April 4, 2014

A man was killed last Friday when he was ejected from a motorcycle, landing in front of a big rig which was unable to avoid running him over.

The California Highway Patrol says that the incident occurred around 7:30 pm Friday night. Sgt. S. Coleman of the CHP says that the rider, who has been identified as 20-year-old Manuel Paleo, was attempting to get around the big rig truck in the moments leading up to the accident.

Coleman says Paleo pulled onto the shoulder of the highway and was passing the big rig when the 2002 Honda motorcycle clipped the front of the truck, causing the incident.

Coleman is quoted as stating, “The left side of the motorcycle struck the front of the Big Rig. This impact caused the motorcyclist to be ejected from the motorcycle. The big rig [then] ran over the motorcyclist.”

Paleo was pronounced dead on-scene by responding emergency crews, which included Los Angeles County Fire Department Paramedics.

Witnesses to the accident are asked to call the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office at (562)868-0503.

The details of this story are difficult to understand, not because they are incomprehensible but rather because it makes little sense why a rider on the 605 freeway would pass a big rig truck using the shoulder. Of course, it may be that there was traffic involved, but lane-splitting in California is legal and just about every rider knows this. So why someone would intentionally carry-out an illegal maneuver in favor of a legal one is difficult to conceive.

No matter the reason, it is never advisable to use the shoulder for passing. Other drivers on the road will find this type of behavior completely unexpected, which will reduce the likelihood of their seeing you in addition to reacting properly to you being there. On the other hand it is not unexpected for a rider to split-lanes and therefore drivers will more often be aware of your presence. And generally drivers who are aware of your presence will give you room, though we know this certainly isn’t always the case. However, the odds are better than taking your chances down the shoulder.

The Los Angeles lawyers here at RidezLaw offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by the loss of Mr. Paleo, and beg our readers to always make safe choices out on the roads.