62nd Highway Patrol (MP)
 Germany      1948 - 1958

Stories of the Highway Patrol

 

Motorcycles

by Edward F. Smith

 

 

 

 

 

There was always a large number of motorcycles on the road, both in winter and summer.  Most of the accidents occurred in the winter months (stands to reason).  l remember that I was always extra cautious when driving near the cycles.  I remember one time coming from Karlsruhe, it was on a Sunday morning and at an area just outside of Heidelberg, near Patrick Henry village.  I had been following this German on his motorcycle at approximately 45 miles per hour.  It was in the winter time and there were patches of snow and ice on the autobahn, especially under the bridges and shaded areas.  I had noticed on several occasions when he drove over these patches of ice and snow that his cycle was fish-tailing.  It didn't seem to bother him, he made no effort to slow down.  I decided that l had better stay in behind him and see what happens.  With my luck, had I tried to pass him he would have lost it and crashed into my vehicle (I was driving my personal vehicle at the time).

 

I didn't have long to wait before the ice finally got him.  His motorcycle went spinning in circles down the center of the autobahn on its side with the rider not far behind.  He went head over heels about three times before he came to a stop flat on his back in the center of the autobahn.  The motorcycle had also come to a stop with the motor still running.  The rider quickly got to his feet, staggered to where the cycle was and made an effort to pick it up.  He seemed to be still groggy from his spill and made several attempts before getting the cycle up-right, he then mounted the cycle and continue on his way.

 

Another day in February, I was sitting in the patrol car on the first off ramp after the Rhine River bridge on the Kaiserslautern autobahn.  It was a clear day, but cold as all get out.  l was doing some paperwork when I heard and then observed this German dressed in heavy leather riding a motorcycle on the on ramp just below me.  He seemed to be doing approximately 35 miles per hour and fast approaching the curve in the on ramp.  The operator of the motorcycle seemed to make little effort to negotiate the curve and ran oft-the road and into a plowed held.  When the motorcycle hit the plowed field it flipped into the air and was soon spinning in circles on its side.  The rider had been thrown from the cycle and lay in the plowed field, he soon got to his feet, staggering to where his cycle was spinning in circles.  He made several attempts to grab the cycle, each time the cycle would grab him and tear another hole in his black leather outfit.  Finally he managed to get the cycle stopped and out of the field.  He spent another 30 minutes cleaning the mud from the cycle.  He assured me that he was all right and that he didn't need any help.  I guess his pride was hurt more than anything else.  l suppose that this was a true case of being frozen at the wheel due to the weather, being unable to make the turn in the road.

 

During those years, l investigated many accidents (lots of-fatalities) involving the motorcycle as l am sure that many of you did.

 

 


This story previously appeared in Volume # 3, Issue # 3, June-July, 2000 of "THE WHITE MICE".


 

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