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Orange County Motorcycle Accident Kills Man

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Michael Edwards, 23, of Irvine was killed in an Orange County motorcycle accident the afternoon of July 25, 2009. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, Edwards was riding by himself near Walnut Avenue and Wisteria in Irvine, California, when he collided with a Mercedes Benz. Officials found Edwards lying on the road on Walnut. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Mercedes, a 64-year-old man, was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The cause of this car versus motorcycle collision is yet to be determined. If you witnessed this fatal motorcycle crash, please contact Irvine Police Detective, Jonathan Cherney, at 949-724-7024.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family and friends of young Michael Edwards for their tragic, untimely and heartbreaking loss. My heart goes out to everyone who knew and loved Edwards. They will certainly be in my prayers.

According to California Highway Patrol’s 2007 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 55 injuries reported in Irvine as a result of motorcycle accidents. In Orange County as a whole, 24 deaths and 752 injuries were reported in 2007 that involved motorcycle crashes.

This newspaper report offers very little information about the circumstances that led to this fatal motorcycle crash. There are many unanswered questions here. Did the motorist make an unsafe turn in front of the motorcyclist? Did the collision happen at or near the intersection? If it did occur at the intersection, then who had the right-of-way–the Mercedes or the motorcycle?

Several comments to this article suggest that the intersection of Walnut and Wisteria is a dangerous one and that many drivers make illegal left turns here. According to one commenter, he has seen “so many drivers ignoring” the “No Left Turn” board right where this fatal collision occurred. Another commenter who lives close to where the car accident occurred, says the driver of the Mercedes very likely turned in front of the motorcycle. If that is true, then the driver of the Mercedes could be held liable for the accident and Edwards’ fatal injuries.

California Vehicle Code section 21801 (a) states the following requirements for drivers making a left turn or a U-turn: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.” Of course, this applies when a left turn is legal and permitted on a roadway.

Michael Edwards’ family would be well-advised to retain the services of an experienced Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer who will help determine the facts of this case, identify the negligent parties and hold them accountable. A skilled Orange County personal injury lawyer will also be able to determine whether a dangerous condition on the roadway caused or contributed to this fatal crash. If that was the case, the city or the governmental agency responsible for maintaining that roadway could be held liable. In such cases, California Government Code requires that a claim be properly filed within 180 days of the accident or injury.

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