“I have brutal thoughts of it,” Todd Dumoulin says when recounting his life-altering motorcycle crash.
A recent collision between a bike and a westbound vehicle turning left from Highway 17 into the eastbound motorcycle’s path brings those memories rushing back for Dumoulin.
See related story: Charge laid after motorcyclist falls taking evasive action on Highway 17
It was six years ago that, he too, was seriously injured in a similar scenario at the intersection of Highway 17 and Couchie Industrial Road. Dumoulin hit the truck broadside, sideways on his motorcycle.
He was rushed to the hospital in Sudbury with a broken pelvis, fractures in both hips and a concussion. “It’s been a long recovery road and I feel for that guy [the recent victim]. Dumoulin says he also sympathizes with the lengthy recovery of Brad Martin, a motorcyclist who also struck a vehicle turning across his path in 2016.
Dumoulin says he learned later the driver of the vehicle that cut him off was late for work and told the police officer at the scene “I didn’t even see him.”
A former construction worker, Dumoulin says he has had “his livelihood taken away from him,” and has persevered in his therapy and recovery enough to get up from a wheelchair and learn to walk once more. He credits his wife, Christine, for her important role in his recovery.
Asked what the issue is, in his opinion, with this particular area of Highway 17 where both he and the recent motorcyclist collided with vehicles, without hesitation, Dumoulin responds, “They’re not paying attention.”
He adds impatience plays a key role in the collisions at Couchie Industrial Road location due to long lines of cars travelling closely together eastbound preventing left turns. Throw in the pitch in the highway and it’s a recipe for disaster when motorists cross the highway without absolute certainty nothing is coming from the opposite direction.
Asked what drivers can do to avoid these types of collisions, Dumoulin says, “If you can’t see, don’t turn, if you can’t see, don’t pass. Simple things like that. Speeding. Texting. It’s unbelievable.”
Dumoulin says there is too much going on at that intersection between turning lanes to access Couchie Industrial Road and motorists merging into oncoming traffic going 90km/h and faster from a dead stop.
Dumoulin points out an industrial truck was also broadsided at the intersection a few years ago. He believes the answer is traffic lights and speed signage.
“When you’re coming in eastbound from Sturgeon Falls, the last sign, I can’t even remember where it is, is 90 kilometres and then nothing. There used to be an 80 km/h sign around there somewhere. The speed needs to drop before Miller’s pit and it needs to stay lowered from the four lanes in front of the hospital, right through,” says Dumoulin.
“Safety must come first. One life is too much to pay.”