June 3, 2014
PALOMAR MOUNTAIN, California – A motorcycle rider was killed on Palomar Mountain over the weekend.
It was just after midnight on Sunday when a 55-year-old Oceanside resident on a 2011 Triumph was killed near a campground on Palomar Mountain.
While riding north on South Grade Road (north of SR-76), the rider attempted to pass a vehicle by merging into the oncoming lane (a common riding practice).
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Bettencourt, the rider did not realize that the vehicle he was passing, a 2004 Toyota Corolla, was making a left hand turn into the Oak Knoll Campground located at 31718 South Grade Road.
Bettencourt says that as the 45-year-driver of the Corolla began turning, the motorcyclist struck the left side of the vehicle. He was thrown to the roadway and slid beneath the car. He was later pronounced dead on-scene.
Neither the female driver of the Corolla nor her passenger were injured during the crash, and Bettencourt says it is unknown whether drugs or alcohol were involved in the accident, which remains under investigation.
The factors which lead to accidents like this are numerous. It took place after midnight so the rider was probably cold and impatient. It took place in the dark so visibility was low, probably making it less obvious there was even a turn possible. The Corolla must have been traveling relatively slowly, and the motorcycle relatively quickly. And finally, there is a good chance the Corolla didn't signal, since there was no oncoming traffic to signal for. The driver must not have even considered the possibility that they were being approached from behind by a motorcycle.
Who is at fault in a case like this? Certainly, if the Corolla driver failed to signal, then that is no small variable. On the other hand, riders should be extra careful when passing on single lane highways at night. The cold truth of it is, that no matter who was truly at fault, it is the rider who lost their life, and that is not an uncommon trend. If you're a rider, you must look out for yourself, because regardless who is to blame, you're usually the one to pay. The San Diego motorcycle lawyers here at RiderzLaw offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy, and again urge all our readers to stay safe out on the roadways.