‘Big Rig Crash Kills Motorcyclist’ a Familiar Refrain in California

 As a motorcyclist, you are vulnerable riding on America’s highways because you are unprotected and often difficult for other motorists (especially truck drivers) to see. Trucks have numerous blind spots (also commonly referred to as ‘no-zones’) that make it difficult to see a passenger car or a motorcycle.


These blind spots for trucks are located in front of the truck’s cab, behind and below the window on the driver’s side, along the right side of the cab to the back end of the trailer, and the area right behind the trailer. Even if a truck driver turns around to look and check these areas, it can be impossible to see a large passenger vehicle, let alone a motorcycle.


Big Rig vs. Motorcycle According to the most recent statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the federal government estimates that the number of motorcycle deaths was over 26 times the number in cars per mile traveled in 2013. When a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a big rig, it is very likely that the motorcyclist will end up with serious (or often fatal) injuries simply because a motorcycle lacks the protection that an enclosed vehicle bears. Likewise, because trucks are heavily-fortified vehicles, it is likely that in a crash involving a motorcycle, the big rig driver will be able to walk away unharmed.

Three motorcyclists are among several victims involved in a series of California truck accidents over the last couple weeks. The truck accidents were reported in Mountain View, San Bernardino County, Ojai, Granada Hills and El Cajon.


Big Rig Kills Motorcyclist in Mountain View, California

August 6 –  24-year-old motorcyclist was killed Thursday morning in an accident involving a big rig. The fatal crash was reported just before 9:00 a.m. on the northbound side of Highway 101 just past the Ellis Street.


Law enforcement officials arrived on the scene to find 24-year-old Fremont resident Martin Hinsberg on the ground near his 2009 Suzuki motorcycle. Hinsberg, who was later identified by the Santa Clara County medical examiner’s office, was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.


According to the Fremont Patch, the unidentified truck driver did not suffer any injuries in the accident and remained at the scene to speak with law enforcement officials. The case of the crash has not been reported.


At this time, it is unclear whether the big rig driver will face any charges from the August 6 accident. An investigation is ongoing.


Running Springs, California Big Rig Accident Kills Motorcyclist

August 10 – A 63-year-old man from Irvine lost his life late Sunday  when his motorcycle was struck by a big rig. The fatal motorcycle crash was reported just before 5:00 p.m. at the intersection of the 18 Freeway (California State Route 18) and All View Drive in the San Bernardino mountains.


According to an officer with the California Highway Patrol, the driver of a 2006 Freightliner big rig failed to stop at a stop sign and entered the intersection. The truck pulled directly into the path of 63-year-old motorcyclist, Rick Kagamaster, who was heading eastbound on State Route 18.


Kagamaster, riding a 2002 Honda Goldwing motorcycle, tried to slow down and evade the truck but couldn’t do so. He ended up slamming into the right side of the truck, and was subsequently run over by the right rear wheels. According to the Orange County Register, Kagamaster was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency responders.


The driver of the Freightliner, 20-year-old Oscar Eduardo Garcia of Montclair, was booked on for investigation of vehicular manslaughter. The trucker’s bail was set at $1 million. He did not sustain any injuries in the crash.


Motorcycle Hits Semi Truck in Ojai, California Accident

August 12 – A third motorcyclist was killed on Wednesday when his 1993 Honda motorcycle collided with a big rig nine miles north of Ojai. The fatal crash happened at around 10:30 a.m. on Highway 33.


According to the California Highway Patrol, the motorcyclist was in the southbound lane of Highway 33 when he lost control of the motorcycle and entered northbound traffic. That’s when an oncoming big rig collided with the motorcyclist, who was pronounced dead at the scene. The identity of the deceased has not yet been released, pending notification of next of kin.


At this time, authorities don’t know what caused the motorcyclist to lose control. An investigation is currently ongoing, and anyone who may have seen the accident is encouraged to call the Ventura Division of the California Highway Patrol at 805-477-4100.

Big Rig Accident in Granada Hills, California Kills One

August 13 – The driver of a black sedan was killed Thursday night when he crashed into a parked truck. The fatal truck accident happened at around 8:40 p.m. on the 17000 block of Rinaldi Street, not far from Andasol Avenue in Granada Hills.


Fire officials said the sedan struck the rear of the truck’s trailer section. The front half of the car ended up folding underneath the trailer, immediately catching fire. When officials arrived, they were quickly able to put out the blaze, but there was nothing they could do to save the car’s sole occupant, 18-year-old Christopher David Kelly of Granada Hills.


According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the coroner’s office will need to work to determine whether Kelly died of the crash or the ensuing fire. An investigation into the big rig crash remains ongoing.


El Cajon Big Rig Accident Injures Five

August 14 A big rig accident in El Cajon left five people injured, including one person who had to be airlifted to an area hospital. The crash happened just before 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning on California State Route 94 near Marron Valley Road.


Authorities say the truck was heading east on 94 when it collided with the westbound passenger vehicle. It is unclear at this time which vehicle instigated the crash. The driver of one of the vehicles was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital with injuries listed as life-threatening. Four other people sustained minor injuries.


According to Fox 5, Route 94 remained closed for hours on Friday so law enforcement officials could conduct an investigation. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.


California Truck Accident Attorney on Your Side


Under the law, truck drivers are required to exercise reasonable care and avoid risky driving that could put other motorists in danger. This includes vigilantly scanning the road in front of them, beside them and behind them when they change lanes or make turns.


Many big rig accidents involving passenger vehicles or motorcycles involve truck drivers failing to adequately check their blind spots before moving their truck. While these big rig drivers (and in some cases, the trucking companies that hire them) can and should be held accountable in blind spot accidents, it is best for motorists to avoid any disastrous situation altogether by not lingering in truck blind spots.


If you or a loved one have been involved in a California truck accident, it is in your best interest to speak with a truck accident attorney, who can help you get through this difficult time. A Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman attorney can answer any questions you may have about filing a truck accident lawsuit, so feel free to give us a call anytime for a free consultation.