It's likely that the 85-year-old man never saw the motorcycle before hitting it, but the 27-year-old motorcyclist was killed. That driver has now been charged with vehicular homicide, involuntary manslaughter and other offenses in regards to that October motorcycle accident, which took place near Philadelphia. Luckily for him, all of the charges are misdemeanors, according to reports.
Witnesses say he was driving westbound in the eastbound lane, and he might have been flustered and anxious about how to get headed back in the right direction.
When he made a turn, the motorcyclist slammed into his passenger-side door. When police arrived, the biker was on the ground, and the elderly gentleman was standing on the sidewalk, apparently confused about what had gone wrong.
He was unable to tell police how he had come to be in that intersection. He said he was coming from a nearby senior center.
The man may have had cognitive challenges, or he may have reacted like many people would upon realizing they were headed the wrong way -- confused and beginning to panic. Tragically for all those involved, the reasons don't matter.
In addition to vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter, the driver was charged with reckless endangerment, driving on the wrong side of a roadway, making an improper right turn and a turn signal violation. He was released on $25,000 in unsecured bail.
This is only one example of how perilous it can be for motorcyclists, who are at the mercy of drivers who may be startled, ill, distracted or drunk. It is simply not possible to stop a motorcycle on a dime, so a sudden, unexpected move by another driver can make it impossible for a biker to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, motorcycles don't offer much protection against crashes.
California is filled with motorcycles, and yet we still don't seem to see them. Please keep an eye out for them as you're driving. It could save someone's life.
Source: phillyBurbs.com, "Man, 85, charged in Warminster fatal accident," Bill Devlin, Jan. 4, 2013