5 hurt in Monmouth motorcycle accident

,
Monday, September 12,2005

Five members of a family of motorcyclists taking part in Sunday's annual Toy Run were injured in a chain-reaction crash about 12:30 p.m. on Route 202 in Monmouth.

Monmouth Police Chief Chuck Shaw said Sunday evening that he's still investigating the accident. As a result, he said he couldn't yet provide details on the drivers and riders.

Three were taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston by ambulance, Shaw said.

The most seriously injured was a woman suffering from fractures to a leg and arm.

Two others were treated at the crash scene by paramedics, Shaw said.

All are from the Sanford area. The family group included a grandfather, father, mother, daughter and at least one friend. They were traveling in a group of six bikes, Shaw said.

The chief said the crash happened near the crest of a hill beyond Highmoor Farm. By preplanning, Shaw along with an ambulance and its crew were stationed at that point, the chief said. As a result, response was immediate, although eventually ambulances from Winthrop and Lewiston also responded.

Shaw said the accident happened when the lead driver in the group slowed as he returned waves to spectators lining the road. A woman riding a bike behind him wasn't able to brake quickly enough to avoid a collision, so instead she "laid her bike down," Shaw said.

Three of the four bikes in the group that were following her ended up on their sides as well as drivers and riders attempted to avoid directly hitting the bikes and people in front of them.

"They weren't going very fast," Shaw said, and that helped to reduce the extent of injuries.

Ric Dodge, one of the organizers of the United Bikers of Maine Toy Run, said Sunday night that as a far as he knows, the Monmouth crash was the only one that happened Sunday.

Dodge estimated that 14,000 bikes carrying 20,000 people took part in the 24th annual Toy Run.

"One a ccident out of that many bikes isn't bad, considering," Dodge said. He quickly added that United Bikers puts an emphasis on safety.

"Riding in a pack is not something for rookies,"