Vietnam veteran. State senator. Motorcycle Hall of Fame member. These are all terms that have been used to describe David Zien, a remarkable individual who has crisscrossed the nation on his motorcycle many times over. Zien’s travels include several visits to Key West, among other Florida destinations. Recently, Zien became known for breaking a remarkable record: riding over one million miles on his 1991 Harley-Davidson Sport Glide, which now rests in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio. For his efforts, Harley-Davidson rewarded Zien with a brand-new bike.
Can’t keep a good man down
While Zien’s military service and political career are in and of themselves an inspiration, his survival of a devastating motorcycle accident provides an awe-inspiring example of courage and perseverance. While visiting Florida, Zien was the victim of a horrific high-speed accident caused by an SUV that traversed both lanes before skipping in and out of a ditch and flipping on its side. The driver in front of Zien didn’t even have time to react, but Zien slammed on his brakes, which sent him hurtling over 340 feet onto the pavement.
The cost of negligence
Zien paid a dear price for the negligence of the driver who caused the accident, losing most of a leg, seven inches above the knee. Unfortunately, Zien’s accident conforms to the pattern of most motorcycle accidents in Florida. Indeed, a study at the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that drivers of other vehicles caused the majority of motorcycle accidents over the last 10 years.
Despite the statistics, motorcycle riders involved in accidents with automobiles should not simply assume car drivers are going to be automatically found liable for their injuries. In lawsuits to recover damages, motorcyclists must still prove that the other driver was negligent, which involves demonstrating that reasonable care in operating the vehicle was not taken by the driver.
This is generally a complex legal issue that’s best handled by a competent motorcycle accident attorney.