Start seeing motorcycles. We have all seen the bumper stickers which have been around for years but the efforts to reduce or eliminate motorcycle accidents did not help a 14-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol who was killed in an off-duty motorcycle accident in Solano County, west of Sacramento. Although the man's name had not been released a CHP spokesperson said he worked in Solano County. The accident occurred on Highway 12 just before 6:00 p.m. on a Friday in mid-December.
According to reports, the motorcyclist was traveling on a "notoriously dangerous stretch" of the highway when a pickup truck traveling east entered a left-hand turn lane to turn into a driveway. This turn required the driver to cross two westbound lanes of Highway 12 west of Red Top Road. The driver of the pickup was just beginning to enter into the second westbound lane when he noticed the oncoming motorcycle.
The driver apparently tried to avoid colliding with the motorcyclist by accelerating his speed to get out of his way but the motorcyclist struck the right-rear end of the truck and was thrown from his bike. In a tragic turn of events the motorcyclist was thrown into an eastbound lane where he was struck by an oncoming SUV. The SUV's driver saw both the motorcyclist and his motorcycle coming at him separately. At the time he did not know what either object was and swerved to avoid the motorcycle but ending up hitting the man instead.
A man thought to be a doctor passing by attempted CPR on the victim immediately following the crash but the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after paramedics arrived. The highway was closed for several hours as the CHP's major accident team investigated the crash. No other injuries were reported in the accident and the cause is still under investigation.
This accident, like many others just like it demonstrates the importance of safely sharing the road with motorcycles. Motorcycles do not have the same protections travelers in passenger vehicles do and all too often suffer serious injuries or death when an accident occurs.
In this case it could be determined that the pickup truck driver may have been negligent in not seeing the motorcyclist when he made his turn. Regardless, family members of the victim retain the right to file a wrongful death claim against to recover damages, including funeral and burial expenses for their loved one.
Source: The Sacremento Bee, "Off-duty CHP officer killed in motorcycle accident," Matt Weiser, Dec. 15, 2012
Our Sacramento personal injury law firm handles a wide variety of accident claims, including motorcycle accidents, car crashes and wrongful death claims.