Articles Posted in Motorcycle accident

Our Atlanta product liability attorneys are following recent news about Honda’s recall of 126,000 motorcycles with malfunctioning brakes, the second such recall done. These vehicle recalls show product defects in vehicles could potentially cause accidents, injuries, and even deaths.

The recalled motorcycles include GL-1800 motorcycles from 2001 through 2010, and those from 2012. Honda issued an initial recall of these motorcycles in December 2011, but continued receiving complaints. Honda told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the reason for the problharley davidsonem was undetermined, and they were still investigating the cause.

Through July 24 of this year, Honda received 533 complaints about problems with the bikes. It turns out the secondary brake master cylinder can cause the rear brake to drag, which in turn can cause a crash or fire. The complaints include reports of eight small fires; luckily, no reports of crashes or injuries related to these brake problems were received.

An interesting government report on the costs of motorcycle accidents was recently released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report stated that in 2010, the cost of injuries and deaths due to motorcycle crashes was $16 billion. That sounds like a huge amount of money, but it is likely underestimated as the costs of long term care for medical issues are not factored in. motorcyclecrash.jpg

The GAO, in its report, reviewed: knowledge about the cost of motorcycle crashes; the factors contributing to motorcycle accidents, fatalities, what individual states are doing in response; and how the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is assisting the states.

The GAO noted that motorcyclists, per mile traveled, are 30 percent more likely to die in a vehicle accident than persons in cars. In 2010, the year dealt with in this latest report, about 82,000 motorcyclists were injured in motorcycle accidents in the United States. 4,502 were killed. The report states that the average cost for a fatal crash was $1.2 million, the GAO estimated. Moreover, the cost for injuries, depending on severity, was between $2,500 and $1.4 million.These costs are just estimates because true costs often are only apparent years later. Aside from long term medical issues, there are employment and living issues that are difficult to measure.

Another tragic motorcycle accident occurred recently in Georgia.This blog has discussed the particular vulnerabilities of motorcycles, and how drivers need to be especially careful around motorcycles or scooters. Unfortunately, unnecessary accidents continue to occur and cost lives. Between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed in accidents and about 1,222,000 people were treated across the U.S. in emergency rooms for a motorcycle related injuries, according to government statistics – a 55 percent increase in fatalities during that period. Non-fatal injuries rose as well, from 120,000 in 2001 to 175,000 in 2008.

Georgia, like the nation as a whole, has struggled with reducing motorcycle fatalities. The number of fatalities increased 59 percent between 2004 and 2008 in Georgia alone. However, for the same period, the number of motorcycle registrations in Georgia rose by 63 percent. This is a problem that needs to be addressed, not only because of the number of crashes, but for the disproportionate likelihood of serious injury or death when driving a motorcycle as opposed to another type of vehicle. In Georgia, motorcycle crashes are only one percent of all vehicle crashes; nevertheless, they account for seven percent of all vehicle crash fatalities, most resulting from head injuries. Motorcyclists are 35 percent more likely than drivers of cars to experience a road accident.

In this case, at about 3pm on Saturday, October 6, Nicholas Seth Clark, a 23-year-old from Monroe, was stopped in the eastbound lane of Youth Monroe Road, south of Loganville near Ho Hum Hollow Road in his Hyundai Elantra, according to the Georgia State Patrol. George Latimore, 54-years-old and also from Monroe, was on his motorcycle travelling westbound on Youth Monroe Road. Mr. Clark reportedly stopped, then tried to turn left into a driveway, but did so in front of Mr. Latimore’s motorcycle. The motorcycle hit the right rear fender of the Elantra. A witness told reporters that both lanes of Youth Monroe Road were shut down while the paramedics tried to treat Mr. Latimore’s injuries. The Georgia State Patrol and Walton County Fire/Rescue and EMS also responded to the accident. Mr. Latimore was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta but died from his injuries later that same day.

Another fatal car accident has occurred on our roads, and once again, the bad driving of one person has ended the life of another. This accident also included a motorcycle, which is even more vulnerable to the negligent driving of others. Motorcycles are so much smaller and less protected than cars and other kinds of vehicles, and they have become increasingly popular, which is reflected in the increasing number of motorcycle fatalities in recent years – between 2004 and 2008 motorcycle fatalities increased 59 percent.

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In this case, there was a five vehicle accident on Monday, on Beaver Ruin Road at Interstate 85, in unincorporated Norcross during evening rush hour. At about 5pm, Brandon Roy, a 38-year- old from McDonough, Georgia, was driving his 2007 Harley Davidson motorcycle. He was stopped at a red light in the left turn lane with three other drivers, according to reports Then, a red 2006 BMW 325Ci travelling westbound in the left turn lane, driven by 42-year-old Kenneth Griffin of Dacula, “failed to stop and crashed into the stationary vehicles causing a chain reaction accident,” according to the Gwinnett County Police Department. Mr. Roy died of his injuries at the scene. The three other stationary drivers hit by Mr. Griffin, 25-year-old Paul Lowe of Lawrenceville, 52-year-old Usha Talwar of Tucker, and 61-year-old Steve LeBlanc of Roswell, were either unhurt or suffered minor injuries, showing perhaps the extra vulnerability of a motorcyclist in an accident. Mr. Griffin, the driver who caused the accident, was transported to Gwinnett Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Police say charges are pending against him for the accident and Mr. Roy’s death, and the Accident Investigation Unit is continuing to investigate. So far, it is unclear to the Accident Investigation Unit why Mr. Griffin did not stop his car. Traffic was held up for hours on I-85 as the wreckage of this tragic accident was cleared.

