James R. DavisPeer Review:
Posted - 06/25/2022 : 11:29 AM
Though I've worked as an expert witness (Motorcycle Safety and Dynamics) in 42 civil cases, I just finished working my fist criminal case. I learned a great deal in the process, virtually none of it healthy or satisfying.
First, let me setup a learning experience for you--
You are driving an SUV on a public road and approach a signaled intersection where your light is red. You stop and wait for the light to change to green. It doesn't. You wait through three full signal changes (all the other signal lights are working. But yours remains red throughout).
What do you do?
My advice is simple: assume the failing signal light is a blinking red light instead of a solidly on red light. In other words, after stopping at the intersection, make an extra effort to see if there are any threats to you ALL AROUND! Seeing none, carefully cross the intersection but remain vigilant.
Guess what can happen to you if you do that, however. You can be charged with MANSLAUGHTER and sent to jail for two years!!!!
Well, not automatically, of course.
See, if the speed limit for the cross traffic is 50 MPH and there is a motorcycle driving toward that intersection from your right is moving at 70 MPH, you probably either wont see it if it is far enough away, or you wont think of it as a threat because you will consider it too far away to reach you while you are in the intersection. There were absolutely no other vehicles in or near the intersection and it was daylight without any visibility obstructions. The motorcycle was nearly 500 feet away when you decide to ease across the intersection when you have seen that the cross traffic signal was also red. (By the way, all of this was caught on camera.)
Recklessness and negligent behavior is when you PURPOSELY DISREGARD A THREAT YOU ARE AWARE OF. Since you have no knowledge of a threat posed by that motorcycle, you can't be found to have purposely disregarded it. Well, unless.
That speeding motorcycle is so far away from you that it's clear that it could slow or stop or change its path of travel long before colliding with you. But unknown to you, that motorcycle rider was reading a text message on his cellphone while speeding along at 70 MPH. He doesn't happen to notice that you are crossing the intersection. Some would call that being inattentive or distracted.
As it turns out, that motorcyclist doesn't notice you until 1/2 second before he collides with your vehicle (which is moving at 22 MPH) and makes absolutely no effort to avoid the collision. He's ejected from his bike and soon thereafter dies while laying on the roadway.
Guess who gets charged with MANSLAUGHTER while 'running a red light'?
Oh, did I mention that the motorcyclist who died was an OFF DUTY motorcycle policeman? Think maybe that had something to do with you on your way to do two years in prison?
Just to be clear--I'm not suggesting the police had anything to do with this. I'm 'police family', meaning my father was a homicide detective. I'm saying that a District Attorney and a jury made a bad call.
Riding motorcycles is dangerous - not just for you.