lane on the busiest street in town. Not directed at any particular commenter here).

bklonnie 6 years, 7 months ago


There is a stoplight at Harvard and Iowa that people can easily turn down to avoid turning onto University, Oxford, and Stratford. People are just lazy, and don't want to be inconvenienced by having to turn earlier at that light.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

As long as people can turn there, they will turn there. Why get mad at them?

Personally, if I were heading south, I'd turn at the light at Harvard because I'd much rather be moving toward my location than sitting still, waiting for oncoming traffic to stop so I could turn...traffic that seems to keep coming forever at certain times of the day.

But heading north on Iowa? Turning into my street? Why on earth not? I'd be on the right side of Iowa turning right...and a motorcyclist (or car) passing me on the left would not have to swerve into oncoming traffic to get past me.

Remember that we do not know all the pertinent details. All we do know that the motorcyclist was heading north and swerved into oncoming traffic. During rush hour...when traffic is slow in that location even if no one is trying to turn onto University Drive.

Like it or not, the motorcyclist could just as easily have been trying to zip around traffic and misjudged the room he had on the wrong side of the diving line.

I feel very sorry his family...and for the driver of the van. And I'm not going to "blame" anyone until I have far more facts than I do now.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Whoops...that's "wrong side of the dividing line"

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago


What? It happened at University Dr. They were probably avoiding people backed up waiting on a vehicle to turn left (west) on orchard.

There which I noticed both directions will overlap or stop next to each other when one person on either side is trying to turn left. It's impossible for them to turn because the lanes on both sides are blocked. You don't have to widen the street very much at all on either side to fit a turn lane in there. Look at 6th street west of hy-vee. How will there be more traffic...Just the same people trying to get home. But we would rather read about people getting into accidents and unfortunately losing their lives sometimes than to make it safer for everybody.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes...the second paragraph of the article said "The accident at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday involved a motorcycle and a van near Iowa Street and University Drive". Plus the photos specifically show the location...and it was most certainly NOT Orchard Lane.

Indeed, there's no mention of Orchard Lane at all...which is at the top of the hill and past both University Drive and Green Road on the west/left side heading north. (And past University, Stratford and Hilltop on the right/east side).

As far as turning lanes? Forget the turning lanes. It would be a lot easier, cheaper, and much, much safer to simply put up signs prohibiting left turns at those intersections.

Except for Green, which mostly goes to BA Green Construction, both University and Orchard can be reached from other streets. And all can be reached from the opposite direction on Iowa.

The world will not come to an end if people can't make left turns at University Drive or Orchard from Iowa Street. But lives will be saved. I vote for saving lives.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- Ahh yes, because everyone that goes to ku that lives in that area and turns there is from Lawrence and knows every single road that goes everywhere in that area.

I find it compelling that you have no care for your fellow man and would rather have accidents and fatalities there than to help make it safer--for everybody all around. I also find it terribly disrespectful that you are trying to completely disregard the fact that a kid died there yesterday.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- I know you don't understand the point. So here it is again, short version. People are going to turn there whether you like it or not. Why can't we just make it safer. That's all I'm saying.

I live in the area and I am intelligent enough to look if anyone is behind me and if the road will be clear to turn left onto Orchard lane without waiting before I decide to turn there or go to the light.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Didn't they put in a turn lane for O'Reilly and Checkers there? Widened it up a little?

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

What now? There was already space for 1 car to turn into the Checker's parking lot at the beginning of the turn lane. The widening extended it east to make it s a f e r for those that need to turn into O'Reilly. Like those that work there and go on regular deliveries to car repair shops.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

I forgot to mention that you keep trying to place blame on me for some reason and telling me to grow up. Is that it?

And what about the pedestrians? They have a choice to walk. Not holding it against them or anything before you try telling me to grow up again; it is their choice to walk. They could also contact a friend to get picked up if they really wanted to avoid the trek to the light or wherever their destination is. It would be a pleasant and helpful way to avoid the heat and long walking time to their destination.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh, wait for it, wait for it.... There it is! "Your need to grow up is demonstrated in your selfishness."

Yeah, real selfish giving friends a ride.

Ok, so why couldn't they have they not put a driveway there and took that fence down between the parking lot of Checkers and there and made everybody go to the light to turn left to get into the parking lot? I know how you like people to drive all the way around.

