On a sunny afternoon in March of this year, Bradenton resident Hugo Arellano was heading east, just after 4:00 PM, on his 2004 Suzuki motorcycle. Mr. Arellano was in the outside lane of Cortez Road. At the same time, 90-year old William Mitchell, also of Bradenton, was westbound on Cortez.
For unknown reasons, Mr. Mitchell made a left turn onto 106th Street West in front of Mr. Arellano. Unable to stop, Mr. Arellano struck the 2012 Buick LaCrosse driven by Mr. Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell suffered minor injuries, and his 80-year old passenger was unhurt. Mr. Arellano, who had the right-of-way and was wearing a helmet, died at the scene. Mr. Arellano was 18 years old.
Among low-profile vehicles, motorcycle operators and bicycle riders are at high risk for serious and fatal injury like Hugo Arellano. In May of each year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) distributes materials for state campaigns about motorcycle and bicycle safety. Sharing the road is not just a theme—it is a necessity throughout the year. For motorists, sharing the road with motorcycles means:
- Watch: Motorcycles are difficult to see and track on the road. Turn your head to ensure you are not moving into a lane, or across a lane, occupied by a motorcycle.
- Be aware: Motorcycle operators often downshift to slow. This does not trigger a brake light. If you are behind a motorcycle, watch for the vehicle to slow and keep an appropriate following distance.
- Intersections: All too often, motorists fail to see motorcycles in intersections or inaccurately judge their speed. Motorcycle operators, like Mr. Arellano, are killed or catastrophically injured when automobiles suddenly pull in front of them.
Motorcyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. When you are on the road—share the road.
If you are injured in a motorcycle or automotive accident in Sarasota County, seek legal advice from experienced injury attorneys in Bradenton.