Just five days after a moped accident in Oak Bluffs killed a Virginia woman, another accident yesterday in Edgartown has left a 60-year-old moped rider from Florida in critical condition with severe head injuries.
The victim, Barnard Lorence, was airlifted to Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
Police said that at about 2:15 p.m., Mr. Lorence of Jensen Beach, Fla. was driving a moped east on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road with his wife as a passenger when the moped was sideswiped by a car.
The 1996 Buick was driven by Mary Larsen, 75, of Chilmark. When rescue crews arrived, they found Mr. Lorence unconscious and with serious trauma to the head. Emergency medical technicians classified him as a priority one, with life-threatening injuries.
Mrs. Lorence suffered only minor injuries, and Mrs. Larsen was not injured in the accident which remains under investigation by Edgartown police. The accident happened near the entrance to Oyster-Watcha Pond road as the Lorences were driving towards Edgartown.
The Lorences rented their moped yesterday at about 10:45 a.m. from Two Wheel Traveler, a dealer in Oak Bluffs. The owner of the rental agency, Fran Alarie 3rd, told the Gazette yesterday that he remembered the couple and that they seemed very comfortable riding the moped.
"He told me he'd been riding motorcycles forever," said Mr. Alarie. "He clearly initialed every form, including the inherent risk form. This is just terrible. This just sucks." Mr. Alarie has led efforts of moped dealers to meet with opponents and agree to new safety measures.
Edgartown police said yesterday they don't believe Mr. Lorence had a license to ride a motorcycle. Police have not determined whether they will file any charges in connection with the accident.
Yesterday's accident and Saturday's fatality have renewed calls not only for more training of moped renters but also for new legislation that would restrict moped use to drivers who already have a motorcycle license.
"Where is the community sense of outrage?" asked Sam Feldman yesterday after learning of yesterday's serious moped accident. Mr. Feldman is founder of the Mopeds are Dangerous organization which has lobbied for legislation and also worked with dealers to implement plans to reduce moped accidents.