Lewis S. Cane, 47, was severely injured in a Chico motorcycle accident after he was struck by a vehicle turning left at an intersection. According to the Chico Enterprise Record, a Buick sedan being driven north on Marigold Avenue by 72-year-old Marie Walker-Owens turned left in front of Cane’s Honda VFR motorcycle the afternoon of April 11, 2009. Cane was thrown onto the hood and windshield of the Buick in the near head-on collision and suffered an open chest wound. Walker-Owens was not hurt.
My heart goes out to Lewis Cane, who has been seriously injured quite possibly because of the elderly driver’s inattention. I hope and pray for his speedy and complete recovery.
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Reporting System, there were no motorcycle accident fatalities and four injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Chico. In Butte County as a whole, three fatalities and 45 injuries were reported in 2007 as a result of California motorcycle accidents.
The California Vehicle Code sets specific rules for drivers making a left turn or a U-turn at an intersection. California Vehicle Code section 21801 (a) states: “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.”
In this case, it appears to me that the driver, Marie Walker-Owens, did not see Cane approaching the intersection. If this newspaper report is accurate, it would seem that Walker-Owens was negligent. Lewis Cane would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney, who will examine the facts of this case and determine who should be held accountable. A skilled California personal injury attorney will also look into whether a dangerous condition on the roadway or intersection such as a visual obstruction prevented the driver from seeing Cane. If a dangerous or defective roadway contributed to this motorcycle accident, the city or governmental agency in charge of maintaining that roadway could be held liable. Please remember that in California, any claim against a public entity or governmental agency must be properly filed within six months of the accident.