The Investigators

Jul 15, 2013 12:30 PM by Matthew Schwartz

Speeding motorcyclists beware

TUCSON - Josh Beal hasn't walked in three years.

"I'm sitting here, I'm a paraplegic now," the 33 year-old Tucson man told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Beal crashed his motorcycle on Mount Lemmon Highway, near Seven Cataracts Road, on Sept. 19, 2010. According to the Pima County Sheriff's Department accident report, Beal was going 45 miles per hour on the mountain road on his Honda Shadow Sabre, 10 over the speed limit. But it was about 1 a.m., pitch black out. Josh hit a guard rail, and was ejected. Two vertebrae were shattered, another fractured.

‘I'm in pain every day," Josh says.

Pima County Deputy Sheriff David Conto has been patrolling Mount Lemmon for three years. The speed limit on the highway is 35 mph. Dep. Conto said, "I've had motorcycles doing actually 95 that I've clocked. I've been only to one crash, or one accident that was somebody going 35 miles an hour. Almost every crash that happens up here is speed-related."

The Sheriff's Department's statistics don't differentiate between motorcycles and cars, but in 2012 there were 63 reported accidents on Mount Lemmon Highway, one was fatal. So far this year, there have been 25 accidents on the road, two of them fatal.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators put a speed gun on several motorcycles on Mount Lemmon. Many that passed us were going over 35. Deputy Conto says even doing 35mph can be hazardous, with all the curves and other factors.

"There's too much with the road that can go wrong," Conto said. "With other vehicles, with animals, with rocks in the road, there's just too many chances for having a problem. Speeding happens every day, and it's something that we try to stay on top of, but there's just so much area that it's difficult to be everywhere all at once."

Josh Beal says, "A lot of times when they're up there speeding, they don't stay in their lane. you know, they go around a blind corner in the wrong lane, just because they need to be able to take that corner that way because they are going so fast." Asked what advice he would give to motorcyclists who want to speed, Josh told us, "I would say be careful. If you want to speed, take it to the track.

Josh said he knows that a lot of motorcyclists will continue to speed, and that he can only hope what happened to him, doesn't happen to them.

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