Recently in Motorcycle Accidents Category

Motorcyclist killed, passenger injured when sedan turns in front of them

August 27, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Suzuki.jpgAs Kansas City auto accident lawyers, we know that Missouri motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable to serious, life threatening injuries when they are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles. Since riders don't have the protection of an enclosed vehicle, they frequently suffer from head injuries, broken and fractured bones, and serious skin damage (also known as road rash) when these accidents occur. Unfortunately, many Missouri motorcycle accidents occur when a larger vehicle attempts to turn left in front of an oncoming rider - often because the other driver simply doesn't see the motorcycle until it's too late.

Recently, a New York motorcyclist was killed and his passenger suffered extensive injuries when their 2004 Suzuki struck a sedan that turned left in front of them. According to The Batavian, the occupants of the Suzuki were both ejected from their motorcycle when it struck the left-turning sedan on its passenger side. Authorities say 19 year-old Derek Sheldon was pronounced dead at the scene, while his passenger, 19 year-old Ashley Stillwell, was life-flighted to a nearby hospital, where she is listed in critical condition. The sedan's driver was uninjured in the crash, and the accident remains under investigation.

Sadly, motorcycle accidents like this one are not uncommon: in fact, they're on the rise [link to]. Consider these statistics:

• According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), people are 37 times more likely to die in motorcycle accidents than in other kinds of vehicle crashes.
A 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that there has been a 55% death rate increase in motorcycle fatalities since 2000.
• In 2010, 4,502 people were killed in motorcycle accidents nationwide.

In recent years, the population of motorcyclists has increased dramatically on roadways throughout the country. The Motorcycle Industry Council data has seen a drastic jump in the number of motorcycles registered in comparison to previous years. Many analysts believe that the economy factors in to this increase, with motorcycles offering motorists a less expensive mode of transportation.

More bikes on the road, however, can mean more crashes. Motorcycle accidents commonly result in injuries and fatalities, especially when they involve other passenger vehicles like cars and truck. Because of the way motorcycles are designed, riders are more exposed to the elements and therefore more vulnerable to serious injury.

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Driver charged with DUI, murder, assault for causing fatal motorcycle accident

May 6, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

904598_escaping___.jpgMotorcycle season is now in full swing, and our Kansas City personal injury lawyers want to remind area drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists on our area roads. When motorcycle accidents occur - especially when other passenger vehicles are involved - riders are considerably more vulnerable to life-threatening injuries than other motorists, simply because there's very little to protect them from the force of impact. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that per mile traveled in 2010, the number of motorcycle fatalities was about 30 times the number of deaths in cars.

This week, a Kentucky man was arrested after police say he caused a fatal motorcycle accident and then left the scene on foot. According to WAVE 3 News, 27 year-old Genaro Herrera Hernandez has been charged with murder, assault, wanton endangerment, criminal mischief, driving without a license, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence. Police say Hernandez was behind the wheel of a northbound vehicle when it crossed the roadway center line and struck a motorcycle head-on.

The driver of the motorcycle, 62 year-old Philip Frey, died as a result of blunt force trauma caused by the crash. Frey's female passenger was also hospitalized with injuries but is expected to recover. After the collision, a witness reportedly saw a man walking away from the scene, and investigators later located Hernandez, who had injuries consistent with being involved in a car accident.

Missouri motorcycle accidents: The facts

• The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported an increased number of motorcycle fatalities in 2011. Nationwide, 4,612 riders were killed, accounting for 14% of all auto accident fatalities for the year, and about 54% of those riders died in accidents involving other motor vehicles.

• Of all 2011 auto accidents in Missouri, 36% resulted in an injury or a fatality. In contrast, 80% of 2011 Missouri motorcycle accidents resulted in injury or death. Throughout the year, 82 motorcyclists were killed and an additional 2,166 were injured in traffic accidents.

• Head-on collisions with other passenger vehicles are among the most deadly of all motorcycle accidents. About 56% of all motorcycle fatalities occur when a motorcycle collides with a car or truck head-on.

Continue reading "Driver charged with DUI, murder, assault for causing fatal motorcycle accident" »

Avoiding motorcycle accidents in Kansas City

February 18, 2013
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

337864_road_king_2.jpgSpring is just around the corner! As temperatures begin to warm, Kansas City drivers can expect to see more motorcycles back on the road. With that in mind, our Missouri personal injury lawyers want to encourage all motorists to be on the lookout for motorcycles, and to use increased caution when you're traveling near them. After all, riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, so motorcycle accidents commonly result in serious, life-threatening injuries.

