Jason Stark, 32, was killed in a Los Angeles motorcycle accident after a pickup truck turned in front of him at an intersection in Mt. Baldy, the afternoon of March 14, 2010. According to a news report in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Stark was northbound on Mt. Baldy Road on a 1999 Ducati, when a 1995 Dodge Ram made a U-turn in front of Stark’s motorcycle. The driver reportedly told investigators that he checked the traffic to his left, but did not see Stark. The motorcyclist was going about 45 mph and tried to stop, but could not avoid the truck in time. Stark died at the scene. California Highway Patrol officials said that the pickup truck driver and his passengers were not injured.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Jason Stark for their devastating loss. I offer my deepest sympathies to them. Please keep this family in your prayers during their time of grief.
There were 114 fatalities and 2,934 injuries as a result of motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles County, according to CHP’s 2008 traffic accident statistics. Also, countywide, car accidents claimed 667 lives and caused 52,229 injuries during the same year.
Car Accident Law
If the details of this news report are accurate, it seems that the driver of the pickup truck failed to see the motorcyclist at the intersection. California law is very specific about the requirements for drivers making a left turn or a U-turn. 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.”
Fault and Liability
If the driver of the Dodge Ram is determined to have been negligent or reckless at the time of the collision, he could be held liable for Stark’s wrongful death. If a dangerous condition at that intersection caused or contributed to the crash, the city or governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could also be held liable. Under California Government Code section 911.2, any personal injury or wrongful death claim against a governmental entity must be filed within six months of the accident or injury. An experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney will be able to advise victims’ families about their legal rights and options, and make sure their best interests are protected.