Utah Looks at Change in Motorcycle Law

With the Utah legislative session winding down, lawmakers are considering a proposed law, House Bill 410, that would make Utah more like California and allow motorcycle riders to start traveling “between the lanes.” If you’ve been to California, you have likely seen motorcycles “splitting the lane,” especially when there is a traffic slowdown.

According to KSL News, the Utah legislature is considering allowing this practice – under certain conditions. Those conditions are that the motorcycle needs to be able to pass vehicles safely and go no more than 40 mph. Local physical therapist and motorcyclist Dave Moss, a proponent of the bill, spoke to lawmakers and stated that several studies from around the world show that riding between the lanes can actually be safer than staying in a slow-moving traffic lane. Crashes that happen, he says, also will be less severe. Other byproducts of the proposed law could be increased interest in riding a motorcycle, leading to lower vehicle emissions and less road wear.

Legally speaking, liability would be problematic for a motorcycle rider that gets hit while riding between lanes. Although the law could be changed to actually allow this, the question is whether a reasonable and prudent motorcycle rider would ride this way. At the end of the day, a jury might decide that reasonably prudent motorcyclists should not split lanes and throw the claim out. Same thing for passing on the right: although it’s not illegal to do this in Utah, many people feel that it’s not the reasonable or safe thing to do. As for me, I think allowing this opens the door to motorcyclists going much faster than 40 mph between cars, as I have seen in California. Motorcycle crashes that come from this kind of aggressive driving can be catastrophic.

Ron Kramer is a personal injury practicing law in West Jordan and throughout Utah.

Older Utahns More Likely to Have Motorcycle Accidents

A recent study shows that older motorcycle riders are up to 3 times as likely to be involved in a motorcycle crash than someone who is younger. According to KSL News, the study cites decreasing eyesight, rusty skills and slower reflexes for this trend. “For people over 50, the risk of injury is 247 percent higher,” says Dan Terry, a motorcycle instructor at Salt Lake Community College. Injuries that older riders suffer include broken bones, injured necks and head injuries.

Terry recommends that older motorcycle riders keep their skills sharp by taking courses, including a course that he offers (how convenient!). Go to www.utahmotorcycletraining.com for more information.

Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.

Orem DUI Motorcycle Accident Takes Man’s Life

It happened early this morning, September 14, 2012, that a man, Juan Ernesto Salazar Conce, 31 years old of Orem, lost his life when the motorcycle he was a passenger on was rear-ended by a motorist in a passenger car. According to KSL News, a driver of a Mitsubishi had chosen to drive impaired and appeared to be driving at a high rate of speed on the I-15 through Pleasant Grove when the driver rear-ended a motorcycle with two men on it. The impact caused the motorcyclist to lose control and crash, resulting in the passenger coming off the back and into traffic, where several cars stuck him.

The driver of the motorcycle, Irving Tellez Acevedo, was also injured and is in critical condition at the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. The motorist was taken into custody after he apparently failed the police sobriety test and police found prescription pills and evidence of alcohol in his car. He is expected to be charged with DUI and automobile homicide.

I send my condolences to the family and friends of Juan Ernesto for this needless loss and my best wishes to the motorcycle driver for the best recovery possible.

Legally speaking, it sounds as if the impaired motorist is completely responsible for this motorcycle accident occurring. This being the case, the family of Juan Ernesto and the driver of the motorcycle have a claim against the driver of the Mitsubishi, with the family of Juan Ernesto having a wrongful death claim. Claims for injuries must be made within four years of the incident and wrongful death claims must be made within two years.

Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.

Logan, Utah Motorcycle Accident Victim Encourages Awareness

Brandon White is a recovering motorcycle accident victim. According to KSL News he was involved in an accident back in September of 2011 while attending school at Utah State University. The accident caused him to be pinned underneath a burning vehicle. By-standers who witnessed the accident worked together to lift the burning vehicle off the top of him and pulled him to safety. It was a scene, recorded on video, that was replayed around the world. Since his accident, Brandon has joined with Utah law enforcement agencies to create an emphasis on motorcycle safety.

Brandon had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the “Drive Aware. Ride Aware” fifth annual campaign. The campaign began to help educate riders and drivers of the importance of respect and sharing the road. “It’s a two-way street,” the cars have to watch out for bikes, but the bikes also have to ride with respect for the road and follow the rules – which it’s way to easy to break the rules on a motorcycle.” Wright said in his speech. May is now being declared in Utah to be Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It will be an effort to increase awareness of motorcycles. In 2011, 28 motorcycle crashes involved fatalities. This year there is already 4 fatal Utah motorcycle accidents.

