One of the most common excuses that automobile drivers offer in the wake of their involvement in a motorcycle accident is a failure to see the smaller vehicle. Numerous nationwide campaigns have urged motorists to increase their awareness of motorcycles, whose riders are seriously injured and killed by the thousands each year. Still, there are plenty of crashes involving motorcycles that happen even when another driver is perfectly aware of the bike's presence, which can make the accident all the more tragic for the victims and their families.
A California Highway Patrol officer who was off duty when his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck in Fairfield appears to have been in plain sight before he was killed in the accident. The crash happened on Friday of last week as the officer, who was riding a personal vehicle, was traveling on state Route 12. According to a CHP report, a pickup truck heading toward the westbound officer was traveling east but slowed down to make a left-hand turn into a driveway. Apparently seeing the motorcycle coming toward him, the truck driver tried to accelerate to complete his turn in front of the biker, but did so too late. The motorcycle crashed into the side of the truck and the officer was thrown from the bike. He died after hitting another passing car.
If the pickup truck driver had exhibited just a bit of patience by waiting for the motorcyclist to pass, the off-duty officer might still be alive today. Instead, his loved ones are now forced to plan a funeral as they come to grips with his death.
It isn't enough to just start seeing motorcycles; when they have the right of way, drivers must yield to them and recognize how vulnerable they are in a collision like this one.
Source: Mercury News, "Off-duty CHP officer dies in Fairfield motorcycle crash," Dec. 14, 2012
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