Motorcycle accidents: The alarming facts

• Between 1997 and 2005, motorcycle accident fatalities increased by 115%, even though fatality rates decreased for other kinds of passenger vehicles during the same time period.

• Federal data indicates that, per mile traveled, the number of motorcycle deaths in 2010 was about 30 times the number of deaths in other kinds of vehicles.

• According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, 80% of all 2011 motorcycle crashes resulted in a death. By comparison, only 36.3% of all 2011 traffic crashes proved to be fatal.

Common contributing factors in Missouri motorcycle accidents

Poor weather or roadway conditions. Inclement weather can make motorcyclists even more difficult to see, and certain road conditions (wet roads, gravel patches, uneven pavement, etc.) can be especially perilous for motorcycle riders.

Failing to obey traffic signs or signals. Many motorcycle accidents happen when other vehicles turn left in front of an oncoming motorcycle. It's especially important to watch for motorcyclists

Failing to yield right of way to a motorcyclist. Sadly, many drivers simply don't treat motorcyclists with the same respect as other kinds of vehicles. Remember, motorcyclists have the same rights and privileges on the road - when you're driving near them, you should act accordingly.

Failing to see a motorcyclist due to an obstructed view or inattention. Bikers can easily disappear into blind spots, so be sure you always look before you turn or change lanes. In addition, a disturbing number of fatal motorcycle accidents occur when other drivers are simply not paying attention and thus fail to see a motorcycle traveling near them.

Failing to recognize a motorcycle's unique operating characteristics. Motorcycles handle differently than other kinds of vehicles, and they can be less stable when attempting to stop or turn suddenly.

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Fatal Accidents Highlight the Importance of Motorcycle Safety in Kansas City, Missouri

February 23, 2012
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Thumbnail image for Traffic_Assorted_1748 (2).JPGIt's a beautiful day in Kansas City and throughout Missouri - we've been blessed with unseasonably warm temperatures in recent weeks. Normally, motorists don't expect to see motorcyclists on the road at this time of year, but riders are getting out on the road to take advantage of the weather. Our Kansas City auto accident attorneys feel that a reminder about motorcycle safety is always a good thing. In reality, motorcycles are a primary mode of transportation for many Missourians, and it's essential that all motorists remember to share the road - no matter what kind of vehicle you drive.

KCTV5 in Kansas City is reporting two fatal motorcycle accidents that happened this week: one in far-away Honolulu, Hawaii; and one right here in Missouri, in nearby Cass County.

Wife dead, husband critical in honeymoon tragedy
Yesterday, a Japanese couple visiting Honolulu on their honeymoon was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. Authorities report that neither the husband nor the wife was wearing a helmet when the husband lost control of the motorcycle and struck a guardrail. Both riders were thrown from the bike. They were taken to a local hospital by paramedics, where the wife died as a result of her injuries, and where the the husband still remains, in critical condition.

2 riding on motorcycle killed in head-on crash
This accident also happened Wednesday - but much closer to home. 32 year-old Charles Kagarice and 26 year-old Staci Cooper were riding east on Highway 2 (just east of Harrisonville, MO) when Kagarice tried to pass a truck at the top of a hill and struck an oncoming SUV head-on. Both riders were thrown from the motorcycle, which subsequently struck the truck that Kagarice was passing when the collision occurred. The SUV went off the road, striking a fence and then a utility pole. The couple was killed, and the SUV driver is currently hospitalized in critical condition.

Avoiding a motorcycle accident in Kansas City
These accidents demonstrate the potentially lethal consequences of a single mistake while driving a motorcycle. For this reason, it's essential for all riders to take every protective measure available. In Missouri, it's illegal to ride without a helmet, but some riders still take the risk. Don't: helmets approved by the Department of Transportation can make the difference between life and death. Additionally, safety research has demonstrated that wearing protective gear (boots, gloves, etc) can prevent or minimize accident injuries by 30% or more, along with making riders more visible to surrounding traffic. Similarly, if you're wearing shorts or sandals while riding a motorcycle, and you're involved in a crash, you can expect to suffer more severe "road rash" (scrapes and burns) - and that's the best case scenario.

