Georgia on Two Wheels
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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for burned out bikeWe have posted previously on hit and run accidents that are becoming more and more prevalent across the country. We have also posted on situations in which individuals attempt to hide their vehicles from authorities, get them painted or repaired, or otherwise attempt to dispose of them to avoid being criminally charged in these accidents. A recent Gwinnett County fatal accident has brought attention to several other illegal actions alleged to have been taken after an accident that took place last month. This situation, ending in the death of one man who had been riding his motorcycle, has turned out to be something quite different than was first understood.

In late April, a Gwinnett County accident involved the collision of cars and a motorcycle. At first, this tragic situation that ended the life of the biker, appeared to be a simple accident among friends coming home after a night out. But after investigation, the authorities have determined and allege that five individuals were involved in something more, including first degree vehicular homicide. Some have also been charged with evidence tampering and a number of other charges that include reckless driving and hit and run. Piecing together the sequence of events, and what apparently occurred to cause the death that occurred, authorities have concluded that a great deal more happened that night than what was first understood.

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Thumbnail image for helmet-on-bicycle-10045610.jpgWe like to keep our readers informed on many aspects of riding. Safety and recalls associated with bikes, are among the things all riders should know about before getting on the road. Recently, it came to our attention that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is recalling many BMW models from the model year 2013. If you have a 2013 BMW please click the link here to learn about which models are being recalled. There are about eight models and about 4500 bikes that have the issue of concern which is a big one. The problem that has been detected is the potential for water to infiltrate the side stand switch. This is turn can cause the bike to stop running or to fail to start. The company has found that in rain or washing conditions, water has become a culprit and a possibly very dangerous one at that. Thankfully, there are no reports of bikers being injured or having accidents due to this issue.

The other big issue with this recall is that the manufacturer has stated that all the bikes in the group have this potential condition. Why? Because according to BMW, the entity that supplied this switch to the company did not make the side-stand switch according to specs. The situation occurred after there was a change in the tooling of the part and the supplier did not make the changes that were called for by BMW. The good news is that BMW learned of this problem when a vehicle it was testing shut down during a test ride. The supplier was then asked to test their part and it was determined that the manufacturing was flawed. To find out more about this problem or any other recall involving vehicles by NHTSA, you can visit BMW motorcycles.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Motorcycle riders in the sunset.jpgIf you thought you had seen the most beautiful of bikes every created, you might be wrong unless you attended the recent sale reported by Robert Frank in his piece Road Hog: $1 Million Motorcycle Coming Soon. Mr. Frank reports that a Danish custom motorcycle guru has now sold a very very golden bike to the tune of $850,000. But is there even greater gold ahead? Apparently, this same maker has hinted at a new endeavor that will result in a bike that is likely to be sold at One Million Dollars.

First, the bike that just sold which has been aptly named “Goldfinger,” is quite sparkly with not only gold plated parts, diamonds as well. Tough to miss this one on the afternoon ride. Naturally, a private buyer owns this gorgeous piece of bike history. But the identity of the owner and his or her place of residence is not known and will not be revealed unless spotted out on the open road somewhere. Next up, is another custom work of art that will move into the seven figures. Now, that would be some rich ride.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Motorcycle riders in the sunset.jpgWe are saddened by reports that a motorcycle rider died recently in Clayton County in the early evening hours. The reports indicate that the rider was traveling north on Georgia 85 when his bike crashed into the rear of another stopped vehicle. We don’t know the cause of this crash, whether there was a malfunction of the bike’s brakes or whether the rider simply did not see the stopped vehicle or misgauged the distance needed to brake. But any loss of life is a tragedy and perhaps this rider’s passing can serve as a reminder about braking and bikes.

Lots of riders have something to say about braking on a bike and how to gauge distance and speed. Most bikes’ braking systems make it possible to stop within seconds of braking. But of course the faster you are going, the more distance it will take to stop your bike. Effective braking requires practice and it is one of the most important skills a rider can work on over time. The more experienced riders know that it isn’t always predictable how quickly his or her bike will stop in any given conditions. Distances required to stop become greater quite quickly, the faster the bike is going. Slowing down when you think you might need to brake is a good way to help yourself and your bike to stop in time before hitting an immoveable object. Assuming that the road in front of you will be predictable at all times is a big mistake.

