Riding a motorcycle is dangerous even for the most seasoned riders.
Indeed, one of the biggest fears motorcyclists have is that another driver may suddenly pull out in front of them and cause a serious injury or fatal crash. Sharing the road with larger vehicles is certainly a problem for motorcyclists who are often treated with less respect than larger vehicles because they are not a threat to them.
The city of Huntington Beach has unique features that attract all types of motorcycle enthusiasts. The Pacific Coast Highway, for example, provides a beautiful ride along the coast that many motorcycle riders enjoy. There are also many dining and shopping destinations in the downtown Main Street area as well as throughout the city.
However, motorcyclists who drive on PCH will have to negotiate heavy traffic at times, especially when there are big events at the beach that draw thousands of spectators such as on July 4th or during the US Open of Surfing.
Additionally, both the beach and the downtown district in Huntington Beach are destinations for people who like to drink and unfortunately there are some who will drive themselves home even though it’s illegal to do so.
HUNTINGTON BEACH MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
Over the years, there have been many tragic accidents in Huntington Beach. Some of them involved injuries and some were fatal. A recent crash involved a young man named Chad Wojno, 27, of Huntington Beach. He was killed in April 2015 when an 80-year-old woman in a Toyota SUV pulled out of a driveway in front of him as he drove near Warner Avenue and Sculpin Lane. Witnesses reported at the time that he was speeding prior to the collision, however, the outcome of who was liable was not disclosed.
Also in 2015, a 51-year-old man died after he crashed his Harley Davidson motorcycle into a parked 2012 Ford F-150 pickup truck in the 16800 block of Montclair Lane. The man was allegedly speeding at the time of the crash. He was hospitalized, but died of his injuries.
In June 2015, a motorcyclist was injured in a solo collision in the northbound lanes of Pacific Coast Highway. The rider was allegedly under the influence of alcohol and traveling too fast at the time he lost control of the bike between Seapoint and Warner avenues. The motorcyclist was allegedly passing other motorists on the left in a painted median prior to crashing. He was hospitalize and charged with DUI.
Back in September, 2014, Devin Santiago of Lakewood was killed when a driver in a GMC U-Haul van pulled out of 8th Street to cross PCH in front of his bike. Santiago was unable to stop and crashed into the vehicle. He died of his injuries at Hoag Hospital.
CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS
There are no two motorcycle accidents that have the same circumstances. Every accident has a unique set of facts. However, the major causes of motorcycle accidents in California are speeding, unsafe turns and alcohol impairment by either the rider or the motorist involved in a crash, according to CHP collision data.
Since 2010, there have been 13 deaths and 252 people injured in motorcycle accidents in Huntington Beach and roughly 31 percent of them involved alcohol, according to a recent press release by the Huntington Beach Police Department.
One fatal crash that struck a chord with the community was in 2013. Local resident Kelly Morehouse, 25, was riding on the back of her finance’s motorcycle when they were struck by an alleged drunken driver. Tadashi Mizutani, 68, of Huntington Beach was arrested for DUI, but Moorehouse lost her life and her fiancé Taylor Rolfson suffered broken legs.
SAFETY FOR MOTORCYCLE RIDERS
Motorcycles need to be seen by other motorists, but they also need to be alert for other drivers and be prepared to react immediately. It’s recommended that motorcyclists use their headlights even in the daylight hours to help them be more visible. Ride in traffic lanes in the position where you are most likely to be seen by other drivers and only change lanes after using signals and when there is space to do so.
Riding below or above the speed limit is dangerous. Match your speed with drivers around you for the safest travel. Wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet and do not use novelty helmets unless you are not riding a bike. Novelty helmets offer little or no protection if you are involved in a crash.
Learn to drive safely by taking a training course by the California motorcyclist Safety Program.
HOW CAN A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY HELP?
Attorney James Johnson, founder of Johnson Attorneys Group, has represented many types of motorcycle crashes involving drivers and passengers who have been hurt in a traffic accident. Our offices also represent the families of victims who are killed in traffic accident with a negligent driver and helped them find justice and compensation for losses in a wrongful death action.
“Many people think they will be treated fairly by an insurance company because the other party has acknowledged it was their fault, but that is not usually the case,” said Johnson. “A person who is not represented by an attorney is an easy target for an insurance adjuster because they know the law and you don’t.”
If you would like legal assistance following a motorcycle accident, contact Johnson Attorneys Group at 800-235-6801 for a free consultation. Our law firm is a proud supporter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Orange County.
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