Timothy Lamb, 48, of Olivehurst, was killed in a Sutter County, California motorcycle accident the morning of April 6, 2009 after his motorbike was struck by a sport utility vehicle, the Appeal-Democrat reports. California Highway Patrol officials say 20-year-old Tiffany Marie Fernandez was driving her Toyota sport utility vehicle east on Highway 20 and tried to turn left onto Acacia Avenue when she ended up colliding head-on with Lamb’s westbound 2009 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle. Lamb was apparently on his way to work at nearby Sweco Products Inc., a heavy equipment manufacturer. He was pinned under the SUV and died from his injuries.
My heart goes out to Timothy Lamb’s wife, Jacki, their family members, friends and co-workers, who are clearly traumatized by his untimely death. I offer my deepest sympathies to them.
Lamb’s co-workers are calling this Sutter motorcycle crash “avoidable.” This fatal motorcycle accident is apparently causing renewed calls for a traffic signal at that busy intersection, which is also used by local high school students. Officials say Fernandez did not see the motorcycle and may have been inattentive. A CHP officer had noticed just before the accident that the motorcycle’s headlight was on. Officials also say the rising sun was not a factor in this fatal motorcycle collision.
According to the California Highway Patrol’s 2007 traffic accident statistics, there was one California motorcycle accident death and 30 injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Sutter County.
In this case, if the newspaper report is accurate, it appears that the driver of the SUV was at fault for this accident. Fernandez, while making the left turn, failed to see Lamb on his motorcycle although officials say his headlight was on.
California Vehicle Code section 21801 (a) states the following requirements for drivers making a left turn or a U-turn: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”
Lamb’s family would be well-advised to contact a reputed California motorcycle accident attorney who will help determine the facts of the case and hold the negligent parties accountable. A skilled California personal injury attorney will also look at other factors such as a dangerous roadway or intersection, which may have contributed to this tragic accident. If that is the case, the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Please remember that any claim against a California governmental agency must be filed within six months of the motorcycle accident.