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helmet-on-bicycle-10045610.jpgWe are reminded of the serious intersection dangers for motorcyclists as we learn that a corrections officer has lost his life in such a crash. The Clayton County officer was in the southbound lane when he was struck and killed by another vehicle. Although reports are unclear on the precise facts, it appears that there were two other vehicles involved. One that came out in front of the motorcycle and another that struck the officer in the southbound lane in which he was traveling. It could well be that the motorcyclist was hit when trying to avoid the first vehicle that pulled in front of him in the intersection.

Unfortunately, we cannot post enough about the dangers to bikers in situations involving intersections. The problem is so serious that one national insurance company has initiated an intersection safety campaign that includes posting warnings to drivers at intersections known to be dangerous. The effort is intended to remind motorists that checking an intersection just one time for other vehicles and motorcycles is not sufficient.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for bicycles on georgia roadAs we approach the holiday season, there is a greater likelihood that fun and holiday cheer will result in tragedy on the road. In modern life we have become somewhat used to the hectic nature of the season and the losses made more poignant by this season. And when loss occurs during this time of year, families suffer a greater sense of this loss because this is a time when families gather. Sadly, a Cobb County incident involving a DUI, resulted in the death of one person and injuries to the allegedly drunk driver and a bicyclist just before the holiday season in late October. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that charges have already been filed against the driver in this incident and an arrest is likely to follow.

The nature of the charges including the most serious first degree vehicular homicide which is found at Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-393 , derive from an incident that occurred earlier this fall. The reported facts are that the driver was traveling at a high rate of speed and struck the bicyclist, then hit a tree. His passenger was killed also the man riding his bicycle on Riverside Parkway was seriously injured. Unfortunately the bicycle rider sustained injuries that involved the spinal cord and cervical spine, but were said to be survivable. The driver also sustained some level of injury.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motorcycleriderleg.jpegEarlier this month, a young biker was tragically killed after sustaining traumatic injuries. He was riding his motorcycle on an Athens street and apparently was struck by a vehicle that was exiting a drive way. The rear of the vehicle collided with the young rider who was a graduate of Peachtree Ridge High School and a student at the University of Georgia. In the early reports, the authorities indicated that it was possible the 22-year old biker’s helmet was not fastened completely since it flew off during the impact of the crash. This tragic loss of life is made all the more tragic if the helmet could have saved the young man’s life.

In Georgia, the numbers of bikers killed while riding are down slightly since 2008. But that is not the case in nearby Tennessee. Authorities in Tennessee have noted that motorcycle crash fatalities are actually rising. Just this fall, three crashes occurred in nearby Chattanooga very close in time to one another. A young woman was critically injured after being ejected from a bike she was riding on as a passenger. Her helmet was apparently not secured, similarly to the recent crash in Athens, Georgia, as it flew off and she ended up in a lane of traffic.

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candles .jpgA beautiful autumn ride turned horrific after five individuals lost their lives on a country road at a beautiful location on the Pennsylvania – Maryland border. The countryside in this area is similar to that found around the hills and mountains in Georgia and the story of what happened is still being uncovered. One thing is for sure, four bikers and an SUV passenger have lost their lives and the grief for the families and the community is overwhelming. Over many years as an Atlanta motorcycle injury lawyer, I have represented motorcyclists and their families deal with the legal and medical issues involved in motorcycle accidents. This recent crash is very tragic.

In addition to the fact that this accident is reported to be the most severe that has ever occurred in the small border township in which it occurred in the loss of life and injury, the cause really remains a mystery. On a perfect fall afternoon at around 2 in the afternoon, two bikes, each carrying a passenger were riding at the area of the Blue Ridge Summit. The bikes somehow ended up in a deadly collision with an SUV.

Updated reports are now indicating that for the SUV apparently traveled into the opposite lane of traffic and hit one of the motorcycles. Subsequently, the second bike hit the vehicle. The cause of the drifting of the SUV is not currently known. The crash was so horrific, that all four on the bikes were killed along with an SUV passenger.

Due to the severity of this crash, the emergency responders received extra support because according to reports the accident scene was worse than most had ever seen. At least one person survived and has been taken to the hospital in Maryland. Perhaps the survivor will be able to help authorities piece together what happened.

Bikers know that the beautiful rides of fall can be among the most peaceful and wonderful there are. The cool air, drifting leaves and open road are so inviting. The unexpected collision, particularly one in which bikes and other motor vehicles collide head-on is not what we think about as we get on the open road.

