Havana Police Department

The bugs were so voluminous they formed a carpet 6 inches deep.

They teach a lot about defensive driving in motorcycle class, but one thing they usually don’t mention is what to do when you’re skidding through a writhing pudding of bugs 6 inches deep.

That was the startling situation this weekend in Havana, Illinois, where a seasonal hatch of mayflies descended upon a bridge. Vehicle traffic mooshed the insects into a slick, nasty lubricant that proved disastrous to several riders. The Havana Police Department writes on Facebook:

Please use caution when driving across the bridge today. Last night there was an invasion of Mayflies that has caused the bridge to be very dangerous. At one point they had piled 6 inches high and when ran over, became very slick. There were already motorcycle accidents due to this and cars stuck in the center of the bridge. Again use Caution.

Another view of the bridge:

Havana Police Department

Mayflies rise out of lakes and streams in the warmer months to breed in sky-darkening numbers. Their swarms are so dense they sometimes pop up on weather radar as storms; a couple years ago they left a Wisconsin gas station looking like it’d been sprayed with an industrial-strength foam-insulation gun. When not screwing up traffic they’re harmless, though, and no doubt make for a hungry bat’s best week of the year.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: Mayor Luigi Brugnaro walks on St Mark's Square as exceptionally high tidal flooding engulfed the city.
    Environment

    Venice Faces ‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding

    Seasonal acqua alta reached the highest level since 1966, leaving two dead and devastating damage. The city’s ambitious flood barrier isn’t ready yet.

  2. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

  3. photo: A metro train at Paris' Gare Du Nord.
    Transportation

    Can the Paris Metro Make Room for More Riders?

    The good news: Transit ridership is booming in the French capital. But severe crowding now has authorities searching for short-term solutions.

  4. a bike rider and bus riders in Seattle.
    Perspective

    There’s No App for Getting People Out of Their Cars

    “Mobility as a Service” boosters say that technology can nudge drivers to adopt transit and micromobility. But big mode shifts will take more than a cool app.  

  5. A view of a Harlem corner.
    Equity

    How Ronald Reagan Halted the Early Anti-Gentrification Movement

    An excerpt from Newcomers, a new book by Matthew L. Schuerman, documents the early history of the anti-gentrification and back-to-the-city movements.

×