As a Utah motorcycle and bicycle accident lawyer, I encourage all motorists and motorcyclists to pay attention to their surroundings and to share the road.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.

Fatal Motorcycle Accident Takes Lehi Man’s Life

Kerry M. Oldham, 57 year-old motorcycle rider from Lehi, Utah, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle versus auto accident occurring on May 3, 2012. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, this fatal motorcycle accident happened shortly after Oldham entered the I-15 from the Highland/Alpine ramp. According to witnesses, Oldham had just gotten on the freeway heading north and was intending to cross over several lanes to get to the left side of the freeway.

The first lane change went without incident, but when he merged into the middle lane, he found that traffic had stopped suddenly in front of him and was unable to avoid colliding with a GMC Yukon that had stopped in front of him. According to reports, after he struck the rear of the Yukon, another driver driving a Cadillac swerved to avoid Oldham, who was now lying on the highway, and drove off the right shoulder of the road and down an embankment. She was taken to a Salt Lake City hospital. Excessive speed or impairment were not said to play a role in this accident.

I send my condolences to the family of this man and best wishes for a fast recovery to those that were injured.

While speed may not have been a factor in this fatal accident, it appears the failure to keep a proper look out did. Lane changes should be made carefully and you need to be able to allow enough space between your vehicle and the one in front so that you can stop if those vehicles suddenly slow or stop. It appears in this case that there was not adequate space left between the motorcyclist and the vehicle stopped in front of him when he made the lane change. Riding a motorcycle is hazardous enough, but when you combine an unsafe maneuver with the lack of protection that a motorcycle offers, you have a recipe for disaster. Let’s all drive carefully out there, especially motorcyclists and bicyclists that don’t have a protective shell around them.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.

Man Passes Away in Salt Lake Motorcycle Accident

Kenneth Wayne Hemingway passed away in a motorcycle accident while riding on I-15 on Sunday, April 15, 2012. According to KSL News, 56-year-old Ken Hemingway was heading south on his motorcycle when he lost control and swerved to the right, hitting into a concrete barrier near 1000 South. He was thrown from his bike and landed about 100 feet away from point of impact. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say that speed may have been a factor in this motorcycle accident.

 

I offer my sincere condolences to the family of this man.

Those that ride motorcycles can be very vulnerable to injury and possible death when involved in an accident. Motorcyclists need to remain alert and cautious when traveling, especially at highway speeds. In any contest between another vehicle and a stationary object, the motorcycle — and its rider — will come out on the losing end.

In this case, though, I wonder if there was something that caused him to swerve into a stationary object. Was he cut off by another car? Did the rider have a health condition? Was there a mechanical failure on the motorcycle? In my mind, there are some unanswered questions that could help explain why this motorcycle accident happened in the first place.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.

A Man is Critically Injured in a Motorcycle Accident in Lehi

A man traveling in Lehi was critically injured in a motorcycle accident Saturday, February 4, 2012. Sgt. Jeff Swenson of the Lehi Police tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the 35 year old man was traveling west around 700 East Main Street. A Lexus suddenly pulled out of a parking lot directly in front of him in attempt to turn left. The man on the motorcycle tried to stop but was unable to and hit into the rear end of the Lexus. At the time of the accident, the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and suffered severe head trauma. He was rushed to the Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo by helicopter and was in a critical state. The driver and passenger of the Lexus were uninjured. At this time, investigators are looking into accident.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.

Tooele Motorcycle Accident Leaves Man Dead

Robert D. Benson, 48 years old of Tooele, Utah, has died as a result of injuries suffered when he hit a mini van that had suddenly pulled out in front of him. According to KSL News, this motorcycle accident happened early on May 13, 2011 at the intersection of State route 36 and Canyon Road. The 17-year-old driver of the minivan for some unknown reason failed to yield and pulled out directly in front of the northbound motorcyclist. No one in the minivan experienced significant injuries. The accident is still under investigation and possible charges against the driver are pending.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this motorcycle rider for what sounds like a completely preventable collision.

A driver in Utah has a duty to yield to oncoming traffic before they pull out into the street. Motorists on our roads have to be able to trust that other drivers will follow the rules of the road and practice defensive driving. If they fail to do so, our community becomes a more dangerous place to live.

Based on the news story, it sounds like the driver of the motorcycle is innocent in this fatal accident. Assuming that’s the case, the family of the deceased is now left with what sounds like a wrongful death claim against the driver of the mini-van. In claims involving at-fault drivers under the age of 18, the owner of the vehicle is also legally liable for this collision happening.

Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-601-1229 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah motorcycle accident attorney.