The San Luis Obispo Tribune is reporting that this afternoon a car driven by a Santa Maria woman, Rebecca Peter-Chmielnic struck a man riding a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The man was reportedly taken to a local hospital with a serious leg injury. It seems that Ms. Peter-Chmielnic was on her way to the DMV office in San Luis Obispo when she turned left in front of the motorcycle rider. After the accident Ms. Peter-Chmielnic was cited for failure to yield to oncoming traffic, and for driving on a suspended licence.
Our firm has handled several bicycle and motorcycle cases where the riders suffered serious leg injuries in collisions with automobiles. The reason is obvious – there is simply no protection to a rider’s legs. Hopefully, the rider is wearing a helmet, but short of leathers, there really is no commonly used leg protection. The Society of Automotive Engineers – SAE – has conducted research on the types of leg protection that could be used on motorcycles. Unfortunately, many of the leg protection systems researched actually increased the risk of other type of injuries, including head injuries.
Obviously, the best way to avoid a serious leg injury is to avoid the accident all together. First and foremost, a driver must be aware of riders on the road. As a rider, we all know that we must assume that the driver of the car doesn’t see me and that I must be ready to do everything possible to avoid a collision. It’s much easier said than done and not always possible. The National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration devotes considerable time and energy to research involving motorcycle accidents. There are literally hundreds of resources available to assist riders in avoiding collisions.
Please ride safe. And drivers – watch for riders!