Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Earlier this week, a motorcycle accident in Pacific Beach led to a driver’s arrest and put a motorcyclist in the hospital. According to San Diego Talk Radio, this past weekend a number of DUI checkpoints were set up throughout San Diego. Over the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend, the city worried that celebrations from the holiday might lead to increased incidents of drinking and driving. The DUI checkpoints were intended to monitor for these drunk drivers.

However, the motorcycle accident in Pacific Beach actually happened in front of a police officer, according to a local CBS 8 station. The motorcyclist attempted to make a left turn when a driver in an automobile hit him from behind. The driver was taken into custody. He currently faces DUI charges for his role in the accident. While no specific information about the motorcyclist has been released, the California Highway Patrol expects to have more information in the coming days.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you could be entitled to compensation. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can discuss your case with you today. Although we can never be fully prepared for drunk drivers, the recent accident raises concerns about motorcycle safety here in California. Are you safe on your motorcycle?

It is commonly understood that motorcycles come with far more risks that other modes of transportation. The main reason is obvious: when involved in any sort of accident, motorcycles offer far less protection that most other vehicles save for bicycles. On top of that, because of their smaller size, it is more likely that a fellow traveler will miss seeing a biker. That makes it more likely that another driver will veer into their lane, turn in front of them, or otherwise act inappropriately to cause an accident.

Recently, a new study from Injury Prevention took a look at other factors that might affect injury after motorcycle accident. In findings that are not all that surprising, the researchers found that older motorcyclists–age sixty and above–were significantly more likely to be injured following a motorcycle accident. In particular researchers found these older travelers to have about three times more injuries after an accident when compared to their younger counterparts.

To reach their conclusions the researchers took a look at reports of serious crashes culled from the U.S. National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program. Over an eight year period earlier this decade that amounted to about 1.5 million motorcycle accidents.



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The family of a motorcycle rider who was killed in 2009 will receive $1.8 million in a settlement agreement reached with the City of San Diego. Kenneth Sully was killed at an accident-prone intersection at Pacific Highway and Cedar Street when he collided with a Toyota Corolla.

The family’s attorney Benjamin Bunn was able to show that the city of well-aware of the dangers posed by the configuration of the intersection, and that efforts to make it safer – including the addition of a $3,000 traffic signal – were repeatedly denied by city officials. According to news accounts, there were a dozen accidents at the intersection between 2006 and 2009, and that the city was aware of the dangers as far back as 1999. Three months after the fatality, the city installed a proper traffic signal.

According to the San Diego Union Tribune:

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith explained that the city had been slow to address complaints about the intersection’s dangers after a left-turn lane was created on southbound Pacific Highway in 1997. The city didn’t erect a left-turn yield sign or a turn signal, which left the impression that drivers could turn left — into oncoming traffic — once the signal turned green. Several attempts to fix the problem fizzled through the years because of budget woes and employee incompetence, Goldsmith said.

The settlement required approval by the San Diego City Council, who approved the settlement last Tuesday.

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San Marcos resident and San Diego Police Officer Bruce Byrd was injured this morning while traveling to work. At approximately 6:00 a.m. Byrd, riding his motorcycle, entered the intersection of Borden and Palo Alto when a woman driving a 2000 Honda Civic turned left directly into Byrd’s path of travel. Byrd was thrown from his bike and is reported to have suffered a dislocated hip, broken leg, hand injury, and a cut to his head.

SM%20Accident.jpg According to reports, the driver of the vehicle, was not seriously injured, and was devastated by the accident. Witnesses say that driver Cynthia Kusimoto was leaving her boyfriend’s home when the accident occurred, and that she told officer’s at the scene that she didn’t see Byrd’s motorcycle.

Notably, Kusimoto was cited at the scene for not having proof of automobile insurance. That may be a clue as to whether she had liability insurance at all. Based on the news reports, Byrd would have a strong personal injury case against Kusimoto, assuming she has the insurance or the assets to pay. If not, Byrd may have maintained underinsured motorist coverage that would kick in in the event Kusimoto was uninsured or underinsured. It is also possible that Byrd would be entitled to benefits under a worker’s compensation policy, though such policies usually don’t cover individuals who are injured traveling to or from work.

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A two-year old lawsuit against the City of Carlsbad by a man who suffered brain injuries after a motorcycle accident on La Costa Avenue has settled his case for $2.9 million. In the lawsuit, plaintiff Frank Gaetani contended that conditions along La Costa Ave. were unreasonably dangerous, that the City of Carlsbad knew about, but failed to do anything about it. Carlsbad denied the allegations, stating that it could find no similar accidents like the one Gaetani suffered in the history of the road.

The accident was a serious one. Gaetani was riding his motorcycle near the 2700 block of La Costa Ave. near Calle Madero when he colloded with a large SUV being driven by a homeowner trying to exit her driveway. Gaetani suffered serious injuries, including permanent brain damage.

