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Left Turn Crash With School Bus Kills Motorcyclist in Southwest Florida

As a Pembroke Pines motorcycle accident attorney, I was disappointed to see yet another report of a left-turn crash killing a Florida motorcyclist. The Fort Myers News-Press reported Nov. 23 that Robert Cook, 57, was killed when a school bus turned left into his motorcycle early this morning. Cook was heading south on John Morris Road as the bus was going north. When the bus attempted a left turn, it hit Cook, who died at the scene. Fortunately, there were no children on the bus, and the bus driver, John Donohue, 68, was not injured. However, the intersection was shut down for about four hours as emergency crews worked to clear it. A Florida Highway Patrol said charges are pending in the case.

Unfortunately, it’s not at all unusual for left turns to cause serious motorcycle crashes. According to the Hurt Report, the definitive study of motorcycle crash causes, the most common motorcycle accident configuration is a motorcycle going straight as a car or truck makes a left turn into that motorcycle’s path. It also says intersections are the most common place for motorcycle crashes to occur. The report does not speculate on why this might be, but does say that other motorists’ failure to see motorcyclists is the predominating cause of crashes. To an experienced motorcyclist and Deerfield Beach motorcycle accident attorney like me, this merely supports what I already know from experience — that drivers don’t look for motorcycles, possibly because they don’t expect to see any.

What is unusual about this accident is the involvement of a school bus. Statistically, buses of any kind have a very low rate of accidents. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that school buses accounted for less than 1% of all fatal accidents between 1998 and 2008. However, when school buses are involved in crashes, they bring a massive amount of weight to the collision, which translates to much greater force than any ordinary car, truck or motorcycle can generate. That means buses can literally crush the smaller vehicles (and people) in their way. This is dangerous for everyone, but it poses an especially serious threat to pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists. In fact, despite the fact that school buses almost never have seat belts, nearly all — 92% — of school bus fatalities are to people outside the buses.

The involvement of a school bus also means that financial responsibility for this crash may ultimately be traced to a local government agency. Like all employers, government agencies are legally responsible for making sure their employees are fit for their responsibilities and safe to drive. When employees cause serious and foreseeable accidents, the government agencies that hired them may be liable in any lawsuit that victims and their families choose to file. Our Hallandale Beach motorcycle crash lawyers are proud to represent these victims — but thanks to more than 25 years of experience, we know lawsuits against government agencies can be difficult and complicated. That’s why we recommend that people considering such a lawsuit speak to us as soon as possible, to preserve their right to sue for a fair, complete financial settlement.

If you or a loved one was seriously hurt in a Florida motorcycle accident, regardless of whether a government agency caused the crash, you should talk to Cohn, Smith & Cohn right away. To learn more about your rights and your options at a free consultation, please contact us online or call (954) 431-8100 today.

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