I looked at the Collision Report. Witnesses reported the motorcycle was going 60 or 70 in a 25 MPH zone. The (detailed) diagram prepared by law enforcement showed a single line dividing two lanes in both directions.

A delivery van pulled out from a driveway. But the motorcyclist should have been able to see the van.

Big damages. Potentially thin liability.

I called the attorney representing the driver. He told me that I was wasting my time and money.

So I took a closer look. Low and behold there wasn’t a single dividing line. There was an entire median separating traffic where the van driver pulled out and attempted to make a left-hand turn.

(Left-hand turns are probably the leading cause of motorcycle wrecks with other vehicles.)

We learn in driver’s education that we’re not supposed to drive across medians. Here’s what the Driver’s Guide says:

Medians – When a highway is divided into two or more roadways, it is illegal to drive within, over, or across the space.

It’s not just common sense and something we learn in driver’s education, it’s the law.

Whenever any highway has been divided into two or more roadways by leaving an intervening space or by a physical barrier or clearly indicated dividing section or by a median island…[n]o vehicle shall be driven over, across or within any such dividing space, barrier or section, or median island, except through an opening…or at a crossover or intersection….

RCW 46.61.150 (Driving on divided highways).

It may have seemed expedient to attempt a left hand turn across the median. But taking shortcuts leads to predictable (and predictably tragic) results.

Some unfortunate events can’t be avoided no matter how much care is exercised. This was not one of those events.

Had the driver followed the law rather than trying to take a short-cut the collision would not have happened.

The driver had an easy alternative to trying to cut across the median. The driver could have simply taken three right turns.

Maybe that would have created problems with the tight schedule imposed by the employer. But it would have been the right thing to do.

We filed suit against the driver and employer. Then we brought a motion for summary judgment. The driver’s insurance company recognized that it was in trouble and paid policy limits of $1M.

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