As attorneys working in vehicle accident law, we know there are several scenarios we come across time and again. Drunk driving is, of course, one of the most common scenarios, and the one that probably receives the most news coverage. However, running red lights is another extremely common scenario in accidents (see our posts here and here for examples), and like drunk driving, it is another instance of a totally avoidable accident if the driver had only taken the necessary care and followed the rules of the road. Those negligent drivers should be held responsible for their carelessness in hurting others.

Our Alpharetta motorcycle accident attorneys understand that with summer here, there are more motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles out on Georgia’s roads. With this comes a need for increased vigilance with these more vulnerable forms of transportation. An accident between a car or truck and a motorcycle, scooter, or bike is much more likely to be fatal to the latter party. scooter (fomu).jpg

This was bore out again this week when a 72 year old Norcross, Georgia, man was killed in an accident. On Saturday, James Scarbrough was driving his scooter. He was at the intersection of Beaver Ruin Road and Indian Trail Road, waiting for a green light to turn onto Beaver Ruin Road. When the light changed, just as he was pulling out a car ran through the red light and hit his scooter in the intersection. Mr. Scarbrough died at the scene. Norcross Police spokesman Capt. Brian Harr said charges are pending against the car’s driver, Lorena Cortez-Nova. The 46-year-old Ms. Cortez-Nova was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center in Duluth to be treated and has been released. Mr. Scarbrough was a resident of Norcross for 45 years and was active in the community, including being very involved with Sustainable Norcross, an initiative to make his city more environmentally friendly. He was also a military veteran and was on the city’s Planning and Zoning Appeals Board.

Aside from being more careful around motorcycles, scooters, and bikes, especially in the summer months, Mr. Scarbrough was the victim of another dangerous but common driving habit- running red lights. According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA), in 2008 there were 2.3 million intersection crashes which resulted in 7,770 deaths and more than 700,000 injuries. The Federal Highway Administration cites NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System saying that running red lights alone caused 762 deaths and injured approximately 165,000 people in the US in 2008. FHA also cites that one in three people personally know someone injured or killed in a red light running incident- a shockingly high and unacceptable number. The organization also states that 97 percent of those surveyed feel that other drivers running red lights are a major safety threat. And yet, so many people still engage in this incredibly risky behavior. Who of us has not seen a light turn yellow and we are in a rush and try to fly through before the light is red? This kind of behavior is so common, but it is also dangerous and there needs to be more awareness about this problem.

On Tuesday, a 24 year old from Moultrie man died in a car vs. motorcycle crash in Bartow County near Cartersville at the intersection of Georgia Highway 113 and Kin Canyon Road. The young man, Justin McCullough, was riding his motorcycle when a car pulled into his path. The motorcycle, with McCullough still on it, slide underneath the front of the car, and then McCullough was hit by an oncoming car. He died at the scene, according to news reports. wrong way.jpg

Our Georgia motorcycle accident attorneys know that motorcycles pose more risks for their rider than other types of motor vehicles. In 2008 in Georgia, 12 percent of people killed in motor vehicle accidents were on motorcycles. That year, the most recent for which reliable data is available, was a 15-year high for fatalities. Between 2004 and 2008, motorcycle fatalities increased 59 percent.

A Georgian who survived a terrible motorcycle accident has been trying to share his story and warn others about dangers for motorcyclists on the roads. Keith Allen was trying to pull out of a shopping center parking lot last year, and two lanes of cars waived him through but he didn’t see a car coming in the third lane. He was hit and thrown into the air. He had to have a nine hour surgery to repair a ripped aorta, and he also had broken ribs, a broken left femur, broken tibia, ankle, and foot, a lacerated spleen, and two brain injuries.

Motorcycles are dangerous. Many have probably read the statistics which show that the risk of suffering a serious injury or death while traveling is far greater for those on motorcycles than in cars or trucks. This is a product of various factors, most notably the minimal protection offered by these vehicles. On a motorcycle the body is much more exposed than in a car or truck. That is part of the reason why in Georgia there is a law requiring motorcyclists to wear a helmet. The mandatory helmet laws have led to statistical decreases in deaths from Georgia motorcycle accidents.

Of course, helmets can only do so much to keep travelers safe. Serious motorcycle accidents still strike across the state on a frequent basis. Unfortunately, many car drivers act negligently when sharing the road with motorcyclists. Because motorcyclists are far more likely to suffer injury in an accident than car riders, there are many local tragedies where motorcyclists are injured or killed in accidents that were entirely the fault of other drivers.

Sadly this was once again the case over the weekend, when a Polk County resident was killed in a horrible highway accident on I-20 westbound near Lee Road in Lithia Springs in Douglas County. The victim was 37 year old Jason Dale Strickland. He was driving his Harley Davidson motorcycle early Sunday morning when Francisco Ferrer from Dallas, driving a Honda Element, hit Mr. Strickland from behind, ejecting him off the motorcycle and into the center lane. Mr. Strickland was then hit by an oncoming truck. Mr. Strickland died instantly but the other two drivers suffered no injuries. There are allegations that Mr. Ferrer was drunk at the time, and he has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, DUI, and following too closely.