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Shapiro & Appleton

Fatal Motorcycle Accident Illustrates Responsibility Car Drivers Have for Protecting Bike Riders

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North Carolina (NC), like Virginia (VA) and every other state, offers a safe riders training program for motorcyclists. A fatal accident on October 12, 2011, just east of Kissimmee, Florida (FL), points, as too many crashes involving bikers do, to the likely need for a course for car drivers on how to share the road safely with people on motorcycles.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, 19-year-old Robert Louis White lost his life when he was hit from the side by the driver of Volkswagen Passat at the intersection of Boggy Creek Road at Borinquen Drive in Osceola County. Police did not immediately charge the at-fault driver with any moving violations or release details of the cause of the deadly collision, but the accident definitely points to a persistent problem of drivers failing to operate their cars and trucks in ways that keep motorcyclist safe.


View a larger map of the area in Florida where a Virginia Beach resident was killed in a motorcycle crash in Florida

As a North Carolina and Virginia personal injury attorney, I am contacted nearly every week by a motorcycle rider or the family of a motorcyclist who suffered serious injuries or got killed in a collision caused by a negligent driver. In fact, two of my firm's signature legal victories include securing a $1.5 million settlement for an NC couple who suffered severe injuries when a police officer in a marked cruiser hit their motorcycle head-on and a $50,000 insurance payment for a Navy man who was rear-ended at a Virginia Beach stop light by a driver who admitted he was not paying attention.

Motorcyclist rarely walk away from accidents with minor scrapes and bruises. Too often, a motorcyclist is killed after getting hit by a person who's only explanation -- "defense" would be a compliment the phrase doesn't deserve -- for causing the collision is "I didn't see them." The solution, then, is to constantly be on the lookout for people riding motorcycles.

Here are tips people behind the wheels of cars and trucks should follow when sharing roads and highways with motorcyclists:

  • Check your blind spots before backing out of driveways, making turns or changing lanes.
  • Look right, left, then right again before entering traffic or making a turn.
  • Leave as much distance between your vehicle and a motorcycle as you would if you were following a car or truck.
  • Give motorcyclists a full lane to themselves; never pass a motorcycle without fully changing lanes.
  • Check oncoming traffic before opening your car or truck door on the side where other vehicles are passing.
 
EJL
 
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