Recently, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that a Marietta police officer was seriously injured while riding his motorcycle in Cobb County. He was off-duty at the time of the accident. The facts we know at this point are very similar to other motorcycle collisions I have dealt with in my law practice as a Cobb County motorcycle injury lawyer.
In past posts, we have considered some of the most dangerous places on the road when motorcycles and motor vehicles share the road. We know statistically that Intersections are particularly dangerous for those riding motorcycles, but very often that is because the motorcycle is turning and motor vehicle drivers fail to see the rider or the rider turns before making sure he or she is seen.
The collision that caused the injury to the Marietta officer occurred on Dallas highway and involves an intersection, but in different way that many intersection collisions. The accident serves as a very important lesson mainly for motor vehicle drivers. First, the facts that we know about this accident.
On the morning of the crash, Officer Michael Randall was simply riding home at about 9 a.m. on his Kawasaki ZX10R motorcycle. The motorcycle was traveling in one direction and a car was traveling in the opposite direction. As these vehicles approached an intersection, the car turned left into the intersection and collided with the motorcycle striking the rider and injuring him seriously.
Officer Randall was taken to the hospital and was initially in the ICU. The fact that he was wearing a helmet was said to have saved his life, but he had broken bones and other possible injuries. Although there was no citation issued after the accident, the situation was under investigation at the time the accident was reported in the AJC.
The really important lesson in this accident is something that all drivers should consider. We know from other accidents that when turning into oncoming traffic all drivers of either cars or bikes must be aware of one another.
But in this situation, the driver apparently miscalculated the proximity of the motorcycle. As noted in the AJC interview with a Cobb County police officer after this terrible accident,” ‘People turning left need to understand a motorcycle will close on them quicker than the motorcycle driver might imagine and certainly quicker than the driver of the automobile may imagine.’ ” The officer continued, noting that there is an optical illusion for car drivers because ” ‘ the smaller person on the motorcycle appears to be farther down the road … [t]he person in the car feels they have time to get off the main roadway or pull out of a driveway or secondary roadway … [yet] the time for the vehicle driver to get out of the way is reduced drastically. And that’s compounded by the speed of the motorcycle.’ “
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has urged drivers to share the road with all bike riders. May is the month NHTSA sets aside to bring attention to this issue. They caution that “motorcycles are vehicles with the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle on the roadway” and want all drivers to consider this when they are on the road. The NHTSA Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month is a national initiative that is aimed at getting motorists and motorcyclists to “share the road” with each one another.
In the recent accident in Cobb County, the “optical illusion” referred to by authorities is something that all drivers should keep in mind when approaching an intersection on an open road. Slow down and if you see a bike coming down the road, wait until it passes before turning.
The Law Offices of Charles Scholle specializes in serious injury and accident cases. Motor vehicle accidents can be devastating and motorcycle crashes are particularly challenging due to the nature of possible injuries. My law practice specializes in injury cases of all kinds and we have the expertise to help you through the legal and medical issues you might be facing. Please contact my Gwinnett County and Atlanta area law offices for a free consultation regarding your situation.