In previous blog posts we've discussed the vulnerability of motorcycle riders, who aren't as visible to other drivers as a car or truck. If they do become involved in an accident, they have little protection from injury or death. Although campaigns exist in California and nationwide to promote motorcycle awareness, accidents continue to seriously injure motorcycle drivers and their passengers.
A motorcycle crash that killed a 31-year-old Brentwood, California, man last week is still under investigation. The collision happened Thursday as the motorcyclist was traveling west on a stretch of road in Brentwood that runs through about two miles of farmland. A FedEx delivery truck heading east turned into a private driveway, cutting off the motorcyclist's bath and causing him to crash his bike into the side of the truck, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Emergency responders tried to revive the motorcyclist, but he was soon pronounced dead at the scene. The FedEx truck driver wasn't arrested or cited, but the CHP maintains the investigation isn't complete. A CHP officer said her department will try to find witnesses to the crash and investigate why the truck driver failed to notice the motorcyclist directly in front of him. The crash occurred just before 5 p.m., well before sunset, so sun glare in the driver's eyes would not have been an issue. Other factors, such as whether the driver was fatigued or otherwise impaired, will also be taken into consideration.
Just last month the CHP attempted to raise awareness of motorcycles and other small vehicles with its "Look Twice for Motorcycles" campaign. With the economy still lagging and the weather conditions perfect for motorcycle riding, there may be more bikes out on the road, increasing the need for other vehicle drivers to keep an eye out for motorcycles. Motorcycle drivers, meanwhile, are encouraged to take a class from the California Motorcycle Safety Program, rather than simply purchasing a bike, reading the manual and speeding off from there.
If the FedEx truck driver is found to have acted negligently, that finding could strengthen the motorcyclist's family's civil wrongful death case, should they decide to file one, especially since there doesn't seem to be a clear reason the truck driver didn't see the motorcyclist.
Source: Mercury News, "Brentwood man killed when motorcycle collides with FedEx truck," Sean Maher, June 22, 2012