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Failure to Use Headlights Almost Leads to Motorcycle Crash

Event Summary

I was working motorcycle enforcement during evening hours. I pulled over to assist another motor officer on a traffic stop. This was at a time when Kawasaki 1000 police motorcycles allowed officers to manually turn off headlights. I dimmed to parking lights so as not to illuminate the other officer during driver contact. After the stop concluded, I proceeded down the roadway with just my parking lights activated, which still allowed the gauge lights to function. I simply forgot to turn on my headlights.

While traveling 40mph, another vehicle coming the opposite direction turned left in front of me to enter a shopping center. I’m an excellent driver, but I thought this was it. At the last moment, the driver stopped, and I was able to pass between the driver’s front bumper and the curb. When I contacted the driver and asked why she turned in front of me, she said, “Your headlights weren’t on.” I thanked her and drove away in shame. I shared this experience with other motor officers for their safety.

 

Lessons Learned

Remember to activate all available non-emergency vehicle lighting.

 

 

Full Report

Failure to Use Headlights Almost Leads to Motorcycle Crash

 

 

Employer Information

What was your level of involvement in the near miss/incident? Directly involved

Type of Law Enforcement Agency: Local – Police Department

 

Involved Personal Information

What was the involved person’s duty assignment at the time of the incident? Sworn – Patrol

Was the involved person a supervisor? No

Years of experience in law enforcement (at time of incident): More than 10, but less than 15

Sex: Male

 

Incident Information

What type of call or activity was the involved person responding to or engaged in? Traffic Violation(s)

How was the call or activity initiated? Backup Call / Responding to Assist

Please classify this incident: Almost resulted in officer injury or fatality

How many officers were at the scene at the time of the near miss/incident? 1

Did this incident involve a pursuit? No

Event Summary: I was working motorcycle enforcement during evening hours. I pulled over to assist another motor officer on a traffic stop. This was at a time when Kawasaki 1000 police motorcycles allowed officers to manually turn off headlights. I dimmed to parking lights so as not to illuminate the other officer during driver contact. After the stop concluded, I proceeded down the roadway with just my parking lights activated, which still allowed the gauge lights to function. I simply forgot to turn on my headlights.

While traveling 40mph, another vehicle coming the opposite direction turned left in front of me to enter a shopping center. I’m an excellent driver, but I thought this was it. At the last moment, the driver stopped, and I was able to pass between the driver’s front bumper and the curb. When I contacted the driver and asked why she turned in front of me, she said, “Your headlights weren’t on.” I thanked her and drove away in shame. I shared this experience with other motor officers for their safety.

 

Environment Factors

Did the near miss/incident occur indoors or outdoors? Outdoors

At what type of location did the near miss/incident occur? Road / Street / Highway

Was the involved person aware of any previous calls for service or incidents at this location? No

What were the lighting conditions outside? Nighttime – Low-light

Was there inclement weather? No

 

Subject Information

Did the involved person encounter a subject(s)? No

 

Lessons Learned

What type of accident or incident was averted? Motorcycle / motor vehicle collision.

What risk factors almost led to or did lead to you or another officer being injured or killed?

  • Human Error
  • Low Visibility

Lessons Learned: Remember to activate all available non-emergency vehicle lighting.



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