A Capital Transit bus collided with a motorcycle Saturday afternoon at the intersection of Glacier Highway and Hospital Drive, sending the motorcycle driver to Bartlett Regional Hospital.
Stiles Pickle, 21, was the motorcycle driver, and said he sustained numerous injuries. Pickle, a Juneau resident, told the Empire he has a compound fracture on his right wrist as well as a broken left thumb. He also said he got 13 total stitches on his left elbow and left leg for deep wounds, as well as a concussion.
A 50-year-old woman was driving the bus, according to a Juneau Police Department release Saturday. There were several passengers on board, police say, but none of them were injured. Pickle was unconscious when police and Capital City Fire/Rescue personnel arrived, according to the release, but he regained consciousness while being attended to.
Police say the report of the crash came in at 4:38 p.m. Saturday, and BRH spokesperson Katie Bausler said Pickle arrived at the hospital just after 5 p.m. He was treated and later released, she said, in stable condition.
Alcohol is not believed to be a factor, the release stated. JPD Lt. Krag Campbell said Monday afternoon the investigation is ongoing into the crash, and there are no further details available.
At the scene, red plastic bits which appeared to come from the motorcycle’s body clung to the front of the Capital Transit bus. Overturned on its side, the motorcycle looked to have sustained significant damage and was leaking fluid at about 5:10 p.m. Saturday.
Bus passengers were transferred to a different bus at about 5:15 p.m.
Dan McCrummen, the president of Juneau ABATE — a nonprofit dedicated to motorcycle safety — said there are inherent dangers in riding motorcycles in Juneau. He pointed to two factors, one of which being the fact that motorcycles aren’t on the road during the winter, and other drivers might not remember to look for them during the spring and summer.
“People operate cars over the winter, they get used to not seeing motorcycles,” McCrummen said. “We’re much lower profile and easy to miss. You get in the habit of not looking for them.”
The other factor is the weather in Juneau. The near-constant rain, even in the summer, can make motorcycle drivers more tired or affect their thought process. There’s also still gravel and sand on the roads from the winter months, McCrummen said, and he likened driving on gravel to riding on marbles.
Juneau ABATE offers safety classes, including one this weekend and three weekends in June, according to its online calendar. There’s also a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Buoy Deck for people who want to become new members. People can learn more at www.juneauabate.org.
McCrummen said he hasn’t heard specifics about Saturday’s crash, but heard the motorcyclist sustained injuries. Police have not determined who was at fault for the crash, but McCrummen pointed out that regardless of fault, the motorcyclist is usually the most vulnerable person in any crash.
“Either way, whoever’s at fault, the motorcyclist is the one who suffered the most,” McCrummen said.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy. Reporter Kevin Gullufsen contributed to this report.