Roethlisberger in Motorcycle Accident without Helmet (Video Photos) ***Updated***

Ben Roethlisberger, quarterback for the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers, crashed his motorcycle this morning while not wearing a helmet.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was taken to the hospital after a motorcycle accident on Monday morning. The Steelers confirmed the accident for WTAE Channel 4 Action News. A news briefing from Pittsburgh police was expected shortly.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said the accident happened on Second Avenue near the 10th Street Bridge.

A witness told Channel 4 Action News that Roethlisberger went over the handlebars, hit the windshield of another vehicle and then hit the ground. The witness said she saw the accident and went over to help but did not recognize Roethlisberger. When she asked him what his name was, she said he replied, “Ben.” The woman added that Roethlisberger asked her a series of questions, including where he was and what state he was in. He attempted to stand up but the woman said she encouraged him not to move until paramedics arrived.

Roethlisberger was taken to Mercy Hospital. There is no word on the extent of his injuries.

Police have closed down the bridge, Second Avenue and the Armstrong Tunnels.

Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet, according to the Tribune-Review. In the past, he has publicly said he prefers to ride helmetless, which is legal in Pennsylvania.

There is live video of Channel 4 Action News Reports From The Scene at the link.

More from ESPN:

“He was alert and conscious,” said Ernie Roman, shift commander for the Allegheny County emergency service, told The Associated Press.’s John Clayton reports that Roethlisberger was conscious while undergoing treatment for gashes on his forehead — and that early indications are the injuries are not life-threatening.

Roethlisberger, the team’s first-round choice in the 2004 draft, was transported to the trauma unit of nearby Mercy Hospital, a source confirmed for’s Len Pasquarelli, but his condition is unknown. Witnesses told authorities that Roethlisberger’s motorcycle collided with a car near a downtown intersection and that Roethlisberger’s head hit the windshield and was bleeding. Roethlisberger has said in the past that he prefers not to wear a helmet when riding.

Steelers officials have confirmed the accident, which occurred on Second Avenue near the intersection of 10th Street in Pittsburgh, around 11:30 a.m. The route is one often taken in traveling to the Steelers’ facility in the Southside section of the city.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Roethlisberger wasn’t wearing a helmet. In previous interviews, Roethlisberger has said that he does not like wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle. In the wake of a motorcycle accident sustained by Cleveland Browns tight end Kellen Winslow last spring, Roethlisberger spoke about his own fixation with motorcycles, and his penchant for riding without a helmet. He was admonished by former Steelers quarterback and Hall of Fame member Terry Bradshaw for potentially jeopardizing his career.

In May 2005, Steelers coach Bill Cowher lectured Roethlisberger on the dangers of riding without a helmet. “He talked about being a risk-taker and I’m not really a risk-taker. I’m pretty conservative and laid back, but the big thing is to just be careful,” Roethlisberger said at the time. “I’ll just continue to be careful. I told him we don’t ever ride alone, we always ride in a group of people, and I think it makes it even more safe.”

Apparently, he was neither with a group of people nor safe this morning. Thankfully, it appears that he will get a chance to rethink he position on helmets.

Hat tip Brandon Minich.

UPDATE: It’s significantly worse than it initially sounded, although not life threatening: “Roethlisberger lost most of his teeth, fractured his left sinus cavity bone, suffered a nine-inch laceration to the back of his head and a broken jaw, and injured both of his knees when he hit the ground, police said.”

Some photos from the accident scene, taken by Philip G. Pavely of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Ben Roethlisberger Accident Scene Photo A Pittsburgh police officer is joined by onlookers as they survey the damage to a 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa GSXR 1300 belonging to the Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger after the quarterback was in an accident on Second Avenue of Pittsburgh June 12, 2006. Roethlisberger was taken to Mercy Hospital.  Ben Roethlisberger Accident Scene Photo 2 Pittsburgh police officers look over the mangled 2005 Suzuki Hayabusa GSXR 1300 motorcyle belonging to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after he was involved in an accident on Second Avenue in Pittsburgh June 12, 2006. Philip G. Pavely/TRIBUNE-REVIEWBen Roethlisberger Accident Scene Photo 3

Brandon Minich continues to update the story for OTB Sports. See Quote of the Day, Ben Roethlisberger Edition and Big Ben Injury Update for more details and reactions.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. McGehee says:

    The woman added that Roethlisberger asked her a series of questions, including […] what state he was in.