I better say that that last part is sarcasm, as I understand you have a difficult time understanding it.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Laughable. I am not overweight, fat or anything remotely close and my blood pressure is in check. I don't believe in fairytales. I wish I saw this comment earlier, I don't have feet that "god" gave me. I follow all rules of the road, I am not trying to get pulled over for some b.s. If you have a problem with the city's maintenance work, contact them. Don't attempt to blame others that have nothing to do with it.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Che is right. Ban left turns at Orchard and University from Iowa. Problem solved. (And I say a 24-hour ban, not a rush hour ban.)

Being intelligent does not protect any of us from unintelligent people. Or from overestimating our own intelligence.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago


Unfortunately whether you like it or not, no matter what a sign says, some people will still do it anyway and there are also driveways there as well. Should we ban those people from turning into their homes? Because they will be sitting there waiting.

I believe you missed the entire point of my "intelligent" post about making sure that there is no one that will hit me from behind or have anyone to wait on to go by before I decide to turn there or go to the light. I will not let myself come to a stop on Iowa to turn left. I don't know what that has to do with anyone else but myself and my decision to turn there or not.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago


You keep distorting my points and it's truly saddening. Not to mention that you continue to completely forget the fact that somebody died there yesterday. Go tell their friends and family on here how much you completely disregard a young life lost like it is nothing.

I am sure they will appreciate it.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

"The other thing, if you are at KU is the bus. It will take you pretty much anywhere in town for free. The university really needs to stop providing places to park and get more people on the bus to avoid all the congestion and pollution from everybody driving when a bus is already running."

I guess you have never heard of "park and ride"? Kids park, in a parking lot (Lied center) and get on the bus. There are multiple buses at once loading and unloading people.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

This is fabulous. First: I am not whining, you can't come up with a meaningful response to what I say and keep trying to distort it. Second: Where do you get that I am a hot head because I have opinions. Third: I think you need to take some reading comprehension classes. I never said that I was turning when it was illegal. I said no matter who likes it or not, or if there is a sign there, people will still be turning there. Stop completely distorting what I say. Its clear here.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

"I want my turn lane, I want to drive without people slowing me down, I want, I want"

You have made it blatantly obvious that you are delusional. You really are pulling things out of nowhere. It's pretty funny and sad at the same time actually.. that there are people that have made it this far like this. I said that I will not come to a stop on Iowa street to turn left. I said that I evaluate the danger level before I decide to turn left (I'm the only one around) or go to the light. I never said anything about "my" turn lane. I never said " I want to drive without people slowing me down". You clearly invented those things to try to help your case.

Too bad that you keep forgetting that someone lost their life.

A guy lost his life there yesterday but you really couldn't care less. Go spit on his grave too, while you're at it. Complete lack of respect for the guy, his family, his friends and anyone whose life he impacted just so you can try to win an argument on the internet. Stay classy, cheech.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Sure, wtff. There will always be exceptions. People who deliberately chose to break the law. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't have those laws. Nor does it mean that those laws won't have a positive impact.

As far as the driveways are concerned, the number of people turning into them is very small when compared to people trying to, say, turn left onto University heading south on Iowa. Plus there actually is a turn lane for many of them.

Plus I was NOT saying to ban left turns on Iowa. Indeed, I specifically said to place those signs at those two specific intersections, since they seem to be the problem areas (particularly the east University Drive intersection).

I'll admit...I could have said "problem mostly eliminated", rather than "problem solved"...but that's seems awfully nitpicky. Frankly, I really don't believe we should be building turn lanes because there will be people who choose to break the law and ignore the "no left turn" signs. Or that we should build them to convenience a small number of people who have...and already use...nearby alternatives.

By the way, my comment about how there always will be people who think they're more intelligent than they actually are was not a slam on you, although you appeared to take it that way.

All I was saying was that we've all been affected by people doing dumb things...and we've all done dumb things ourselves. It has nothing to do with being intelligent. it has everything to do with being human.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

I appeared to take it that way as it was a response to something I said and was a direct reference to it. thanks

John Hamm 6 years, 7 months ago

Right, the neighborhood didn't want a left turn lane because it would generat higher traffic in their area.

conservative 6 years, 7 months ago

My sympathies to all involved, horrible loss for one family and a tragic accident that the van driver couldn't avoid but will be with him forever. That stretch of Iowa is already scheduled for reconstruction including turn lanes.

gsxr600 6 years, 7 months ago

Any indication why he "swerved into oncoming traffic"? Was he trying to make a quick turn, or was he veering to avoid an abruptly stopped vehicle directly in his path? Either way this is tragic.

Rush hour is bad enough when school's not in session and I think we've all had close calls when someone is trying to turn left on Iowa, holds up traffic, and many people are forced to brake hard to avoid hitting the car in front of them. Also it's 35 through there but 99% of people go 40+ and 45 is not uncommon.

