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Motorcyclist Leaves Roadway and Tragedy Results

biker'shandonhandlebar.jpgMotorcycle enthusiasts around the Atlanta area will be very saddened to learn that a motorcyclist lost his life over the weekend. As I have represented many bike riders in our area as a motorcycle accident and injury lawyer, I can say first-hand that it is never easy to cope emotionally with this sort of tragedy.

Apparently, the accident occurred on Georgia state route 279 in Fayette County. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that Fayette sheriff’s Major Bryan Woodie stated that the bike driver was operating a 2009 Honda. He was traveling southbound on Georgia 279 near Georgia state route 314 when the motorcycle left the road. The accident occurred around 5 o’clock in the morning. Based on the investigation thus far, the driver attempted to steer the bike back onto the road. Tragically, that attempt was not successful and the Honda struck a sign post as well as a tree. We do not know whether the rider was wearing a helmet.

Road departure bike crashes are one reason why it is so important to wear a helmet when riding your bike. Under Georgia law, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315 which is known as the Georgia Motorcycle Helmet Law, approved headgear is required when riding on our roadways. Specifically, O.C.G.A. § 40-6-315 (a) provides that “[no person shall operate or ride upon a motorcycle unless he or she is wearing protective headgear which complies with standards established by the commissioner of public safety.” Similarly, either a windshield or an eye-protective device of a type approved by the commissioner of public safety is also required.

The Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual is a great resource for compliance with the helmet law. The fact is that “head and neck injuries account for a majority of serious and fatal injuries to motorcyclists” and that these injuries can be reduced by wearing an approved helmet.

Contrary to many riders’ point of view, approved helmets do not limit the ability to see. In fact, in a study of nearly 900 motorcycle crashes, in which riders wore helmets 40% of the time, there was no case in which a helmet restricted the rider’s ability to see danger. And the statistics are very clear that regardless of speed at which the bike is traveling, “helmeted riders are three times more likely to survive head injuries than those not wearing helmets at the time of the crash.”

Please refer to the Georgia Motorcycle Operator’s Manual for the types of approved helmets that provide the best protection. Riders want to secure a helmet that complies with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and state standards. Helmets with a label from the Snell Memorial Foundation are recommended for quality assurance.

Several really important things need to be considered when picking your helmet. Make sure that the helmet fits snugly all the way around your head, that it does not have any defects, such as cracks or loose padding, and that it is securely fastened when you ride.

There are many causes for this type of single-vehicle accidents of the kind that happened over the weekend. The mechanics of this and its causes are the subject of a major study at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s (VTTI) Center for Injury Biomechanics. Fatal road departure crashes are being studied now to help identify how road departure crashes occur, as well as the injuries and fatalities involved in these crashes. Since we really do not know why road departure crashes are so serious and fatal. The motorcycle study will focus on crashes in which the motorcycle road departure involves a traffic barrier since these are statistically more likely to be fatal than passenger vehicles that go off the road.

The Law Offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., represents motorcycle riders and their families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases. Our law practice is unique in the way that we treat our clients in this difficult situations. We make sure to communicate throughout the case with riders and their families, who have suffered major injuries or the loss of a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful conduct of someone else. Please contact me at any time for a free and private consultation at one of our conveniently-located Atlanta area offices.