Every morning I pry myself away from Lorraine and commute from our Sugarhouse apartment to Pleasant Grove. It is a forty minute commute, but it is against commuter traffic, and therefore is generally uneventful.
This morning I was running about ten minutes late and so I made my way over to the fast lane and hit cruise control going just under 75 MPH, with the flow of traffic. As I neared 90th South, about fifteen minutes into my drive, I saw a man on a motorcycle directly in front of me. He was on one of those glorified freeway scooters and was wearing both a full helmet, and a leather jacket. Thinking nothing of it, I continued on my way, driving directly behind him.
All of a sudden I visualized the man laying his bike down and bouncing under the carriage of my car. I envisioned the whole thing happening before my eyes, and even felt the thumping beneath my feet. I have never imagined an accident like that before, especially not so vividly. It made me so nervous, I immediately slowed down to give myself a generous following distance. As is typical in these parts, someone filled the spot I had just vacated directly behind the motorcyclist. I was very wary, although I couldn't explain why.
Within thirty seconds, traffic ahead stopped abruptly, causing us all to brake hard. The car in front of the biker slammed on the brakes, causing him to do the same. He couldnt stay upright and laid his bike down on the freeway, totaling it instantly. I watched in awe as he bounced and rolled violently, with pieces of his bike tumbling around him, just as I had seen it moments before. The pregnant woman in the car in front of me slammed on her brakes and missed hitting the man by about five feet. Despite my generous following distance due to my premonition, I missed her by even less. I have no doubt that had I not slowed down, I would have been directly behind that bike, and I would have crushed him.
The man lay motionless on the interstate, his leather jacket scraped and torn, his leg positioned awkwardly, but his head completely intact, minus some major gashes in his helmet. He was conscious, and thankfully one of the witnesses to the accident was a nurse. I stood by as he told her, in what I'm sure was a state of shock, how bummed he was that he'd ruined his new helmet. Anyway, I think he's fine. The ambulance arrived about fifteen minutes later and took him away on a stretcher.
As I stood on the freeway, emergency lights flashing, I watched the traffic merge into the three right lanes, rubbernecking as they passed. I watched two bikes drive by, two riders on one, one on the other. All three without helmets.