  2. Bango says:

    What a complete moron. I hope that the Steelers have a clause in his contract whereby they don’t have to pay him for missing any games as a result of his stupidity.

    Interestingly, of the motorcycle-related deaths last year in Pennsylvania, most riders were wearing helmets.

  3. Pug says:

    I saw a feature story on Ben Roethlisberger on TV last football season (can’t remember where) that showed him riding his motorcycle and discussing how great it made him feel and that he wasn’t worried at all about getting hurt on it.

    He should have asked Kellen Winslow about that. Too bad about the accident, though. He just hit it big last season. He coulda been another Joe Montana.

  4. Dale B says:

    To most people being careful means not going too fast. That’s not enough. You need to be proactive in recognizing and avoiding hazardous situations.

    Riding with groups has its own unique risks that you don’t have when riding alone. In the end, group riding isn’t really any safer, just different.

  5. legion says:

    I live in Idaho, which is another non-helmet-required state. I can’t count the number of people I’ve seen riding around in snappy, expensive, well-padded riding jackets. And still no helmet.

    I want one myself, and I know many cycle accidents are caused (or at least made much worse) by inattentive drivers in cars, but I see some people and I want to start calling them ‘darwin-mobiles’.

  6. floyd says:

    unprecedented compassion for this injured man. EVERY injury could be construed as human error, thereby the result of stupidity on the part of the injured. i’d like to see the “get well” cards sent by this group to their sick or injured friends[lol]

  7. Valerie says:

    I feel bad that Ben got hurt, but ya know, all it takes is a little common sense – not only on his part, but on the part of lawmakers. Pennsylvania state law says you have to wear a seatbelt when riding in an automobile (you have things in front of you for protection in a car/truck)….yet they are going to give you the option to wear a helmet or not on a motorcycle?!! I know too many people that have been in motorcycle accidents that have said if it weren’t for the helmet they wouldn’t be here today!! Use some common sense people!!!!

  8. John Doe says:

    This guy has got to be the biggest idiot I have ever herd of in my entire life. I hope he loses everything that he has ever gotten because of his stupidity.

  9. John Doe says:

    What a fucking moron.

  10. Mairin Tierney says:

    The car made a left hand turn in front of him. A helmet would not have prevented the accident. He does not have a motorcycle endorsement for his license, and I don’t know what speed he was going, but there are factors other than not wearing a helmet that CAUSED the accident.

  11. Browns Fan. says:

    All i have to say ….is……hahahahahah….iam not happy ben is hurt ..would never wish or want to see that …Ben is a great QB and person at that…But…TO all the stealers fans that gave a little trash talking to browns fans when winslow was hurt for being a dumb A$$…Eat it..and i hope he is out all year… iam doing a little dance as i write this…!!!!

  12. Joan C says:

    Sorry for your bad luck, Ben. Maybe you’ll rethink the helmet thing now or maybe not. Hope you’re feeling better soon. Do you believe in signs?

  13. steelers #1fan says:

    4 the BROWNS FAN…. you can talk shit on all the steelers but it’ll just caome back and bite the browns right in the A$$!!!!!! SCREW YOU!!!!!
    the steelers will always be the best!! GO STEELERS!!!!!

  14. steelers #1fan says:

    WTF… the contract it says not to do anything dangerous…hell walking out the door is dangerous. i mean come on…… they should be able to do whatever they want but ben, you just went to far this time….!!!!!!!

  15. Jared Reed says:

    Ok! Heres the deal, It was a wrong move to not wear a helment but is injuries are not as of a big factor. His injuries are not as impotant as if he were to lose an arm or eye. He only broke a jaw and scratched up his knees. Come to the season opener, he will be on that field and in good condition. He will drive the steelers to another championship with no problem. I believe in Ben and he is a strong and couragous man. I hav faith in Ben and he will always come out on top!!

    Thank You For Your Time……GO STEELERS!!!

  16. jackson says:

    why the hell would you want big ben to lose everything he gave us a another superbowl win

  17. edmoilers says:

    Jared Reed, he did not just scratch a knee and break a jaw, he broke both his jaw bones, and he had other facial fractures. It’s a little more serious than that, considering his jaw is probably wired shut for the next month or so…I don’t know why people don’t wear helmets…especially since Ben wears one all the time at work…I just get it.

  18. PA NATIVE says:

    Hey John Doe – your next