Christopher Waldrop, 24, of Riverside was killed in an Anaheim car accident after his motorcycle was struck by a vehicle that was making a left turn. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the motorcycle collision occurred the morning of September 30, 2012 in the 100 block of East Orangethorpe Avenue. Police say Waldrop’s Yamaha motorcycle was westbound on Orangethorpe Avenue when a Buick Century traveling eastbound made a left turn in front of him. Waldrop was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 85-year-old driver of the Buick was not taken to the hospital. She has not been cited or arrested in connection with this incident. The investigation is ongoing.
I offer my deepest sympathies to the family members and friends of Christopher Waldrop for their devastating loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
There were two fatalities and 121 injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Anaheim in 2010, according to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). During the same year, 19 people died and 750 were injured in motorcycle crashes in Orange County.
Yielding the Right-of-Way
It appears from this news report that the elderly driver attempted a left turn in front of the motorcycle. I trust officials are still looking into whether the driver failed to yield the right-of-way to the oncoming motorcycle. According to California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a), any driver who is about to make a left or U-turn or who is about to turn left into public or private property, must yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction. Motorists must continue to do so until the turn can be made “with reasonable safety.”
Often, these types of left-turn collisions occur because the driver of the larger car or truck fails to see the smaller vehicle approaching the intersection. Drivers must consciously look out for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians as they make a turn or enter or exit a driveway in order to prevent such tragedies.
Fault and Liability
In this particular case, if the driver is determined to have been at fault, she can be held liable for the motorcyclist’s wrongful death, in addition to facing charges or citations. In cases where negligence is involved, families of deceased victims can seek compensation to cover damages including medical and funeral costs, lost future income, and loss of love and companionship. Victims’ families would be well advised to contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in Anaheim, who will stay on top of the official investigation and ensure that their legal rights and best interests are protected.