Scooter strike: Injury as two-wheeler collides with car on Water Street

A quiet morning on the Downtown Mall was shattered Tuesday by the sound of a metal-on-metal crash that could be heard four blocks down Water Street, as a man driving a large grey scooter eastbound slammed into the passenger side door of a Toyota Rav4 crossing Water Street southbound on 4th Street (see location). The man was sent hurtling against the vehicle and then thrown backward by the impact, landing motionless on the curb behind his mangled scooter in the street.

Matt Rohdie, the owner of Carpe Donuts and a former EMT, ran across the street when he saw the accident to attend to the man, making sure he wasn't moved. Within seven minutes, police, EMTs, and the Fire Department were on the scene, quickly followed by a Newsplex TV camera man. Oddly enough, Rohdie said the man was asleep and snoring on the curb, knocked out cold by the impact. Still, the man was breathing and moving his legs. Later he awoke to find himself being loaded into an ambulance, his face terribly bruised and bloodied, but no severe-looking head wounds. He was taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center.

According to Charlottesville Police spokesperson Lt. Ronnie Roberts, the driver of the scooter was a 28-year old male, and the driver of the Rav4 was a 63-year old woman. As of Tuesday afternoon, Roberts said the man was still having a CT scan at the Medical Center, and would be held for several days due to possible head injury.

Police remained on the scene to reconstruct the accident. Any possible charges are pending, said Roberts.

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seems the economy is really taking a hit on C-town
scooter Vs. rav 4 makes the big time!

Maybe he was also asleep before the accident, with that really strong sleep aide stuff. Let's call it a "Tiger Woods".

As a former newspaper reporter, I find it sad that the writer of this article was going more for imagery and prose than actual factual reporting. How is the man simply sleeping/snoring in one breath and 'knocked out cold' in the same? Is it possible that, from being knocked unconscious, the man was having trouble breathing and was making strange sounds attempting it? Also, how is the 'Newsplex TV camera man' relevant to the incident? Finally, how does the writer know there were no 'severe-looking head wounds' he a doctor?

Thanks, YoMAMA ... I was struck by exactly the same thoughts as I read the story. I also wondered about the circumstances -- did the scooter run a red light, or did the Rav4 driver fail to see the scooter when she began to cross Water Street? There's not a hint about that in the story ... but the reporter did take the time to find out the scooter rider's condition and what tests would be performed at the hospital? This is very poor reporting. (The sentence where he mentions head wounds is also a grammatical nightmare.)

It appears the 4th St. driver must have run the stop sign, a common car on cycle scenario...4th St. has a stop sign and she was crossing water St.....while the scooter driver on Water St. had no stop sign.
Not mentioned in this little "filler piece" story.

It's surprising that this doesn't happen more often. It seems like folks on scooters often believe that the roads are a closed obstacle course for their enjoyment. Usually it's really young kids zipping around with passengers. Are you required to have a license to ride a scooter on the road?

I believe that the SUV driver may have not seen the moped as she was pulling away from the stop sign because her view may have been obstructed by another vehicle just passing in front of her at the same time the moped was about to enter the intersection. In my experience, older drivers have a tendency to be nervous about entering intersections where there is no stop 'light', and therefore tend to want to shoot across the road as soon as they think they can.

@reality bites

Virginia Code section 46.2-100
"No moped shall be driven on any highway or public vehicular area faster than 35 miles per hour. Operating a moped faster than 35 miles per hour is deemed by Virginia law to be operating a motorcycle, which requires you to title and register the moped as a motorcycle and obtain a motorcycle license. Moped riders must carry some form of identification that includes name, address, and date of birth. Although you do not need a driver’s license to operate a moped, you may not operate a moped if you have been declared a habitual offender or your license is suspended or revoked for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs."

Apparently, the driver did stop at the stop sign and advanced slowly through the intersection. It should be said that the intersection in question is completely obstructed by parked cars. I've often thought that they should get rid of those spaces on Water.

Reality Bites,

While casual reader has been helpful, it only shows part of the picture. A scooter might require you to have a motorcycle license, tags, and insurance, if the cc's are high enough. Scooters are anywhere from 49cc's right on up to 650cc's in the US. Anything above 50cc's requires all the above. This one looked big enough to require it, that doesn't mean the rider/owner did so.

Considering the number of scooters in this town, I am surprised more people just still don't see them.

Who had the right of way? At that intersection, I believe through traffic on Water Street has the right of way and the traffic entering from 4th Street must yield to traffic on Water Street.