I don't want to speculate on the accident because I wasn't there and maybe I'm biased toward motorcycles but I think it's vitally important to recognize them on the road. I see so many cagers text, talk on their phones, blab at their kids, and pay no attention to their surroundings around them. It's even worse when Johnson County (let's be honest) drivers and other non-locals drive overly aggressive in a town they aren't familiar with.

As a motorcyclist trying to stay safe during rush hour I would recommend taking residential streets when you have to (30mph a bike can stop on a dime), and use stoplights when crossing main intersections. Don't fight traffic.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

Is there a really short text that means:

"I'm driving right now, I'll text you back when I can."?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

No...but there is the ability we're all born with to be able to ignore a phone when it's ringing. I educate young people (and some not so young) all the time that it is not essential for them to answer the phone, be it a call or a text.

I explain that "whoever is trying to contact you is doing it at THEIR convenience...not yours. Why are they more important than you are? Why is their time more important than yours?" I also get them to think about how much THEY like it when someone they're with ignores THEM for whoever is calling matter who is calling them or how often. Needless to say, no one likes that.

Very slowly but very surely I convince people that, not only does a phone NOT have to be answered every time it rings...but you also don't even have to check to see who is calling! You can just ignore it till a more convenient time.

Once they discover the freedom from a ringing phone, every single one has thanked me. (Some of these kids actually get 200+ messages a day! Can you imagine how much that interrupts your life???)

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Like the young woman who, while texting, walked right into a street lamp pole on Mass during one of the parades last year and knocked herself flat on her butt. Once she was determined to be OK, she was the object of much laughter.

Or how about the other young woman who blindly started to walk right into 10th Street off Mass. She was fortunately grabbed by my friend and jerked back. She immediately turned and slapped him across the face and started screaming at him...till we got her to turn around and see the 18-wheeler she'd been just about to walk right out in front of. It scared the living daylights out of the truck driver, who had slammed on his brakes.

I've often wondered if either of those young women learned their lesson.

Danielle Brunin 6 years, 7 months ago

I had a similar experience with a grown woman who was walking and texting, and not paying attention to her surroundings in downtown Topeka. She was in the middle of a busy intersection and had no clue that she no longer had the "Walk" signal. Cars started honking, she looked up, and realized that there were a lot of angry drivers with the green light. If one of those drivers had been texting and as oblivious as she was, kablammo! She was clearly embarrassed and ran to the other side of the street... where she promptly started texting again. Not only that, but in that neighborhood, she would've been an excellent target for a mugger or worse. She never would've seen it coming. Seriously lady, is it worth it?!?

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

I never said that, but keep telling your delusional self that. A distraction is a distraction, but you have a hard time understanding that and keep saying cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone cell phone, as if it is the only distraction on the road. It gets a bit tiring. I'll say it again, a distraction is a distraction.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech replies… Or someone swerving out of their lane as they were texting. The texting thing has gotten totally ridiculous. I was on the bypass west of 59 heading east when a numbnumb pulled out of Kasold and drove 55mph, then as we were getting closer to the exit she accelerated. Thanks to a red light and another red at 33rd I was able to pull up to see that she was totally engrossed in her texting, even not noticing the light had turned green. That is just one example of many and when on a motorcycle it is even more terrifying to be cruising beside someone who is texting away. Enforcement please!

Or someone swerving out of their lane as they were changing the radio. The radio thing has gotten totally ridiculous. Or someone swerving out of their lane as they were turning up the a/c. The a/c thing has gotten totally ridiculous. Or someone swerving out of their lane as they were shifting their car. The shifting thing has gotten totally ridiculous. Or someone swerving out of their lane as they were talking to their passenger. The passenger thing has gotten totally ridiculous.

Were people not distracted before cell phones? Before cell phones and "texting" people didn't get into accidents?

Holy cow, you learn something new everyday. Thank you for that gem of knowledge, cheech. No really, thanks!

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- Don't try to turn this around on me. I really don't know where you are trying to go with it, but it's obvious you have a vendetta for cell phones. You are failing at understanding here that people can be distracted by anything while driving. Not just cell phones which is what I was trying to illustrate with my post. Explaining that to you doesn't make me "one of them" and doesn't make any sense to tell me to grow up when I am capable of understanding that any distraction could cause an accident. I don't just blame those kids and their new fangled talking square. Drunk drivers?

Hands free devices were made to avoid the distraction you mentioned, but they still resulted in accidents like any other distraction.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- "You claim that the city spending thousands of dollars for turn lanes is necessary because of your concern for safety yet you are defending what isn't just what I'm saying but studies proving the cell phone and texting in particular is incredibly dangerous."