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$1 Million Settlement Verdict Upheld in 2006 Lafayette County, Missouri Motorcycle Accident

December 19, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

As Kansas City motorcycle accident attorneys, we know firsthand how damaging--and often deadly--motorcycle accidents can be. Motorcyclists often sustain extensive physical injuries when they are involved in accidents with other vehicles, simply because there's nothing to protect riders from the impact of collision. To drive defensively, motorcyclists must be constantly on the alert, making sure they are visible to other vehicles. Unfortunately, as many Missouri drivers know, even the best defensive drivers--no matter what kind of vehicle they're operating--can still find themselves involved in accidents when they're presented with circumstances they can't control.

1016169_speed_of_motorcycle.jpgLast week, litigation stemming from a five year-old motorcycle accident in Lafayette County finally came to an end. The plaintiff in the lawsuit, 58 year-old David Harlan, is a resident of Colorado who was traveling through Missouri on his motorcycle in 2006. He was heading west on Interstate 70 when he encountered a construction zone. Harlan moved into the left lane so that he could pass a tractor trailer--and when he entered the left lane, the pavement was even. While passing the truck, he came upon a stretch of highway where there was a short section of uneven pavement between the driving and passing lanes. When Harlan tried to return to the right lane, he hit the nearly two inch lip and lost control of his motorcycle. He narrowly missed being hit by the tractor trailer he had just passed.

Harlan suffered severe injuries in the accident and was airlifted from the scene to St. Luke's hospital in Kansas City. Eventually, he was transferred to Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, where he continued to recover from an extensive list of injuries, including a laceration to his left leg (which severed his patellar tendon), a tibial plateau fracture, fractured ribs, several broken teeth and a concussion.

Harlan brought a personal injury lawsuit against the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission (MHTC) and APAC-Missouri, the general contractor for the I-70 road construction project. The lawsuit argued that there should have been warning signs to prepare drivers for the uneven lanes. In January 2009, a jury awarded Harlan a $1 million verdict. They found that MHTC was 70% responsible for the accident; that APAC-Missouri was 25% responsible; and that Harlan was 5% responsible.

Continue reading "$1 Million Settlement Verdict Upheld in 2006 Lafayette County, Missouri Motorcycle Accident" »

The Dangers of Distracted and DUI Driving after a Motorcycle Accident Leads to Death in Independence Missouri

November 22, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

While the exact details of this motorcycle accident are under investigation, the description of the motorcyclist's driving behavior as observed by a police officer prior to the accident suggest driving while under the influence of alcohol or distracted driving. And the accident can serve as a reminder of the dangers of driving a motorcycle while drunk, sleepy, or distracted say the lawyers of the Kansas City motorcycle accident firm.

Missouri Motorcycle Accident Has Fatal Results

b9vehicles_land030.jpgThis motorcycle accident happened in Independence at 20th Street and S. Sterling Ave. last Tuesday night August 16 around 11 p.m. Police are still investigating but an officer observed the motorcycle traveling westbound on 23rd Street at a high rate of speed. The motorcycle started "skidding and switching lanes" almost causing an accident with another vehicle before speeding through an intersection without stopping. Before the officer could catch up to the motorcycle it had crashed into a vehicle in the 20th and Sterling intersection. The motorcycle driver died at the scene while the occupants of the vehicle sustained minor injuries.

Dangers of DUI and Distracted Driving for Missouri Motorcyclists
In 2009, the latest year of statistics available from the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), there were 1,442 motorcycle accidents on the State Highway System alone. Of those, 59 were fatal, 1,342 involved injuries. The State highway system represents a small proportion of the streets in metropolitan areas. Motorcycle accidents on streets covered by local jurisdictions, such as the Independence Police Department are not always recorded. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 81% of fatal motorcycle accidents involve alcohol.

Driving a motorcycle has a greater risk of injury or death than driving a car. From lack of visibility to lack of protection, motorcycle accidents lead to a higher percentage of injury, severity of injury and fatalities. With this in mind we urge all motorcyclists to take extra precautions when mounting your motorcycle to enter traffic.

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New Motorcycle Driving Test Implemented for Kansas City and Missouri

October 18, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Kansas City, Missouri has several motor cycle accidents a week. Monday September 19, 2011 yet another motorcyclist died in a motorcycle accident. This accident happened on the Country Club Plaza. The motorcycle driver collided with a Lexus after the Lexus made a left hand turn in front of him. Kansas City Mo Police (KCPD) is investigating whether the motorcyclist's speed was a factor.

