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Driver's attempted U-turn results in death of motorcyclist

Operating motorcycles has become a public health "concern" according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported that between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists died and an estimated 1.2 million persons were treated in emergency departments for a non-fatal motorcycle-related injuries.

Motorcyclists are virtually unprotected from drivers who violate traffic laws or fail to see the cycles because of their comparatively smaller size. In fact, two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involving other vehicles were caused by the vehicle violating the motorcycle's right of way. A pickup truck and a motorcycle accident fatality in September in Aiken County, South Carolina vividly reflect these problems.

A 59-year-old from Beech Island and his wife were riding their 1993 Harley Davidson near Langley, South Carolina. The driver of a 2005 Chevrolet pickup pulled onto the road's right shoulder and attempted to make a U-turn because he missed the entrance to the Aiken County Landfill. During the attempted U-turn, the driver of the pickup struck the motorcycle.

The motorcyclist, his wife and the truck's driver and passenger were transported to a nearby hospital. After arrival, the motorcyclist was pronounced dead. His wife suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was in critical but stable condition. It appears that the truck driver and his wife, who was his passenger, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The South Carolina Highway Patrol and Aiken County Coroner's Office are conducting an accident investigation.

Violating traffic laws or otherwise being less than vigilant behind the wheel can lead to these types of accidents. A motorcyclist injured by a reckless or negligent driver should promptly seek guidance concerning his or rights to compensation for medical treatment, lost wages and other losses. Evidence should be obtained quickly as legal deadlines may restrict the time for filing lawsuits.

Source: WJBF, "Developing on 6: motorcyclist killed in Aiken County crash," Randy Key and Karlton Clay, Sept. 13, 2013

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