But when we are driving or riding at even normal rates of speed and we end up facing another vehicle coming towards us in our lane … what can we do to try to avoid tragedy? Are there any technological advances that might avoid such a collision? Researchers have already established that the use of helmets in general can save a biker’s life. The famous and renown study done in the early 1980’s for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (The Hurt Report) established key factors in motorcycle safety. The NHTSA continues to work on identifying risk exposure to riders and how to best communicate to the biking community about crash avoidance. But some situations on the road present challenges that even the most experienced and cautious riders might not be able to manage safely.

One of those is a situation in which vehicles (bikes and cars, or bikes and trucks for example) traveling in the opposite direction from one another end up in the same lane. Perhaps in the future there could be some sort of warning system using a GPS-like system to detect the other vehicle. But even this will not assist if there is no where to safely pull over to avoid collision.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for motorcycleriderleg.jpegWe have posted in the past about the fact that single vehicle accidents that involve road departure can be among the most dangerous for bikers. Just this weekend, a Marietta man took his last ride early Saturday morning. It is my job as Gwinnett County motorcycle lawyer, to represent the families of those who have been injured or have lost their lives in bike crashes and it is very sad and difficult to go through such an experience.

Reports indicate the Marietta Police are currently investigating a crash involving one motorcycle that was traveling on the Canton Road Connector. The bike was ridden by a 26 year-old man. He was on a 2004 Suzuki motorcycle in a location that is east of I-75 and specifically on the Canton Road Connector.

It is suspected from witness to the crash that the bike was speeding at the time of the accident. The rider lost control of the bike which left the road and hit a guardrail. Tragically, the biker died at the scene of the accident. Our deepest sympathies go the family and friends of this young man, whose life is gone too soon.

Although the investigation of this accident is not complete, speed may well have been a factor. The Marietta crash is another example of how treacherous it is to drive at excess speeds. We read all too often about situations in which motor vehicles and motorcycles leave the roadway and hit objects that include trees, mailboxes, telephone polls and guardrails. Very often, and all too often these crashes result in serious injury or fatality.

Guardrails are there to protect lives, but they can be unforgiving in a collision. We have shared with readers that collisions involving road departures and guardrails are very dangerous for all vehicles, but especially for motorcycles.

The National Academies of Science provided grants in late 2010 to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s (VTTI) Center for Injury Biomechanics to review and gather information on fatal road departure crashes. The study is still underway and should be completed some time next year. This study involves both passenger vehicles and also is focusing specifically on motorcycle road departure crashes.

The current study should provide very essential information on just how road departure crashes occur and identify very precisely the patter of injuries and fatalities that occur in these crashes. The primary factors contributing to these crashes include speed and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. One study underway specifically involves the injuries that result in fatal motorcycle crashes and roadside barriers.

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Motorcycle rider on fall roadway.jpgA series of horrific crashes around Atlanta and Georgia earlier this month has left motorists, including bikers and cyclists injured and worse. These accidents were not due to bad weather or visibility, but apparently were just a constellation of terrible circumstances with tragic results. We posted about a string of deadly and serious accidents on our Atlanta Injury Attorneys Blog.

In one bike crash, a 46-year-old rider died after losing control of his motorcycle. His bike left the road on Cobb Parkway near Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta. In another incident on the same night, two bikers from Lithia Springs, were both killed after hitting a car stopped on I-285 southbound between Camp Creek Parkway and Washington Road. And a third motorcyclist, 43-year-old of Douglasville, was also injured in the accident.

And on Georgia 400, a woman riding on the back of a bike, was thrown off of it when her brother, the driver clipped a wall. She was then hit by another vehicle that left the scene and police are still trying to find that driver. The driver of the bike who is the deceased woman’s brother, was not seriously injured. He has been arrested and charged with DUI, reckless driving, failure to maintain his proper lane and first-degree vehicular homicide.

First degree vehicular homicide or homicide by vehicle, is a felony found in the Annotated Code of Georgia section 40-6-393 (a). This provision states that a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs that causes the death of another person can be sentenced to up to 15 years of imprisonment. The minimum sentence can be longer for habitual DUI violators.

Late the same night, a 52-year-old man was struck and killed while riding a bicycle on Georgia Highway 6 in Paulding County. This cyclist was struck by a car driven by a young adult from Hiram.

It is difficult to imagine what all the injured are dealing with and it is even more difficult to imagine the sense of loss for families who have lost a loved one in these crashes. It goes without saying that we are saddened by any loss of life in the biking community. The sense of loss is worsened when we consider that avoiding drinking and driving is something that all of us can and should do. In at least one of the accidents here, if the allegations are true, this might have saved at least one of the lives lost in recent days.

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