Barlow County was the site of a very unusual accident earlier this week that ended in the death of a Paulding County man. Reports indicate that this accident was a rare confluence of wind and vehicles that in this situation went out of control for the victim. Many accidents involve the unexpected, as I have seen in my Atlanta motorcycle injury law practice. This one is likely not to happen again any time soon, but still there could be a lesson-learned in this loss of life.
The situation involved a truck and a biker riding a Harley-Davidson and pulling a small trailer behind him. These vehicles were traveling north on I-75. The biker was in the right lane and the tractor-trailer was in the left lane. As happens on many highways, as the truck passed the biker, the wind shear caused by the fast-moving truck made the trailer sway to to the right. In this instance, it was too strong for the biker to manage and he lost control of his bike. It then turned over and rolled as the rider fell along with his bike.
The trucker did the right thing and stopped to help. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated section 40-6-270, imposes a duty of a driver to stop at or return to scene of accident and render help if necessary. The authorities noted that the trucker had not done anything wrong and was not exceeding the speed limit. In fact, the trucker was making a legal pass to the left of the biker. Due to all of this no charges will be filed against the trucker.
Wind shear is normally not a problem on most of our highways. And it is not normally a problem when pulling a small trailer behind your bike. But many riders seek to put the trucks behind them and pass them to avoid any issues. Some riders are speculating that this accident could well have been caused by a poorly-loaded trailer or a shift of the trailer’s contents to the rear, causing it to become imbalanced when the truck passed.
Riders know that cross-winds and wind shear from trucks can definitely be a problem and certain areas of the road are most prone to winds, such as mountain passes. It is not a bad idea to get some bike training on what to do if you encounter a wind shear situation and how best to load a trailer for safe riding.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, please contact me personally for an evaluation of your legal rights. This consultation is free of charge and there is no obligation associated with it.