La Costa Avenue has been the subject of a long dispute between residents of the busy road and the City of Carlsbad. Residents have been lobbying for years to reduce the speed limit along the road, and Carlsbad has made some efforts to make the road safer. Because of development east of La Costa, the road has become a highly used artery for people trying to get to I-5.

Carlsbad says there will be several changes in the coming years to make the road even safer.

Source: North County Times

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The California Office of Traffic Safety issued a report last week on 2009 car accident data, and included this year for the first time something called “collision rankings.” These rankings a based upon data collected by the CHP and the Department of Transportation, which then compares cities with populations of 25,000 or greater.

According to the report, Carlsbad, Temecula, and Poway are some of the safest communities for drivers or cars and motorcycles, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, Temecula is rated first in cities with a population of 100,000 to 250,000, and Carlsbad is ranked ninth. In the 50,000 to 100,000 range, Poway ranks fourth safest when compared to 104 similar cities. Escondido and Oceanside don’t do as well. Escondido is ranked as the fifth worst and Oceanside the eighth worst.

Here’s how the numbers breakdown. In 2009, Escondido had 844 injury or fatal accidents, Oceanside had 752, Carlsbad 350, and Temecula only 116. Cities like Encinitas, Murrieta, and San Marcos finished in the middle tier.

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It goes without saying that there are serious risks associated with riding a motorcycle that other automobile drivers don’t face. The San Diego Union Tribune is out with an article about motorcycle safety after the terrible tragedy last week where four motorcyclists were killed on a group ride out in East County.

Motorcycle experts say that the tragic accident underscores the reality that traveling by motorcycle carries with it significantly more risk than traveling by car, and highlights the importance of maintaining a safe distance among other vehicles in the road in case there is a sudden emergency. While the riders involved in last week’s accident were, by all accounts, innocent victims of a reckless driver, it does provide an opportunity to revisit driving laws. Statistically, motorcycling still remains the riskiest way to travel.

The California Vehicle Code requires that drivers of any vehicle, motorcycle or other, to “not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent,” depending on speed, traffic and road conditions. What is reasonable has been defined as maintaining at least a two-second gap from the nearest moving vehicle for cars, and at least three seconds for motorcycles.

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Details of last week’s tragic motorcycle accident in eastern San Diego County that claimed the lives of five members of a motorcycle club are now being reported. Twenty-one members of the Saddletramps Motorcycle Club were on a desert ride to celebrate its 10th anniversary when the horror began. According to witnesses, the group was traveling together, in a pack, on a two-lane desert road when a gold Honda Civic pulled up behind them, then attempted to pass the group. The Honda reached speeds of up to 90 mph.

As the Honda tried to pass, it must have either not seen the Dodge Avenger driving in the oncoming lane, or ignored it, but to avoid a head-on collision, the Dodge swerved to the right, but overcorrected in its attempt to recover, and drove directly into the pack of motorcycles. One witness described it as a bowling ball knocking down pins.

The “carnage was unreal,” said Saddletramps president Carl Smith, who himself was narrowly missed by the careening Dodge. The accident, we now know, killed four riders, and critically injured five more (a passenger in the Dodge was also killed). A Blood Drive will be held for the survivors this Saturday, November 20, 2010 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. held by San Diego Harley Davidson in the parking lot at 5600 Kearny Mesa Road in San Diego.

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Fatal motorcycle accidents fell by 16 percent in the first nine months of 2009 after rising steadily for the previous decade, a report just issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association found. The reasons for the sudden plunge in motorcycle deaths are unclear, but there was some speculation that current economic conditions were keeping motorcyclists off the road. Indeed, new motorcycles sales were down 42% in 2009.

But the decline in deaths is obviously good news. Professor Samir Ahmed, who studies the causes of motorcycle accidents at Oklahoma State University, was stumped as to the cause of the decline. He told the Washington Post, “It’s good news that fatalities are decreasing, but I really don’t have a clue as to why. I really don’t see anything that would cause that, unless people are just not riding.”

In addition, motorcycle riding has changed dramatically over the decades. It boomed in the years after World War II, when it was primarily popularized soldiers coming home from the war, but over the years the age of the average rider has risen dramatically. In 1987, the average age of a rider was 27, but by 2004 the average age was 41. Statistics from 1975 show that the riders under 50 years old accounted for 97% of all motorcycle accident deaths, whereas now more than 28% of all deaths are riders over 50.

A volunteer for the Los Angeles Triathlon received a settlement of $7 million from the City of Los Angeles after being rendered a paraplegic in an accident related to the race.

Steve Albala was riding on his motorcycle and helping officiate the bicycle leg of the triathlon when he was struck by a car at an intersection. According to reports, the intersection was being controlled by a traffic officer, who motioned for the vehicle to proceed, despite Albala’s presence on the motorcycle. The force of the impact threw Albala nearly 20 feet, causing a fractured spine and spinal cord damage, and requiring several surgeries and nearly two years in the hospital.

Interestingly, a police report at the time concluded that Albana was speeding, but in the lawsuit those conclusions were successfully challenged. The city also paid $250,000 to Albana’s passenger, who was also injured, and $500,000 to the driver of the car involved.

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