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Cannon Beach Motorcycle-Truck Collision Kills One

Date: October 7, 2009
Location: Highway 101, Cannon Beach, Oregon
Names: Alan G. Gelvin, Edward Jones, Carol Jones

Alan G. Gelvin, 55, of Seattle, Washington, was killed October 7, 2009, when he slid into oncoming traffic and was hit by an Oregon couple in a pickup truck. The accident took place around 3:20 PM on Highway 101, near Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Gelvin was traveling south on his 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he tried to take a sharp right turn, lost control, and ended up in the path of a truck driven by Edward Jones, 62, of Scappoose, Oregon. Jones’s wife, Carol, was also riding in the truck.

According to The Oregonian, Jones attempted to avoid hitting Gelvin. Unfortunately, Jones’s 2000 Toyota Tacoma still struck the motorcycle. Gelvin was trapped underneath. Despite wearing a helmet, he died at the scene.

The Joneses were taken by ambulance to Providence Seaside Hospital in Seaside, Oregon, for evaluation of possible injuries.

Oregon State Police were still investigating the collision as of October 8. Assisting at the scene of the accident were personnel from the Cannon Beach Police Department, Cannon Beach Fire & Rescue, Clatsop County Medical Examiner, and the Oregon Department of Transportation. The highway was closed until approximately 5:40 PM.

Executing a curve on a motorcycle can be difficult. An article on Suite101.com reports that many motorcycle accidents result from the rider not looking and planning far enough ahead, not from excessive speed. Noting that professional motorcycle racers look almost 90° to the side when approaching a sharp turn, the article explains that these pros are deciding where they want to be in the next split second.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation adds that over half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve another vehicle. If a motorcycle is in a collision, the bike provides no protection. According to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, wearing a helmet provides some protection from death or brain injury, but sometimes, as in this case, even wearing a helmet is not enough.

We see many, many examples of crashes resulting in injury or death to motorcycle riders. On November 24, two motorcycle riders were killed in a crash with an SUV. On October 9, a truck turned into a motorcycle’s path, and the rider was seriously injured. And on September 25, an Eagle Point man was killed while riding his motorcycle, even though he was wearing a helmet.

All drivers should bear in mind the special vulnerability of motorcycle riders, as well as bicyclists and pedestrians. As we pause to remember Alan G. Gelvin’s passing, we encourage all motorists to memorialize his life by renewing their commitment to safe driving.