Author Topic: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents  (Read 4392 times)

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Offline 4Bikes

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Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« on: June 15, 2015, 10:48:14 pm »
One more danger to look out for while riding...... :truce:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/watch-blizzard-of-mayflies-swarm-route-bridge/article_bf83b83a-1249-11e5-b1c0-63a72464803a.html?mode=print

The Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River between Columbia and Wrightsville PA reopened Sunday after mayflies forced its closure Saturday night, police said.

Thousands and thousands of mayflies swarmed the lights on the Route 462 bridge, died and fell to the road, causing three motorcycle crashes, a fire official said. The coating of dead mayflies (also called shadflies) was about an inch thick.

At 10:30 p.m., a motorist stopped at the Wrightsville Fire Department station and reported an eastbound motorcycle had crashed on the Wrightsville side of the bridge, Wrightsville Fire Chief Chad Livelsberger said. Firefighters encountered a surreal scene.

“It was like a blizzard in June, but instead of snow, it was mayflies,”  Livelsberger said. Dead mayflies about an inch thick covered a large section of the bridge.
“It was very slick, almost like ice,” the chief said. “It was hard to stop, in the engine and the vehicles.” Livelsberger’s pickup truck skidded to a stop. “When you go to pull out, all your tires would do was spin.”
The black mayflies are close to 2 inches long and a quarter-inch wide, Livelsberger said. “It looks like a meal worm with wings.”

While tending the motorcyclist, emergency responders saw another eastbound motorcycle crash onto its side at the slight bend in the road near the Wrightsville side of the bridge.

Columbia Borough Fire Chief Scott Ryno arrived and agreed with Livelsberger that dangerous conditions warranted closing the road, Livelsberger said.

“Visibility was zero for maybe a quarter mile (across the bridge) from the York County shore,” he said. There were not as many mayflies on the Columbia side of the bridge, but enough to cause a third motorcycle crash close to the Columbia shore just before the road was shut down around 11 p.m.

Traffic crawled across the bridge before it was shut down amidst the mayflies invasion.
“They were getting in our mouth,” he said. “We had to close our eyes. We had to swat them away. Even when we got back, it felt like bugs were crawling in you.”

Mayflies flew in their shirts and holes in their vehicles, Livelsberger said. More than a hundred mayflies flew into his personal vehicle in the time it took him to open the door and get inside.
“We had to rip our radiators off” to clean the bugs out, he said.

A PennDOT crew used a street sweeper to clean the mayflies from the bridge, he said. Fire police reopened the road around midnight, after the swarm of mayflies began to wane.

Three men suffered minor road rashes in the motorcycle crashes and did not require medical transport, Livelsberger said. He believes all the wrecks were not serious enough to be reportable, but the motorcycles were damaged.

Livelsberger grew up in Wrightsville and has served as chief since 2012 and in other positions at the fire company since 1998.
“I never saw anything like it,” he said of Thursday night’s mayflies invasion. Last year, mayflies piled up on the sidewalks along the bridge but “that did no justice to what we saw (Thursday night). I never saw the bridge get that covered with mayflies that it impaired people’s driving.”
Livelsberger did not know whether to expect a similar explosion of mayflies again in coming days. No special monitoring is planned, he said, but firefighters will be ready to respond to any reports the bugs are back.

West Hempfield Township police Officer Brad Rohrbaugh could not confirm how many accidents there were, saying Wrightsville police and Columbia Borough police also investigate crashes on the portions of the bridge stretching over land.

Those departments did not immediately return phone calls Sunday.
Livelsberger blamed the new type of lighting on the Route 462 bridge with attracting the mayflies. The bridge’s new art deco lights were installed last year as part of a $2.1 million renovation project.
Experts explained the mayflies phenomenon last year.
The bugs hatch from the Susquehanna River and gravitate en masse to the lights.

For years, the bridge was lit by lights on long poles well above the decking. But the new lights, placed on where they were when the bridge opened in 1930, are only about 10 feet above the road surface.
That’s like a magnet for emerging mayflies, who mate in large clouds. The males die promptly while the females lay their eggs and then also die.

There are reportedly more than 300 very similar looking species of mayflies in Pennsylvania.
The effort to restore the lights to their original appearance was a long effort headed by Rivertownes PA USA, a nonprofit group.

