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Motorcyclist Dies After Being Rear Ended on Tampa’s Bayside Bridge

A recent news item caught my eye as a Broward County motorcycle accident attorney. According to the St. Petersburg Times on Nov. 3, a motorcyclist died in Clearwater that day after being rear-ended as he crossed the Bayside Bridge. The bridge, which connects Largo to Clearwater, resembles a highway, with a 55-mph speed limit and no cross traffic during the time it takes to cross Tampa Bay. It was while crossing that bridge that Michael E. Reckenwald, 54, was seriously injured. He was admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital for serious trauma, but died later on the day of the crash. The driver of the car that reportedly hit him, Christopher Donovan of Tampa, suffered only minor injuries.

The accident took place around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 3, according to the Times. Reckenwald was traveling north on a 2003 Yamaha motorcycle. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Reckenwald was hit from behind by a 2008 Scion driven by Donovan, 29. The collision caused both vehicles to flip over. Reckenwald was thrown from his motorbike and suffered unidentified trauma serious enough to merit admission to the hospital as a trauma alert patient. Donovan was wearing a seat belt and was not seriously injured. As of the article’s publication, the Florida Highway Patrol was investigating, but no charges had been filed. It was not specified whether either vehicle was speeding or who might be at fault.

I’m hesitant to assign blame without more details about the crash, as the FHP probably was. But as a rule, fault for rear-end accidents is almost always assigned to the driver in the rear. That’s because motorists are required by law to watch what’s going on around them and leave enough following distance to stop in case of something unforeseen. For that reason, Donovan would need to offer a very good reason why he was not at fault — for example, that Reckenwald cut him off suddenly and without signaling. Unfortunately, my experience as a Miami Gardens motorcycle crash lawyer suggests it’s more likely that Donovan wasn’t paying enough attention to the road. If that’s the case, he could face some very serious consequences for Reckenwald’s death. Donovan could be criminally charged with vehicular homicide, which is a serious felony, even if he was not driving under the influence. And regardless of any criminal charges, he could also face a motorcycle accident lawsuit from Reckenwald’s family.

I understand the dangers that motorcyclists face on Florida roads every day because my wife and I both ride. I believe that understanding gives me a special edge in my work as a West Palm Beach motorcycle accident attorney. Of course, I know the law and my clients’ rights, and I enforce those rights to the fullest extent to help clients who’ve been seriously hurt by someone else’s carelessness. But as a rider, I know there’s anti-motorcycle hostility out there, and I know how some insurance companies try to use it to deny my clients full compensation. I fight these tricks aggressively, using the physical evidence and the law. My goal is always to get my clients full compensation — for their physical injuries, medical bills, lost bikes, reduced quality of life and more.

If you or someone you love was seriously injured on a motorcycle by another driver’s carelessness, Cohn, Smith & Cohn can help. To tell us about your case or set up a free, confidential case evaluation, call us at (954) 431-8100 or send us an email today.

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