PHOENIX — Valley traffic reporter Detour Dan Beach spoke his mind Wednesday after a horrific crash in the north Valley.
It happened on Wednesday morning on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Arizona’s Morning News with Ned Foster and Connie Weber.
Beach was circling over a major car-motorcycle accident at Cave Creek Road and the Carefree Highway. The scene was so horrific that the veteran traffic reporter couldn’t hold back his thoughts.
“I’ve candy-coated this for 20-some years now,” he told KTAR listeners. “If you could see what I get to see up here with these wrecks on a regular basis…what I just saw up there at that intersection will change the lives of several people forever.”
Beach told listeners that he would never ride a motorcycle anywhere in the Phoenix metropolitan area and advised against anyone buying one.
“If you’re just dangling, (thinking) ‘Maybe I should get a bike…maybe I shouldn’t,’ don’t do it,” he said. “My mother would never allow me to ride a bike, and I’m glad she didn’t. I’m still here today to at least talk about the others.”
Over at Bridgette’s Last Laugh, a biker-friendly bar at Cave Creek and Bell roads in north Phoenix, patrons understood Beach’s passionate entreaties.
“On average, when I ride every day, I probably avoid three situations, minimum, a day,” Phoenix biker Dave Lamberti said.
He said that Cave Creek Road and the Carefree Highway is a bad spot for bikers, but there are others.
“Going into the (Loop 101 freeway) off of Cave Creek Road, I’ve almost been hit 20 to 30 times just going to the on ramp, because people won’t yield,” said Lamberti. “They have the yield sign to yield the right of way. I have my left turn signal on, and they’ll come right into me. It happens every day.”
But Lamberti said that he keeps riding because he loves to ride.
“We all love to ride,” he said. “We call it ‘wind therapy.'”
Erica Bell, of Phoenix, is aware of the danger. She has been a passenger on the back of a motorcycle for several years and has traveled through 14 states. She wears a helmet only when it’s raining or when she’s in a place where it’s required by law. Otherwise, she wants to feel the wind going through her hair.
“I know what happens. I’ve had friends pass away,” Bell said. “I know that when you’re on two wheels and someone rear-ends you, it’s not the same as when you’re on four wheels. I understand that, but you don’t think about that when you’re riding. You ride as safe as you can, you’re as aware as you can be, but it’s about the ride and enjoying it.”
Bell is about to get her own motorcycle license so that she can ride by herself.
Beach told listeners on Wednesday that he doesn’t blame the motorcycle riders.
“I don’t want to upset a bunch of motorcycle riders,” he said. “It’s not you most of the time, guys. Most of the people just don’t see you.”
Lamberti agrees that people driving cars aren’t always thinking about motorcyclists.
“They’re in a hurry,” he said. “They want to jag out of traffic because they don’t want for three cars in front of them to turn, so they’ll beat the traffic and turn right into you.”
He also said that he sees many people texting while they’re behind the wheel.
He also admitted, however, that bikers can also do better.
“Don’t be in the blind spot (of the driver near you),” said Lamberti. “Know where you’re at at all times. Know what’s around you and just be aware of your surroundings. That’s the key.”
Lamberti offered this thought.
“When we ride, we ride for the safety of ourselves,” he said. “There was a great post on Facebook that said, ‘We’re not riding to show off, we’re riding to get out of your way.'”
Despite the dangers, Lamberti will keep using his bike.
“I love to ride, I’m a rider,” he said. “I ride 30,000 miles a year on my bike.”
And there’s no way that he’s going to stop.