A crash involving a truck and a motorcycle in Albemarle County, Virginia (VA), left the motorcyclist dead and the truck driver with minor injuries. The fatal collision happened at the intersection of Rio Road and Hillsdale Drive north of Charlottesville.
According to news reports, the crash occurred at 10 am. Police and EMTs responded within minutes, but they could not save the motorcycle rider’s life. A crash scene reconstruction team began their work almost immediately. No details regarding who caused the collision have been released.
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Authorities publicly identified the deceased motorcycle rider as 20-year-old Kyjuan-Shallah Anthony Maurice Bell. He had lived in Dillwyn, a town in Buckingham County. My Virginia-based wrongful death law firm colleagues and I send our deepest condolences out to Bell’s friends and family members. We also hope the injured driver recovers fully.
A Sad Story Repeated Too Often
The tragic headline “Crash kills motorcycle rider” could appear practically anywhere in Virginia on any day of any year. Statistics kept by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reveal that between 1997 and 2011, the number of motorcyclist fatalities increased from around 2,000 each year to more than 5,000 annually.
More recently, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles recorded 1,827 motorcycle crashes on state roads and highways during 2020. Those wrecks led to 88 deaths and seriously injured another 1,405 people. When the FHWA conducted a wide-ranging study into why so many deadly and disabling crashes involving motorcycles happened, the agency found, “Left-turn scenarios were the most common crash configuration, followed by falling to avoid crash and running off the roadway.”
In other words, motorcycle riders face the most risk from drivers who fail to yield right of way before attempting to turn across oncoming traffic. Speeding and following too closely also cause a high number of rear-end collisions.
Last, too many motorcyclists simply lose control of their bikes. This problem sometimes results from people in cars or trucks making unsafe lane changes or entering traffic without checking their blind spots.
Calling particular attention to the deadly risk of drivers simply not seeing motorcycle riders, the FHWA stated in its 2019 Motorcycle Crash Causation Study: Final Report that the top two scenarios for a crash involving a motorcycle and another vehicle are “‘Other Vehicle Driver Perception Failure’ (30 percent) [and] ‘Other Vehicle Driver Decision Failure’ (17 percent).”
We cannot know from brief news stories why the crash in Albemarle County happened. If investigators determine the truck driver acted negligently or recklessly, the family of the deceased motorcycle rider would have strong grounds for filing insurance claims or a lawsuit.