Exposed motorcycle riders no match for cars in collisions

Posted on in Motorcycle Accidents

California is one of the best states for motorcyclists to enjoy their rides, with mild temperatures year-round and thousands of miles of coastline to explore. Unfortunately, these advantages also put our state near the top of the list when it comes to fatal motorcycle accidents. There is a fine line between accidents that result in serious injuries and those that kill riders and passengers. That's because in any crash, a motorcyclist has little protection beyond a helmet and clothing.

Two recent crashes highlight the importance of keeping a sharp eye out for motorcycles. One of the accidents happened in Hayward just after noon on Wednesday. A 24-year-old motorcyclist was heading south on a city street when a car pulled out of a driveway and collided with his bike. Emergency responders attempted to revive him as he was taken to a local hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead after he arrived. Police said neither driver appeared to be impaired, but the motorcyclist had the right of way and the car driver may not have seen the man before directly blocking his path.

Meanwhile, authorities are still looking for a car driver who caused a crash that seriously injured a motorcyclist in San Diego at the end of last month. The driver made a U-turn in the Linda Vista area of the city -- directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, police said. The rider, a 32-year-old man, tried to avoid a collision by laying down his bike before the impact. In the process he was thrown from the bike, resulting in injuries that required him to be hospitalized.

U-turns are always risky, but especially when the turning driver fails to see an approaching vehicle. Police are calling the incident a hit-and-run, even though there was technically no impact between the car and the motorcycle. If the driver is found he or she could be held legally responsible for the motorcyclists' injuries and be forced to cover his medical costs.

Too often drivers fail to realize the consequences of not looking for motorcycles, whose riders frequently suffer serious and fatal injuries in crashes. All drivers have a duty to stay aware of these vulnerable motorists and avoid risky behavior that could threaten or end another person's life.

Source: Mercury News, "Patterson man killed in motorcycle crash in Hayward," Feb. 28, 2013

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