YoMAMA, as a former reporter (like me), you realize that today's writers are not about fact-gathering and the inverted pyramid. There were all kinds of silly, amateurish attempts at picture-painting here: metal-on-metal heard four blocks away? If you look at any scooter, there is actually little metal of substance to crunch against an SUV. The man was "asleep" and snoring...c'mon, some of the most insidious and dangerous head injuries are closed head injuries and also injuries of the basal skull (as he was allegedly hurtled forward then thrown backwards by the impact, so his basal skull area would have been susceptible). So we can gather his head injury was not "severe looking." Gee, intrepid reporter, can you tell me the victim's Glasgow Coma Scale as well?

Today's newspeople are as reliable and competent as the guy sitting next to you at the bar. Ask a question or two, get a rambling statement from the owner of a donut shop, and voila! There's a story.

Frankly, the writing in this story reminds me of when I left high school and enterted Temple journalism school. I thought I was the best writer in the world and then attempted pabulum like that above in my J101 class. Teacher zapped me with a illusions of being a polished reporter were flushed in the loo by the end of September of my freshman year!

But, you know, thistown is like watching Rookie league baseball: it might be called "professional," but there are A, AA, AAA and Major Leagues ahead of it.

R.I.P.: Thomas Gibbons, Sr.

Them dang scooters are always buzzing around all up your tail pipe flying buzzin around!

As the driver of the car behind the SUV , I can tell you this:
The driver of the SUV did not run the stop sign. She came to a full stop and slowly went across the street to go under the RR tunnel. The line of site to the right was clear as there were no cars parked on the street between 3rd and 4th street. The scooter went full speed into the SUV.

Hi all. I don't really like all the scooter dislike I am reading here. Sure, we know there are those who do it illegally, because they lost their license. We know that there are those who are rude, but the same can be said for car drivers and bicyclists. Sometimes people choose smaller scooters because they are fuel efficient and easy to find parking for on UVA grounds.

Like it or not, statistically, most accidents involving scooters and and motorcycles are caused by the car driver. We learned this in the MSF class when I got my license years ago.

Slow or not, if this driver had a stop sign, and the scooter driver did not, and was traveling within the speed limit, it really boils down to the driver not seeing the scooter rider and the car driver is responsible.

What is full speed Witness? Do you know what "full speed" is for the model of scooter involved? Do you even know the model of scooter involved? Scooters go oer 100 mph. Are you saying this scooter did? Or maybe it looked so called full speed because the noise was big and 25 mph can look really fast in a slow situation.

That scooter would have had to have been traveling way over the speed limit coming down that hill for her to not see it because it was hidden, and then ride right into her. I am sorry, it sounds to me like she just plain didn't see it or hear. She wouldn't be the first.

The "witness" doesn't understand that stopping at a sign and then pulling "slowly" in front of oncoming traffic, is "running the stop sign". The whole point is not to stop and go, but to stop and wait until the coast is clear. It isn't legally incumbent on through traffic to slow down for such doofuses, though it is the prudent thing to do.
Caesonia, you're right on target with your response. You'd think from what people are saying that the scooter operator was in the wrong here and there does seem to be a viewpoint that somehow scooters are illegitimate in some way. The scooter was full size, not a "Moped" and as such is licensed and operated just like a motorcycle. This appears to be one of motorcycling's classic scenarios with an inattentive car driver failing to yield the right of way.
The only generality I'd give up here is that most scooter operators appear less experienced and more casual in operating their vehicles than regular "bikers". Often they don't seem tuned in to the level of vigilance required to stay safe on 2 wheels.
Caesonia...Thanks for being sensible.

Liberalace: and thus the whole world in all its dealings becomes a sound bite.

All- at least the "witness" was there...........all others are speculating. Police report will be interesting.

Yeah Skip, the witness was there, and we are taking their statement as the truth as to what happened. Some of us just have a different interpretation. Nor do we appreciate the attitude that somehow the scooter rider was bad or at fault just because a few ignorant folks don't happen to like some of the riders on the 50 cc scooters.

Witness' observations can be correct and the driver at fault. As mentioned, the driver has to yield as well as do the complete stop thing. The two accounts are not mutually exclusive. At least witness confirms that the driver was actually on 4th street (which we can't take the reporter's word for).

Very typical scenario. Driver looks for a car, doesn't see one, then pulls out and crashes with bicyclist/pedestrian/motorcyclist/whatever was there that didn't happen to be a car.

BTW as to the snoring thing, that wasn't the reporter's observation. It was attributed to a specific witness who was at least a former EMT. Not defending the article, though.

It's very sad how most drivers assume that it's the scooterist or motorcyclist's fault - even when faced with evidence to the contrary.

To me, this sounds like the classic "SMIDSY" (Sorry mate, I didn't see you).

It's something that scooter riders have to face constantly, and it really galls when the car drivers automatically take the stance that it was the scooter rider's fault - mostly because they don't deserve to be on the road in the first place.

Very sad.