Outline Email forward that includes photographs showing a Volkswagen car with a motorcycle wedged inside it, claims that the images show the end result of an accident that killed three people. The images reportedly depict a display featured at a motorcycle fair. The message claims that the driver of the VW was talking on a cell phone at the time of the accident and therefore did not see the speeding motorcyclist.
The core information in the message is true. The motorcycle fair display depicted in the photographs represents a real accident that occurred in Sweden in July 2003. However, the description of the accident in some later versions of the message is inaccurate. The original version of the message began circulating several years ago and has since spawned a number of other versions with altered details. It is only later versions of the message that mention the use of a cell phone as a causative factor in the accident.
Subject: Her last call was from a mobile phone.....
Sometimes only a picture can get our attention!
Her last call was from a new mobile phone...
Do you see the motorcycle?
Now do you see it?
The Honda crotch rocket rider was traveling at approximately 85 mph. The VW driver was talking on a cell phone when she pulled out from a side street, apparently not seeing the motorcycle. The riders reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident.
The car had two passengers and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them.
The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 20 feet from where the collision took place.
All three involved (two in the car and the bike rider) were killed instantly. This graphic demonstration was placed at the Motorcycle Fair by the Police and Road Safety Department.
Pass this on to car drivers or soon to be new drivers, or new motorcycle owners
AND ESPECIALLY EVERYONE YOU KNOW WHO HAS A CELL PHONE!!!!!
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Save a life…
Stop talking on Cell phones and Texting while trying to drive.
The life you save may be your own...or mine.
Keep passing this on so everyone will see what can happen by using a CELL PHONE while driving
According to this widely circulated email forward, attached photographs of a crashed Volkswagen car with a motorcycle wedged inside it illustrate the potential danger of talking on a cell (mobile) phone while driving. The email claims that the crashed car, complete with wedged motorcycle, was displayed as a warning to motorists at a "Motorcycle Fair by the Police and Road Safety Department". The message states that the driver of the VW pulled in front of the motorcycle apparently without seeing him because she was distracted by a conversation she was having on a cell phone.
The photographs are genuine and depict the result of an accident that took place near Stockholm, Sweden in July 2003. A July 8th 2003 report published on a Swedish news website describes the circumstances in which the accident occurred, noting that the motorcyclist must have been travelling at an extremely high speed at the moment of impact. Another Swedish news report from the same date concurs, noting that the young male biker and the elderly couple in the car all died in the accident. Both articles include a photograph of the crash scene showing the Honda 750-cc RC30 motorcycle wedged firmly inside the small Volkswagen Golf car. The bike ploughed directly into the side of the car, apparently as the car made a left turn. The impact flipped the car over. Notably however, neither these news reports nor others published at the time made any any mention of a cell phone being used by the car driver at the time of the accident.
A reader who lives near the accident location has supplied the map on the right which shows the roads where the accident took place. The red text on the map reads:
The motorcycle came from this direction, and had no problem to keep 150 kmh in the bend and then accelerate on the bridge [over the railway]
Right text: The car came from north and turned left in this crossing
Later reports indicate that the wrecked vehicle, with the motorcycle still wedged inside, was displayed as a Swedish Police and Road Safety Department exhibit at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair, apparently as a warning to drivers about the dangers of speeding and unsafe driving. The photographs have generated a great deal of debate, with some commentators maintaining that they show a contrived display made especially for the fair and do not represent a real accident. However, as confirmed by Swedish news reports, the accident certainly did happen. Some commentators have suggested that, since it seems likely that the bike would have been removed from the car to retrieve bodies and clean up blood and mess, the crashed car and bike may have been reassembled later especially for the display but nevertheless still accurately depicted the actual accident.
A 2005 article about the accident published on the Drive and Stay Alive website provides more information, noting:
The graphic display was placed at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair by the Swedish Police and Road Safety Department. The sign above the display noted that the rider had only recently obtained his license.
The Honda rider was traveling at such a "very high speed", his reaction time was not sufficient enough to avoid this accident. Swedish Police estimate a speed of ~250 KM/h (155mph) before the bike hit the side of the slow moving car at an intersection. At that speed, they predicted that the rider's reaction time (once the Volkswagen came into view) wasn't sufficient enough for him to even apply the brakes.
The car had two occupants and the bike rider was found INSIDE the car with them, along with the motorcycle itself.
The Volkswagen actually flipped over from the force of impact and landed 10 feet from where the collision took place.
All three involved (two in the car, plus the rider) were killed instantly.
The article features the same images that are included in the circulating email along with the news photograph showing the overturned vehicle at the scene of the accident. Again, the article does not make any mention of a cell phone as a causative factor in the accident.
Several versions of this email are now circulating. The earliest version mirrored the information in the Drive and Stay Alive article, locating the display at the Stockholm Motorcycle Fair in Sweden and noting the estimated speed of the bike as 250 kilometres per hour. News reports about the accident do not state an estimated speed, but it is clear from the result of the crash that very excessive speed was involved. Subsequent versions incorrectly moved the location of the fair to various cities in the United States and elsewhere. Other versions, including the example shown above, are even vaguer, making reference only to "the Motorcycle Fair" and not naming the city or even the country in which this "Motorcycle Fair" was held. Newer versions of the message also significantly lower the estimated speed of the motorcycle and add the claim that the driver's use of a cell phone was a primary cause of the accident. Given that neither the original news reports nor the earliest versions of the email forward mentioned the use of a cell phone as a contributing factor, it seems likely that this claim was simply made up and added to the story at some point in its journey to create extra impact or further a particular sender's agenda.
Of course, it cannot be disputed that the use of cell phones while driving can be a major, and potentially deadly, distraction to drivers. Cell phone use has been implicated in many fatal accidents around the world. Using a cell phone while driving has now been banned by authorities in a number of jurisdictions and can result in hefty fines and other penalties. But the claim that the accident depicted in these images was the result of cell phone distraction is doubtful. The motivation for highlighting this particular accident at a motorcycle fair seems more likely to have been to convince motorcyclists to slow down by showing them the potentially fatal results of excessive speed.
Thank-you very much to Hannu T of Sweden for supplying links to Swedish news reports about the accident and for providing the map of the accident