The way you continue to try to turn this around on me is truly pitiful. How am I defending anything by pointing out that any distraction can cause an accident. Nice try. I will give you one thing though, you make my head hurt trying to explain things to you.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- I found some stats for you, and before you tell me to "grow up" again, I suggest you check them out; they are from the U.S. Dept. of Transportation.

Here are some statistics for you: Pedestrians Killed, by Related Factors Factors Number

Improper crossing of roadway or intersection...842 Walking, playing, working, etc.,in roadway......703 Failure to yield right of way........662 Under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication ..................558 Darting or running into road.............469 Not visible.........................446 Inattentive(talking,eating,etc.).....71

I did not list all of them after this, because the numbers decreased. You mentioned people walking and being on the phone so there's a stat for you.

Pedalcyclists Killed, by Related Factors Factors Number Failure to yield right of way .............117

This is the #1 killer of pedalcyclists, nearly double of the amount of the next one listed.

And finally: Related Factors for Drivers and Motorcycle Riders Involved in Fatal Crashes Factors Number

Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit ..............9,654 Failure to keep in proper lane or running off road ..................................7,696 Under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medication ......................6,957 Inattentive (talking, eating, etc.) .............4,196 Failure to yield right of way.......................3,067

Notice talking/inattentive driving is listed after alcohol/drug related fatal crashes at 2761 less.

I just thought I would take some time out of my day to share that with you.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

*share the link to the statistics with you

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Why would there be a separate statistic if it was the same thing.

Your comment is truly laughable. Nobody put a gun to the pedestrian's head and forced them to improperly cross the street. If they improperly crossed the street correctly, perhaps they would not have been hit. (correctly meaning not in the way of a car) It was their decision to cross there. So we can have cars drive out of their way, but pedestrians can't go out of their way to cross the street at a crosswalk. My mind is boggled right now. Thanks for the laughs today.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure I know how to walk.

You still never addressed why it is acceptable for a vehicle to have to drive to the light to turn, but its blasphemy for pedestrians to do the same to the crosswalk. Meaning.. If you're having that hard of a time walking to the light, are you really fit enough to be out walking in the first place? You know what you're getting into leaving the house-- where you have to travel, cross, etc.

You don't like the statistics provided by the Dept. of Transportation, so somehow you decided to turn their information on me. Classic.

hypertext 6 years, 7 months ago

It's my experience that everyone in this often drives UNDER the speed limit, and it drives me CRAZY!
HOWEVER, The kids are back, they suck at driving and this time of year they do drive pretty aggressively so... be careful.

I am also a motorcyclist, I've accepted the fact that everyone in a car is trying to kill me a long time ago.

However, there is no reason, ever EVER EVER EVER to be driving in the oncomming traffic lane. Save being pushed into it by someone merging to your lane...

eje 6 years, 7 months ago

while he may have possibly been driving too close to the car in front of him, he wasnt really the type of guy to purposely drive into oncoming traffic. as a motorcyclist, you know that its nearly impossible to slam on your brakes. if he was in fact a bit too close to the car in front, i would guess he was trying not to crash and the outcome of the situation ended up terribly.

Kylee Manahan 6 years, 7 months ago

I talked to the lady driving the van and she said she had no idea why he had come into her lane, but another driver said he was on the inside lane and apparently was driving a little too close to the car in front. The car in front put on their brakes and he swerved (unfortunately) into the oncoming traffic instead of attempting to move to the outside lane. Horrific scene, my prayers go out to his family and friends. One of his friends was on sight, in shock.

Sharon Aikins 6 years, 7 months ago

Ironically, I was driving north on Iowa yesterday and noticed a motorcyclist who wasn't driving irratically but was switching lanes a few times. He was a man probalby in his 50's. What caught my attention was the fact that he wasn't wearing a helmet. The head is very vulnerable so why risk it? At the same time, he had ear buds in, obviously listening to something, which could be distracting. I was just hoping that he made it to his destination without incident,

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

Odd, isn't it? People keep wanting motorcyclists to wear helmets, but no one talks about the need for helmets in cars. Let's compare, and see who needs the helmets...

The NHTSA says 15% of motorcyclists hospitalized suffered a TBI (pg 17, PDF at The CDC says it's 22% ( Let's take the CDC figure and double it - since nobody seems to have stats for riders who weren't hospitalize and died from head injuries. So we're saying of the 4,281 motorcycle fatalities in 2009, 44% died with head injuries, for a total of 1,883.

