A 62-year-old Santa Ana man was killed and two others suffered injuries after a motorcycle accident on the northbound 605 Freeway in Norwalk. According to a report in The Orange County Register, the incident occurred on the freeway north of Alondra Boulevard.
Moments before the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said, a Lexus SUV and a Toyota Prius collided on the northbound 605. The Prius hit the center divider and ended up in the carpool lane on its side as did the SUV.
The motorcycle hit the underside of the overturned Prius, which then slid and struck the driver of the SUV who was standing outside and sustained moderate injuries. The driver of the SUV had been helping the driver of the Prius when the collision occurred.
The driver of the Prius complained of pain and both were taken to an area hospital. The motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation is ongoing.
How Common Are Motorcycle Accidents?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcyclists killed in crashes dropped to 4,985 in 2018, an almost 5% decrease, but motorcycle riders are still overrepresented in traffic fatalities. The latest data on vehicle miles traveled shows that motorcyclists are about 28 times as likely as passenger car occupants to die in a traffic accident.
Safe motorcycling takes balance, coordination, and good judgment. While safe riding practices and cooperation from all users of the road will help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by motorcycle accidents, it is especially important for drivers to understand the safety challenges faced by motorcyclists such as size and visibility.
What Causes Fatal Motorcycle Accidents?
When a motorcycle collides with a larger vehicle, it is often the motorcyclist who suffers fatal injuries. In this particular fatal accident in Norwalk, the motorcyclist collided with a vehicle that was stalled on the freeway as the result of a previous accident. However, given the time the accident occurred, which was early in the morning before daybreak, the motorcyclist may not have seen the vehicles in time to avoid a collision. This is an issue that makes motorcyclists extremely vulnerable on the freeway where traffic travels at high speeds.
Here are some of the most common causes of fatal motorcycle accidents:
Left turns: In Southern California in particular, we see a number of motorcycle versus vehicle accidents occur when the vehicle is making a left turn at a street intersection. NHTSA reports that about 36% of all motorcycle fatalities are due to left turn motorcycle accidents. When a driver approaches an intersection, he or she may miss an oncoming motorcycle because of its smaller size. If a car or truck driver see an approaching motorcycle, they may also sometimes underestimate the rider's speed and attempt to make the left turn or U-turn anyway. In order to avoid such a collision, motorists should evaluate their surroundings before proceeding through an intersection. Motorcyclists may also benefit from wearing reflective clothing that makes them more visible especially when it's dark outside.
Head-on collisions: More often than not, we see that when a motorcycle is involved in a crash with a car, it's a head-on collision. In such cases, motorcyclists have significantly less protection compared to another driver, even when they are wearing a helmet and appropriate riding gear. Being struck by a moving vehicle head on is often fatal for motorcyclists. The only way to prevent such accidents is for drivers and riders to be alert and sober on the road.
Roadway hazards: Because motorcycles are much smaller than cars and trucks, they can offer less protection to riders and passengers in terms of being unstable. When motorcycles encounter potholes, uneven roadways, slick spots or other roadway defects, the consequences can be devastating. Roadway design such as sharp curves can also be tricky for motorcyclists to navigate.
Driving under the influence: Driving a larger vehicle under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs often turns out to be fatal for motorcyclists. Motorists who get behind the wheel while under the influence often cause fatal motorcycle accidents. Alcohol impairment tends to impair one's judgment and hamper one's driving skills. Therefore, it is important that motorists refrain from driving if they have been drinking. Motorcyclists should also certainly avoid operating their vehicles while under the influence. It can be extremely dangerous to do so.
Excessive speed: Motorists and motorcyclists should be diligent when it comes to observing posted speed limits and driving at a safe speed given traffic, roadway and weather conditions. We often see motorcycle accidents where drivers lose control of their vehicles and strike motorcycles. Especially with roadways being relatively empty because of the coronavirus lockdowns, we have seen more and more speed-related accidents on our roadways. This is the time to slow down and pay attention.
If You Have Been Injured in a Motorcycle Collision
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident because of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, you may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress.
If your motorcycle accident has resulted in catastrophic or lifelong injuries, you may be able to seek additional compensation for permanent injuries, disabilities, loss of livelihood and so on. If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship.
The experienced Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys at Timothy J. Ryan and Associates are prepared to fight for your rights and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. We have a successful track record of representing injured victims of motorcycle accidents as well as families that have lost loved ones in all types of traffic collisions. Negligence or carelessness is often a factor in these cases. Call us at 1-800-838-6644 to find out how we can help you. We always offer free consultations and comprehensive case evaluations.