Columbia Mayor Leo Lutz last year said residents liked the historically correct new appearance of the bridge and boaters liked the lights because they could see rocks in the river while fishing at night.
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Offline JB

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2015, 11:10:38 pm »
A few years ago my wife and I went to Sandusky Ohio during the Spring and the Mayflies were really bad.  I can't imagine this, just crazy.  Nasty!
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Offline cra-z1000

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2015, 11:39:18 pm »
I remember driving with my Mom in the Ca. desert somewhere  and running across a tarantula migration . Hundreds of em all over the road . Mom....and me were freaking out...lol . I bet that could have caused a bike to go down too.....and how screwed up would that be ?   :o
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Offline PaulP

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2015, 02:19:29 pm »
I remember that happening a few times to the highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi here where I live. Once when I was 16 or 17 the bridge was so covered in them that they used a snow plow to keep it clear. Just one night, but it was almost impossible to drive near the river, and even several miles away they swamped the street lights and business signs; anything with a light. It's really crazy, you have to see it to believe it.  :-\
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Offline Thud300

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2015, 07:16:17 pm »
one word...   ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww   :-\
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 12:32:02 am »
I remember that happening a few times to the highway 61 bridge over the Mississippi here where I live. Once when I was 16 or 17 the bridge was so covered in them that they used a snow plow to keep it clear. Just one night, but it was almost impossible to drive near the river, and even several miles away they swamped the street lights and business signs; anything with a light. It's really crazy, you have to see it to believe it.  :-\

Hastings, right? We usta live there in the two lane bridge days and yeah, the Hy 61 bridge would swarm with those smelly critters. Nice when they get in the heater intake vent screens.
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Offline seagiant1

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 04:49:13 pm »
Hi,
     What's a May Fly??? :(

Must be a Yankee (Oh I'm sorry... a Damned Yankee) thing! ;D
« Last Edit: June 21, 2015, 04:54:00 pm by seagiant1 »
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2015, 12:28:46 am »
Hi,
     What's a May Fly??? :(

Must be a Yankee (Oh I'm sorry... a Damned Yankee) thing! ;D
Just a Yankee thing, they haven't moved down here, yet. Not as big a PIA as love bugs, but nasty just the same.
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Offline PaulP

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2015, 08:42:42 pm »
SteveJ,

Yeah, that's the Hastings bridge. The new four lane bridge is much better. I wonder if the de-icing system would work with Mayflies?
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2015, 10:07:47 pm »
This mayflies story has been all over the news. The good take away, is that it's a clear sign that the Susquehanna River is getting healthy again. Clean clear water is needed for all of this breeding activity.

No lights will be turned on for the bridge until this activity is over and done.
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Offline seagiant1

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2015, 12:27:16 am »
Hi,
      Thanks Steve!!! ;D
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

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Offline ManWorkingHere

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2015, 12:58:34 pm »
one word...   ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww   :-\

that's two words because you forgot the hyphenation.

ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww-wwwwwwwwww !!

I would not like the mayfly, nor the tarantula, migration.
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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2015, 01:57:10 pm »
Hi,
      Thanks Steve!!! ;D

Hiya Gregg. How's the weather all the way over in Lake Jem?

BTW, I A$$ume that was a female Mayfly, in keeping with your most excellent tradition.
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Offline seagiant1

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2015, 09:21:18 pm »
Hi Steve,
               I'm mostly in Charleston now,babysitting one of Uncle Sugar's grey ships! :-[

Only make it home for a long weekend now and then! :(

Hope to have a vacation this fall and I'll give you a shout and see whats going on. ;D

You know all the best places to ride anyway, maybe we can get (the other Steve) to go out and have lunch somewhere??? :great:
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

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Offline SteveJ.

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2015, 11:59:28 pm »
Sounds good, Gregg

Yeah, if you want true ram air tuning, you better be willing to ram some air! (SiSF)
Tick Tock, baby (Ironbuttal)
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Offline 4Bikes

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2015, 07:47:01 pm »
Sounds good, Gregg
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Offline seagiant1

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Re: Mayflies cause three motorcycle accidents
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2015, 08:42:39 pm »
Sounds good, Gregg
Greg's posts usually look good rather than sounds good. Thanks for the effort Greg!   :beerchug:

Hi,
      Your welcome! :great:

Thanks for the nod! ;D
“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” -Samuel Adams

"The further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those that speak it"
"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." George Orwell