In passenger vehicle accidents, side-impacts accounted for 27% of all fatalities in 2009 (PDF, , with 60% of those fatalities involving brain injury ( That means of the 33,808 fatalities in passenger vehicles (PDF, approximately 9,128 died from side impacts, and 5,476 suffered brain injuries!

Compare again: 1,883 MC riders died with head injuries (and we doubled the CDC number) while 5,476 passenger vehicle occupants died with head injuries - just in side impacts, and we're saying it's stupid for who to go without a helmet?

"But we wear seat belts!" Yes, and still 5,476 of you died from head injuries. What's your point?

"But we're protected by our car!" Yeah... and what do you think you're hitting your head against, killing 5,476 of you in side impacts?

And maybe you aren't wearing seat belts, actually. According to the IIHS, when frontal airbags were deployed, 60% of the fatalities happened to drivers NOT wearing their belts: (

I can't find anyone having the total number of passenger vehicle fatalities dying with head injuries; I suspect the NHTSA doesn't want to scare people.

Would we like to talk about the bigger head injury issue? You know - the 1.7 million people suffering a TBI every year, with 595,000 coming from people falling down, killing 52,000 people and costing us over $60 billion in health care... or did you just want to stick with 1,883 motorcyclists?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

Side curtain airbags dramatically reduce head injuries, and are not in very many vehicles yet. But, in 2013 they will be required to be installed in all new vehicles sold in the United States.

There are a very large number of older vehicles on the road that do not have them. Once there are more of them in use, your statistics will be very different.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

It appears that you are quite clever in manipulating statistics in order to further an agenda.

This statement has no statistical meaning at all:

"Compare again: 1,883 MC riders died with head injuries (and we doubled the CDC number) while 5,476 passenger vehicle occupants died with head injuries - just in side impacts, and we're saying it's stupid for who to go without a helmet?"

The only meaningful way to compare the two is not to count total deaths, but rather to count them per mile driven.

There are a lot more cars on the road than motorcycles, and cars typically drive many more miles per year.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." - Mark Twain

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

They aren't my statistics. They came from the most popular "helmets save lives" people; the NHTSA and IIHS.

And according to your philosophy, "miles driven" is what counts when you die, not the fact that a helmet could have prevented it? So it's preventing fatalities and injuries you're really worried about?

Hey... maybe we can use your philosophy to decide which football players get helmets and pads, based on the average number of plays per game, and help schools save money on sports equipment. Those playing less, have a lower risk. Makes perfect sense!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

"it's preventing fatalities and injuries you're really worried about?"


"decide which football players get helmets and pads"

That decision has been made for my nephew. Only the best, his parents buy helmets for him, and he has extra and the best pads, because his parents consider the equipment that the school issues to be insufficient. And I believe they are absolutely correct. It's true that the school does have a limited budget, that is definitely unfortunate.

"Those playing less, have a lower risk."

That's true, but you are certainly stretching a point.

At the extreme end, those sitting on the sidelines for a game don't need any equipment at all, they will need them only when they are on the field or for practice.

I think you're maybe quoting a source that has an agenda, because if you look at it in a statistical manner, most of your sources seem to be biased.

I've taken quite a lot of statistics classes, they are required for the Electrical Engineering program at KU, and I certainly understand how statistics can be easily manipulated.

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

The sources absolutely are biased! The sources all push the "helmets for motorcyclists" agenda when they're own statistics say motorcycles are one of the smallest sources of TBI's.

The PDF from the NHTSA (the "helmets save lives" people) says on page 3 that a study by Kraus et al reports that thoracic and other bodily injuries "... where the major contributors to reduced survival following a head injury" in hospitalized motorcyclists. For the rest of the NHTSA report, those major contributors were ignored and statistics generated based only on head injury.

If you're observant, the NHTSA statistics lump head AND facial injuries together. If you only skin your nose, and died from major thoracic and long-bone trauma, you were counted in the "head/facial injury" category. And still the odds are small that helmets help: they conclude helmets are, generally, 67% ineffective.

And that's biased. Cars lose. Wear your helmets!

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

But they are your statistics. You did guesstimate your 44%. And you did compare total motorcycle accidents to only side-impact car accidents...when the appropriate comparison should be between all motorcycle accidents and all car accidents.

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

Nobody tracks TBI's in all accidents for cars. I gave cars the edge. I doubled the CDC statistic to 44%, which almost triples the NHTSA estimate, and applied that to ALL motorcycle accidents. I then used the ONLY NHTSA statistic I can find for cars - and that's for only a subset of all car accidents. And cars STILL lose!