Missouri's New Motorcycle Testdreamstimefree_2208842.jpg
Too many motorcycle accidents and deaths are part of why Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) has implemented new motorcycle testing procedures. The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) implemented theses testing changes on September 1, 2011. MoDOT's and MSHP's goal for implementing the changes is to improve traffic safety and reduce the lives lost to motorcycle accidents.

The motorcycle endorsement test has been enhanced to match the latest version of the motorcycle skills testing as determined and developed by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. The new testing standards involve changes to both the driver test and the written test and have been implemented statewide.

The test now includes a new obstacle swerve test to measure a motorcycle driver's ability to use proper avoidance maneuvers. Since motorcycles and motorcycle styles have changed so much over the years, this new testing procedure matches these changes. The new motorcycle driver test will also test skills for three-wheel motorcycles.

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AAA Reveals Hypocritical Drivers are Causing Car Accident in Kansas City and Elsewhere

September 23, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

As more and more drivers are focusing on the bad habits of other drivers, many of them remain just as guilty of dangerous habits as the ones they criticize. According to a recent study, conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a number of drivers are using the "do as I say, not as I do" attitude, meaning they're not at all practicing what they preach.
From 1985 to 2009, more than 1,055,000 lives were lost as a result of car accidents in Missouri and elsewhere in the United States. Traffic accidents are the number one cause of death for people under the age of 35. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 33,800 people were killed in traffic accidents in 2009. This means that nearly 100 lives were taken every single day on the nation's roadways.

Our Kansas City car accident attorneys understand that, according to the recent AAA study, nearly 75 percent of drivers believe that our roadways would benefit from more government attention -- including enacting new laws and enforcing current road laws. It's interesting that Americans understand the benefits of following road rules, but aren't willing to abide by them without a lawful eye watching over.

The recent study that AAA survey questioned 2,000 U.S. residents who were over the age of 15. The study was the third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index.

Here are some of the study's findings:

-Half of those surveyed have either been involved in a serious accident or have had a relative seriously injured in a traffic crash.

-More than half of study participants report that they feel less safe driving on our roadways today than they did just 5 years ago. About half of the concerned drivers cite distracted driving as one of their main fears on our roadways.

-Most drivers disapprove of alcohol-impaired driving.

-Nearly all of the surveyed drivers approve ignition-interlock devices for those who have been convicted of drunk driving more than once. About two-thirds of drivers believe these devices should be installed in the vehicles of first-time offenders.

-About two-thirds of drivers admit to talking on a cell phone while driving at least once in the last 30 days. About a third admitted to doing this on a regular basis.

-Most drivers support the use of hands-free devices over hand-held cell phones.

-About a fourth of all surveyed drivers admit to texting or sending emails behind the wheel.

-About half of drivers support a ban on using a cell phones behind the wheel. About 46 percent of surveyed drivers oppose the ban.

-Nearly half of the surveyed drivers admit to traveling at least 15 MPH over the speed limit on a freeway within the last month. About half of drivers consider it okay to do so.

-A majority of the drivers who were surveyed report that speeding is unacceptable in residential areas.

-Nearly 70 percent of drivers feel pressured into driving faster because of traffic flow on our roadways.

-Approximately 70 percent confess that they feel that more police enforcement would help to reduce speeders.

-About a third of drivers admit to driving through a red light within the last month after it already turned red. Yet most drivers report that this behavior is completely unacceptable.

-Most drivers report that fatigued driving is extremely dangerous and is completely unacceptable. About a fourth of all drivers report that they've driven while drowsy at least once within the last month.

The findings of this study reveal that, while most drivers understand what constitutes dangerous driving habits, they continue to engage in the acts. Until motorists are able to examine, analyze and change their own driving habits, we may see no significant reduction in the number of serious traffic accidents.

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Speeding -- A Top Cause in Fatal Kansas City Car Accidents

September 5, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

Speedy drivers are putting you at risk for a fatal car accident in Kansas City and elsewhere in Missouri. According to the most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were nearly 400 traffic accident fatalities that involved a speeding driver in 2009 in Missouri.
Our Missouri car accident attorneys understand that speeding is one of the most common factors that contribute to car accidents in the United States. These accidents are easily preventable with some regard for posted speed limit signs. These signs are not posted to slow you down or to make roadways more congested, but to keep motorists safe. Speeding accidents cost more than $40 billion in economic losses every single year. With all the risks and all the costs, drivers continue to exceed the speed limit. As a matter of fact, speeding is involved in more than 30 percent of all deadly traffic accidents.

