All too often, auto accidents involving large trucks have deadly consequences for passenger vehicle occupants. When a motorcyclist is involved in a crash with a big truck, however, life-threatening injuries are almost inevitable. Recently, a 61 year-old Indiana man was killed when his 2014 Harley-Davidson was struck by a 1988 International Dump Truck. The motorcyclist, Dennis Darrenkamp, was westbound on a county road in Elkhart County when the northbound dump truck failed to yield the right of way at an intersection. Authorities say the truck driver, 41 year-old Jon Yoder, pulled in front of the motorcyclist and caused Darrenkamp to strike the passenger side of the truck. Darrenkamp was ejected from his motorcycle and sustained a fatal head injury: he was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Yoder was cited for failure to yield, and the Elkhard County Sheriff's Department is continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding the collision.
As motorcycle accident lawyers, we know that accidents of this nature are often totally preventable. Our firm strongly supports the efforts of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) to promote motorcycle safety and awareness in an attempt to prevent tragedies like the one in Indiana. The MSF is a non-profit organization internationally recognized for its motorcycle safety training and motorcycle rider curriculum materials. Their goal is to encourage a lifelong learning approach for motorcyclists. The MSF also develops riding trainers and coaches in their continued initiatives, all aimed at improving overall motorcycle safety.
Again, when it comes to motorcycle accidents, collisions with large commercial trucks are among the most dangerous. We urge all Missouri motorcyclists to check out the MSF website for education pamphlets, course locations, and safety information in general. Below, we've included a few of the organization's safety tips related to motorcycle and large truck or semi-truck accident avoidance on Missouri roadways.
Safe riding practices to Help prevent motorcycle/large truck collisions
• Take a quality, hands-on rider safety training course.
• Follow all traffic laws: they are designed to protect you.
• Know your motorcycle and continuously work on your riding skills.
• Maintain constant awareness of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for potential hazards.
• Avoid riding in the blind spots on large trucks, tractor-trailers, or tandem trailers, which are much larger than any other vehicles.
• If a large truck is tailgating you, change lanes. The difference between stopping distances is significant when it comes to motorcycles and large trucks: it can pose a huge risk to you as a rider.
• When driving alongside or near a big truck, always be prepared to make evasive maneuvers when needed.
• Never assume a truck driver (or any other driver) sees you.
• Be prepared for large trucks to make wide turns in front of you.
• Wear bright clothing and utilize reflective materials.
• Always signal your intentions (use hand signals too, when possible).
• Use your horn to get a truck driver's attention.
• Take up an entire lane.
• Create an even greater distance between your motorcycle and large trucks when traveling at higher speeds, after dark, and in inclement weather.