Even if we said 100% of all motorcycle accidents suffered TBI and use the one-and-only partial estimate from the NHTSA, cars STILL lose! Which proves the point: more people die with head injuries in CARS than on motorcycles and in far greater numbers!

You're rationalizing away the need to cover your head in a car. Based on what - it would be too inconvenient for you to cover your head and protect your self? That's the kind of excuse people use to force laws on who politicians and voters call "stupid people" incapable of protecting themselves. Thanks for your unintentional support!

gphawk89 6 years, 7 months ago

"The only meaningful way to compare the two is not to count total deaths, but rather to count them per mile driven."

Per mile driven... So if someone died in an accident while driving to the local 7-11, that's somehow more significant than the same person dying in an accident while driving to California (it'd be more deaths per mile)? No, it's the total deaths. It'd got nothing to do with statistics.

You're right, there are a lot more cars on the road, and they drive many more miles - so it would seem that requiring automobile drivers to wear helmets would save many more lives than requiring the same from cyclists.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

We're not on the same track at all.

What I'm talking about is how likely someone is to get killed in a trip of a certain distance, such as to Topeka and back. Or, how likely it is for you to die in a given year.

If you really think that has nothing to do with statistics, I would suggest that you start with a course in Algebra.

KrashTestDumby 6 years, 7 months ago

If statistics don't count, then why does the NHTSA come-out every year (illegally, I should note), and fill the media with "helmets save lives" propaganda filled to the hilt with... wait for it... statistics! The EXACT statistics I have used to show cars are killing more people with head injuries than all motorcycle fatalities.

"Miles driven" isn't a good basis to ignore the need for helmets, if helmets save lives. Helmets don't cost a penny more for a car driver, and they'd be just as effective in preventing fatalities.

I hear it all the time, "if just one life could be saved!" But those who spew the shibboleth aren't truly concerned - they wouldn't accept being forced to wear a helmet in their car to save even one life. It's called being a hypocrite.

Steve Jacob 6 years, 7 months ago

No way left turns should be allowed onto University Drive at any time.

grimpeur 6 years, 7 months ago


Left turns should be completely prohibited. There should be a jersey barrier from Harvard to 15th.

Send KU traffic to KU via 15th, not via University or Stratford. Neighborhood residents returning from the north use Harvard. Problem solved.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Unfortunately, it seems that it is too clustered of an area to have enough room to put in any kind of barrier.

John Hamm 6 years, 7 months ago

Or any of the other cross streets in that area! The city one time proposed limiting them at certain times but caved to pressure to not do it. Constantly have people braking hard 'cause they weren't paying attention to which street they wanted to turn onto in that area. It's absurd but normal for Lawrence.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

While I've been siding with you when you make factual points, I can't side with the whining about "old men" having to walk further to cross streets.

As an old broad myself, with artificial almost everything and more to come, I can't buy into the wallowing-in-self-pity, woe-is-me, CATER-to-me routine. Sorry.

Walking is good for us (albeit incredibly painful for some of us) and the only way that this too-much-walking could be effectively dealt with would be for there to be crosswalks and pedestrian stop lights everywhere we wanted them...which is NOT going to happen.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Make a difference then! I call a truce now that I know why you're being rude, all I ask is just don't get on here upset with everybody about the conditions of the crosswalks and sidewalks when it has nothing to do with them. Stop complaining on a website and get out and do something about it. You feel so strongly about it, make it into a positive thing. Get the city to take notice about the horrid walkway conditions, get your other walking friends involved, make a difference. Misguided anger, turn it into a positive and make change happen. Continue to contact the city until you get results!!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

srj, grimpeur, and OonlyBonly:

How about requiring drivers to watch the road, and making it illegal to drive into the back of a vehicle in front of you? Or maybe, making you pay for the damages when you crash into the back of a car in front of you?

Oh, never mind, that's the way it is already.

Maybe automatic sensors that prevent such accidents by automatically applying the brakes should be installed on the cars that offenders of that law, in a similar fashion as the now required ignition interlock for DUI offenders.

The technology exists, I have distance sensors on the back of my car, and they are certainly helpful, but they don't apply the brakes. They only alert me of the distance to an object behind my vehicle.

notorious_agenda 6 years, 7 months ago

Like this post. I agree completely. Left turns there should be prohibited by law in that area during peak times at the very minimum. There is no room to widen that street for turn lanes imho. Having been here over 13 years that intersection has always been a problem area where all of a sudden someone slams on their brakes to turn.

