Cagle Law Firm
Attorney Zane Cagle

Posted on March 18th, 2019,
by Zane Cagle

Look Twice for Motorcycles

Posted on March 18th, 2019 by Zane Cagle

Two Fatal Motorcycle Crashes Occurred over the Weekend involving Passenger Vehicles

Two fatal motorcycle crashes occurred over the weekend. Both fatal crashes involved other passenger vehicles striking the motorcyclists.

A fatal motorcycle crash occurred Saturday evening in Warren County according to authorities.  Around 7:30 p.m., a 2000 Chevy Monte Carlo was traveling northbound on Stracks Church Road. A 2012 Kawasaki Vulcan was traveling westbound on Veterans Memorial Parkway when the Monte Carlo failed to yield according to the MSHP. The front of the Monte Carlo struck the left side of the motorcycle. In the crash, both the driver and the passenger on the motorcycle were ejected.

On Friday evening in Butler County, a 2011 GMC Sierra crossed the center of the roadway and struck a Harley Davidson motorcycle head-on. The 57 year-old Brosley, MO man died at the scene.

The driver of the motorcycle was a 43 year-old Warrenton man and was fatally injured. His 39 year-old female passenger was seriously injured and transported to the hospital. At this time, it was not clear from the initial report whether the driver of the Monte Carlo was ticketed for failure to yield.

It May Feel Early in the Year, but WE Each MUST keep a lookout for Motorcyclist all year long

During the snow covered months, drivers get out of the habit of looking for motorcycles and this is a mistake. Since in Missouri, the weather can change drastically in a matter of 24 hours, we can go from winter to spring-like temperatures overnight. This last weekend was the one of the first of the spring-like weather in the area which brought out many motorcyclists. Hence, everyone has to quickly get back into the routine of looking out for motorcyclists.  Actually, if you are operating your vehicle safely, you look for motorcycles in the city all year long because many St. Louis motorcycles are on the roadways all year, except during extreme cold and snow.

In 2017, there were 115 motorcyclists that were killed in traffic crashes on Missouri roadways according to Savemolives.com  The statistics on motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities are startling. In 2017, 79% of motorcycle crashes resulted in injury or death. Ninety-eight percent of the people who died in 2017 motorcycle crashes on Missouri roads were the motorcycle riders. Meaning, when motorcyclist collide with passenger vehicles, the vast majority of the time, the motorcyclist is severely injured or killed. Often the driver of the passenger vehicle sustains minor injury or no injury. Fifty-eight percent of Missouri fatal motorcycle crashes collided with another motor vehicle in transport. Seventy-nine percent of motorcycle crashes in 2017 in Missouri resulted in injury or death.

Other Drivers Often Say They Do Not See Motorcycles

One of the primary explanations of drivers of passenger vehicles that collide with motorcycles is the idea that the driver did not see the motorcyclist. Clearly, in these incidents the motorcycle did not suddenly appear out of thin air and materialize in front of another vehicle. Greater is the probability that the other driver simply did not look carefully in many of these incidents.  It is easy to get somewhat habitual in just glancing both ways before pulling out into traffic. Cursory glances are dangerous to everyone in traffic and especially those on two wheels.  One of the most common driver errors is failure to yield.  Often, when drivers of passenger vehicles fail to yield, they also fail to see the motorcyclist. Motorcycle crashes can happen anywhere in Missouri. There is a fatal motorcycle crash map that covers crashes between 2015 and 2017. True to the nature of pleasure riding motorcycles, these crashes take place in rural areas as well as metropolitan areas.

Look Twice for Motorcycles

As drivers of any vehicle on the roadway, we have a duty to look both ways for motorcycle and bicycles.  Motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway. There are a couple of reasons drivers fail to see motorcyclist. One, motorcycles are far more maneuverable around the roadway. Thus, as a driver you must look in your blind spots and mirrors for traffic behind and around you.  And, you may actually want to  listen for motorcycles.  So frequently, I drive down Interstate 64 and I hear the motorcycle long before I see it.  Second, drivers do not perceive motorcycles as the same “threat level” as another passenger vehicle or large truck. This is conscious and subconscious. Because of a motorcycle’s smaller size, it is not as big of a “perceived threat to your safety” as a large truck or other passenger car. While you are at the intersection, you do not consciously reason that wow, that box truck is a greater threat to me than that motorcycle; but it occurs subconsciously. And, clearly, if you consciously see either of those vehicles, motorcycle or box truck, you would make every attempt to avoid a collision.

Following the rules of the road are critical 365 days a year. The fact is that motorcycles are smaller and we must pay close attention to the rules of the road and paying attention for their sake. When motorcyclists are also following the rules of the road, they have to at times, trust that you will follow the rules of the road. As operators of any kind of motor vehicle, there are often times on roadways that you must trust that other drivers will follow the rules of the road. We can talk about being defensive drivers and every motorcyclists I’ve ever talked to is a defensive drivers; but at times, you have to trust that another driver will stop, yield and stay in their lane.  Trusting in other motorists is the very idea and concept that we rely upon for us all to use roadways. Thus, when someone violates a road rule and injures you or kills a family member, you have the right to compensation.

So, What Can You Do to Avoid Collisions with Motorcyclists?

Hitting someone on a motorcycle is horrendous as it is very similar to hitting a pedestrian–due to the lack of protective coverage around the rider. This means, other passengers in vehicles have the bulk of an actual vehicle around and protecting them unlike a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian. More often than not, the colliding vehicle comes into direct contact with the victim’s body.  If you are a driver of a passenger vehicle that physically hits a motorcyclist or person, that can be life-changing.  As an attorney that represents  people injured and families of victims killed in motorcycle crashes, I am confronted with the horror for the family.  These violent crashes make me extremely cautious on the roadway and as soon as I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I start looking in my mirrors for motorcycles.  No one can say they will never be involved in a crash, but we can take precautions to reduce the number of crashes by simply Keeping a Lookout.

The remedy to greatly reduce any and all vehicle collisions is to follow the rules of the road and be very attentive.

Motorcyclists work really hard not to be in a crash because motorcyclist know that they cannot afford the luxury of a fender-bender. Most motorcyclists make safety their number one priority. While many have had the experience in St Louis of extreme riders driving excessively and weaving in and out of traffic, that does not represent the greatest number of motorcyclists. Just as a drunk driver of a passenger car does not represent the greater number of passenger vehicle drivers!

In Missouri, Winter Weather to a Spring Weekend in 24 Hours

That weather conversion happened last weekend.  We all know that in Missouri, we can have winter one week and spring the next. The last few months have been filled with snow, sleet and artic temperatures. This last weekend, like every first nice weekend of the upcoming spring in St. Louis, we hear the sounds of motorcycles around town. Start looking twice for all traffic as it will simply make you a safer driver and it may save a motorcyclists life.

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