Motorcycle Accidents — Why the Following Rider Isn’t Always Responsible

Most of the time the following rider is responsible for avoiding a collision with the lead vehicle.  But what if the rider isn’t really “following” the lead vehicle and/or if the lead vehicle does something to contribute to the collision?

An example of one comes from a recent news story in Venago County, Pennsylvania:

State police say a Pennsylvania motorcyclist has been killed by smashing into the back of a street sweeper which he apparently didn’t see because of the dusty cloud it generated.

Troopers from the Franklin barracks say they’re still investigating Tuesday afternoon’s crash in Cranberry Township, Venango County. That’s about 70 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Police say 55-year-old William Moon Jr. of Oil City, was riding his motorcycle when he came up behind the street sweeper, which had a rotating broom that was cleaning the side of the road.

This is a good example of a situation where the “lead” vehicle contributed to the accident.  It contributed to the accident by concealing itself in a cloud of dust.

That’s kind of an obscure situation.  But here’s a more common one: brake lights that aren’t working.  This happens frequently and usually when someone’s pulling a trailer and they don’t have the trailer connected to the pulling vehicle’s electrical supply.  The brake lights don’t work and following riders don’t realize—or realize too late—that the lead vehicle is slowing down.

If you’ve been hurt in an accident that’s someone else’s fault there are almost always ways to recover.

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