Curtis Lange 6 years, 7 months ago

23-24 yr old was the rider per information I've been able to piece together. Won't put his name out of respect (sure the LJWorld will have it up soon enough), but he was from Western KS...sounds like this was his first semester at KU after spending time at K-State.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

There are a lot of people that seem to be unaware of two basic things:

1) A motorcycle is entitled to an entire lane, not just part of it.

2) A motorcycle can stop MUCH more quickly than a car can, so you should always allow extra distance when a motorcycle is in front of you.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

cheech- "That's right, although you are above the law and think speeding down residential streets..."

Hold the phone. Ok, because someone turns onto a residential street, they are automatically speeding? That's what the post implies. Where did this come from? Please inform me of where your comment comes from in relation to this post.

"If you want to ride my tail which puts me in danger..."

Ok, so you think that someone poking down a quiet residential street behind you is such a danger to you that you are willing to...

" are darn right I will adjust my speed to deal with the potential danger you have created." (aka slamming on your brakes to say Hey! I'm God!)

.....create an accident where there isn't one is just pathetic. Why create an accident for no reason, who really created the danger, here?

This post made it obvious that you do not actually care about anyone but yourself and are willing to prove it by creating an accident that will cost insurance to rise and tax payer's money to be wasted on police, EMTs, etc. for an intentional "accident". Who really needs to grow up?

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

But you said you happen to "adjust your speed" when someone is behind you following "too closely" according to you. Why can't you just keep driving? If something happens, insurance will cover it in that sense, but why try to create an accident where there is not currently one. So if you turned and were very slowly getting up to speed and Cheeseburger turned and quickly got up to speed you would view them as speeding up on you, no? Why is that? You're both driving the same speed limit, just one got there sooner and is behind you. I don't understand why someone behind you matters so much to you that you would go out of your way and take time out of your day to start something.

"I know the concept of anticipating a potential accident is something that people who can't organize their life in a way that they can be where they need to be on time without risking the lives of others is lost on you," Hilarious. Did you completely miss where I said I evaluate the danger level in assessing if I will turn left or go to the light. I assessed the potential accident right there. What do others' organizational skills have to do with me specifically in regards to your post? It seems you're trying to group me in with people that you dislike to try to add fuel to your fire. Clever.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

"If someone is driving on my bumper I will slow down to lessen the potential impact "

I am taking this literally as you write it. So if they are on your bumper, you will let off the gas and slow down so they are closer than before? Maybe you should just stick to walking or the bus. I mean, you do love to walk long distances and probably have a bus "going right by" your house, right? As does everyone else, right? So you want people to use the bus, but you're upset about park and ride. Makes perfect delusional sense.

Monica Miller 6 years, 7 months ago

Why no coverage of the 4 car pileup at 23rd & Lawrence Ave this morning?? Traffic was backed up terribly! Looked like the second car got the worst from both ends.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

If all the accidents that occur in Lawrence were covered, the paper would be full of them. Only the most spectacular ones are in the news. But maybe there could be an entire section of the newspaper titled: 'Accidents in Lawrence yesterday'.

Many accidents happen in Lawrence every single day, and this would be an interesting question to ask our local police department:

"How long has it been since there was not a single accident all day long in Lawrence?"

They would have to wade through a very large number of files in order to answer that one.

hipper_than_hip 6 years, 7 months ago

Being in a car doesn't guarentee survival in a head on accident.

chetrico79 6 years, 7 months ago

Totally pointless comment. I've ridden motorcycles all over the country without accident. You have to be extra cautious because drivers can be very careless (stupid) and now we have cell phones to add to the list of driver distractions. Don't drive those killer cars, bootlegger, and crawl under your bed for safe keeping! Tragically, accidents happen even to the best and safest of drivers/riders. My sympathies to the rider, his family and friends, and to the innocent van driver for the nightmares she'll have to relive on a daily basis.

beaujackson 6 years, 7 months ago



Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

February 8, 2011 City Commission Agenda Item:

In short, it's hopefully on schedule to widen Iowa and put in a left turn lane on Iowa Street, from 200’ South of Harvard to Irving Hill Overpass.