Speeding-related traffic accidents took the lives of more than 10,500 people in 2009.

Men are more likely to put the pedal to the metal on our roadways. According to NHTSA statistics, the younger the driver the heavier the foot they have. Of the drivers between the ages of 15- and 20-years-old, males were involved in nearly 40 percent of the fatal speeding-related accidents. Approximately 37 percent of the drivers aged 21- to 24-years-old who were involved in fatal speeding-related traffic accidents were male.

Alcohol can influence a driver to speed. In 2009, more than 40 percent of drivers that were involved in these speedy accidents were legally drunk (having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 of higher).

Just less than 30 percent of speedy drivers that were under the age of 21 who were involved in a fatal accident reported being legally drunk during a fatal accident. Of the drivers between the ages of 21- and 24-years-old who were involved in a speed-related accident, more than 50 percent reported a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.

Nearly 90 percent, or about 8,900, speeding-related accident deaths occurred on roads other than interstate highways. Less than 15 percent of these types of fatal accidents occurred on interstate highways.

Missouri speeding laws, according to National Driver School:

-The statutory speed limit is 70 MPH on rural interstate and freeways.

-65 MPH on rural expressways.

-60 MPH on urban interstate freeways, expressways and highways.

-60 MPH on other roads, with the exception of State 2 lane "lettered" roads that are not located in an urban area.

-55 MPH on State 2 lane "lettered" roads.

-40 MPH on Federal interstate highways.

-If a driver speeds though a construction or work zone, they will face an additional fine of $35.

-Driving at least 5 MPH over the speed limit is a driving infraction.

-Driving slower than the posted speed limit and not in the proper lane is a driving infraction.

-Exceeding the speed limit by 20 or more miles per hour is a Class B Misdemeanor.

-Violating a speed limit which results in a traffic accident is considered a Class A Misdemeanor.

-Drivers of trucks that weight more than 24,000 are not allowed to driver faster than 60 MPH, unless posted otherwise.

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Kansas City Motorcyclist Killed after Dumping Over Lose Gravel

August 14, 2011
, by Aaron Sachs & Associates, P. C.

A motorcyclist from Kansas City, Missouri was recently hospitalized after being involved in a crash just before 6:00 p.m. The 34-year-old rider was headed northbound when he traveled over some loose gravel on the roadway. The rider lost control of his vehicle and ran right into a ditch. Medical officials report that he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. They believe that he may suffer from a broken wrist. His bike is reported to be totaled, according to Lavenwroth Times.
Summer may be fast coming to an end, but motorcyclists across the state are still hitting the open road trying to squeeze in every last day of riding before the wicked weather rolls through. Motorcycle accidents in Kansas City can be prevented with a little bit of cooperation from all motorists on our roadways. Unfortunately, motorcyclists are typically more vulnerable to injury and death in the event of a traffic accident as they're provided with less bodily protection.

Our Kansas City motorcycle accident attorneys understand the popularity of these two-wheeled vehicles. We also understand that these riders face high risks for serious injury and death on our roadways. As a matter of fact, although motorcycles made up only 3 percent of all registered vehicles in the U.S. in 2008, they accounted for nearly 15 percent of all traffic accident deaths during the same year. Nearly 5,300 motorcycle drivers were killed on U.S. roadways in 2008.

Motorcycle accident statistics for 2008, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

-Nearly 50 percent of all motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another motor vehicle.

-More than 40 percent of the near 2,400 fatal two-vehicle accidents that involved a motorcycle occurred when the other vehicle turned left into the path of a motorcycle.

-During two-vehicle traffic accidents, nearly 80 percent of motorcycles were hit in the front. Only 7 percent were hit from the rear.

-More than 30 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents involved a speeding motorcyclist. Only 23 percent of fatal car accidents involved a speeding driver.

-Motorcycle accidents are more likely to be alcohol-related than other types of motor-vehicle accidents.

-Nearly 2,000 motorcyclists' lives were saved because of the use of helmets.

-Motorcycles are more likely to be involved in an accident with a stationary object.

-Helmets are nearly 40 percent effective in preventing serious injury in the event of an accident.

Motorists are urged to be cautious of our two-wheeled travelers along our roadways. Motorcyclists are oftentimes overlooked because of their small size. Car drivers are asked to check their blind spots frequently, but especially when changing lanes or making turns. Don't share lanes with a motorcycle. They're required to follow the same road laws as everyone else and it's important to treat them the same as other motorists.

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