Not only did Google publish it as official Street View images, it’s technically archived (until Google catches wind.)
GeoGuesser is a popular Google Maps-based geography game that’s taken off as of late. The game challenges players to guess where on Street View they’re randomly placed in. Its popularity has led to more and more people giving less popular and not frequently travelled areas of street view a second look (or third, fourth etc.)
Barcelona-based Twitch Streamer Pol Turrents, who goes by @PoliSpol1 on the streaming platform, started a Just Chatting stream earlier yesterday (Feb 9, 2023) and three hours in started to play GeoGuesser.
Moving the Google Maps Street View forward to get a better idea what city and country he’s in, he literally came across the Google Maps Street View vehicle hitting a rider on a motorcycle.
The accident took place in Bellé, Senegal, a sparsely populated area in the Tamabacounda region, sometime in December 2021.
It appears the Google Maps vehicle (truck) was driving along the N1 when a rider on a motorbike flipped a U-Turn in front of them.
With no room to stop the Google Maps Vehicle hit the motorcyclist, helmet flying off and all.
If you rotate the view when he gets hit, you can actually see one of the women reacting throwing her arms up.
How could this happen?
The simplest and most plausible explanation is the driver was probably not paying attention.
According to a Tek Bull Post, Google employees aren’t actually driving and walking around collecting a stream of photos for Google Street View. Instead, Google contracts out to vetted partners who hire independent contractors for special driving jobs.
Often Google supplies specially outfitted Google-owned cars with the correct 360-degree camera equipment or Google Street View partners make due with what local contractors have to work with, which in this infamous situation, is a contractor with a pickup truck and Google-provided 360-degree camera sticking out the bed.
It goes without saying, but obvious job duties of a Google Street View camera driver include following the rules of the road and not getting into an accident. But, when you’re dealing with places like the middle of Senegal, you work with what you can get.
A Senegal resident actually spotted what looks like the exact truck used for mapping Street View on the streets of Dakar on July 21,2021. (h/t – Reddit.)
If you scroll forward post accident, you can see the truck pull to the other side of the road, at which point the hurt motorcyclist is no longer there.
The Google Maps truck driver then continues on.
You’d think the Google Maps driver would report an incident like this or, at the very least, someone (or software) would edit these photos accordingly but, seeing how these photos made its way onto Street View since 2021, that obviously didn’t happen.
It appears PoliSpol might be the first person ever to come across these sets of images as, as far as I know, no one’s brought it up on the internet prior.
Since then, a new set of Google Maps Street view footage’s been published, a new Street View in that area posted May 2022.
As such, the old street view photos are archived, that is until Google either scrubs that street view or blurs out the accident.
Google Maps vehicles are driven by people who, just based on stats alone, are bound to get into accidents on the job.
Who knows how many undiscovered accidents there are out there archived on Street View ready to be found.