I believe it's long overdue, will increase traffic flow, and prevent many accidents.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

From 4-4-11 City commission agenda for April 5, 2011

clipped from:

"Authorize acceptance of Federal Aid Safety Funds in the amount of $1.2 million to widen Iowa Street to provide a two-way left-turn lane, from south of Harvard Road to south of Terrace Road, and $150,000 to reconstruct the traffic signal at Ninth and Tennessee streets with a 10 percent city match ($16,666.67) to be paid from the Capital Improvement Reserve fund."

prairieflower1 6 years, 7 months ago

My prayers go out to all affected by this accident. Every year, late August and all of September, there are accidents every weekend at 15th and Iowa. There have already been at least 2 in the last few weeks. Please drive carefully and defensively. Also, lighted and larger street signs, marking the names of the side streets, would help to prevent the breaking that we see as people are searching for their turn onto the side streets.

prairieflower1 6 years, 7 months ago

I meant to write 'braking' as people search for their turn onto side streets.

mommy_n_me 6 years, 7 months ago

and yet again...... where is the report on ALL the motorcyclist accidents that have been happening??? My count is now up to 5 in LESS than 1 week!!!!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

The tragedy is that the weather is nice and the students are back. So, there is a whole lot more traffic, and a lot of drivers that are new to the area.

So, sorry to say, it's accident season in Lawrence. It happens every year.

Kontum1972 6 years, 7 months ago

You ride on Iowa..u take your life in your own hands, i have traveled there a few times on my harley and it scares the crap out of me...too much going on with the drivers on that street, this is tragic but it is not a biker riders friendly road. I am sad this person lost their life my son and i were on Iowa last night returning home and we saw the road block, and we turned off to an outer road, and went home.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

I drive a minivan. I don't know why it's called mini because it's rather large, a bit larger than most minivans.

And Iowa Street scares me too.

Well, it's really not Iowa Street itself that scares me. It's the drivers on it that are not driving, they're just steering, their cars on it.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 7 months ago

You know what would be even more awesome than a turn lane? If people would not drive too fast and pay attention and use their turn signals. It doesn't really sound like it would have helped the unfortunate rider in this case, but it would def. help all the accidents on Iowa.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

There are far too many morons that do not signal. Not just here, everywhere. I'm not a mind reader, I don't know where you are going. Just give me a heads up!

I have noticed a drastic increase of idiots that put the opposite signal on for the direction they are turning. So ridiculous.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

"Take a motorcycle defensive driving course, they have them in the area, and they can help teach you these important skills because you sound like someone destined to learn the hard way." Really, trying again? End it already.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

What gets me is the drivers who only turn on their turn signal once they are into the turn! They apparently miss the point that it's supposed to let people know they are going to turn BEFORE they're already turning.

wtff 6 years, 7 months ago

Exactly! When waiting to turn right and there is a vehicle turning right onto my street, I always wait until they turn before I go. Just to be safe.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

It really bugs me to see people turn on their turn signal and then drive past a couple intersections before they finally turn.

One time I believed that an RV driver was going to turn because he was signaling that he was going to.

So, I went ahead. No, the RV driver had his turn signal on because he planned to turn after a couple more intersections.

After that, I never trusted turn signals much. I think of them as meaning: "Maybe I'm going to turn sometime."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

No, we didn't wreck.

But it was to close for comfort.

cj123 6 years, 7 months ago

Just found out my friend was right behind the driver of the van. She said she is trying to keep her self busy today so she will not to think about it! I couldn't imagine what all drivers and witnesses are going through! And the families!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

There will be no more information until the family is notified.

I once learned of something from reading the newspaper that I should have been notified of in person or at least by telephone, and it's not a good experience.

But, this man's family has it far worse than I ever did. I really feel for them, every parent's worst nightmare is to lose a child, and that's what happened yesterday.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

We could change the town's name to Dodge City, but that name is already taken.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

You're the one that got a "This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement."

Here"s a very nice message I recieved a while ago:

"I read your posts whenever I happen to be reading on the same are, by far, the most intelligent contributor to the message board. I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. Thank you for being a very decent and honorable contributor."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 7 months ago

Jane, I just took a look. You have had 4 posts removed. Not just the 1 about Cainan.

And, by the way, I got another fan email yesterday.

Just wondering, how many fan emails have you recieved?

Deja Coffin 6 years, 7 months ago

My thoughts and prayers go out to the victim's family and friends. I hope in the days to come you can find strength and peace. I also want to pray for those who witnessed this accident. I'm sure that since it was rush hour there are several people that will have to deal with the aftermath of seeing this accident.

ozmaster2 6 years, 7 months ago

I was there. I attempted first aid. The man was already gone. I thought, Godspeed, Buddy. You are already in another place.

BrianR 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't have time to read all of the comments so forgive me if I'm repeating something. One thing learnt from bike racing is that with proper gear, it matters less how fast you're going when you fall and more on how fast you're going when you stop that predicts how bad your spill is going to be physically. No amount of gear could have saved this rider. My prayers to his family and friends. The van driver too.

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