Recent motorcycle accident news Socal March 11th


March 6th, 2017

A 49-year-old man from Sylmar who died in a motorcycle crash on Saturday was identified by authorities on Monday.

Stefan Habelmann died from his injuries hours after a 2:10 p.m. Saturday crash in the area of Reseda Boulevard and Oxnard Street in Tarzana that also seriously injured a female motorcycle passenger, authorities said on Monday.

A Simi Valley woman driving a 2016 Dodge Charger was in the process of negotiating a U-turn from eastbound Oxnard to westbound Oxnard when the crash occurred east of the intersection, according to Officer Sal Reyes with LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division.

Habelmann was traveling eastbound on Oxnard Street when his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle collided with the driver’s side door of the Charger.

The motorcyclist’s passenger, a 49-year-old Tarzana woman, was ejected from the motorcycle.

Habelmann and the woman were taken to a local hospital where he died a few hours later.

The female motorcycle passenger was listed in serious but stable condition.

The driver of the Charger, who remained at scene, suffered minor injuries and was not taken to the hospital, officials said.

March 6th 2017

Lake Forest

A 17-year-old year old Lake Forest boy died Monday afternoon after the motorcycle he was riding hit a pole.

Tynan Blackledge was riding northbound on Jeronimo Road, north of El Toro Road, when he lost control of the bike, Orange County sheriff’s Lt. Kevin La Pyrne said.

Deputies and paramedics were called at about 12:15 p.m. to the crash and found the boy. Blackledge, identified by the coroner’s office, was pronounced dead at the scene.

La Pyrne said deputies were still investigating what led to the crash.

A family friend has set up a GoFundMe account to help Tynan’s family pay for funeral expenses. It had raised more than $7,200 in 9 hours.…/forest-745904-boy-old.html

March 4th 2017

San Marcos, CA (near Escondido)

A 19-year-old man who was seriously injured late Saturday night after losing control of his motorcycle in San Marcos later died, sheriff’s officials said.

The teen was on his motorcycle heading west on Borden Road near Fulton Road around 11:51 p.m. when he lost control and collided with several objects, said sheriff’s Deputy Jameson Perham.

When deputies and a San Marcos fire department crew arrived, the rider was found lying on the sidewalk, unresponsive. He suffered serious injuries and was taken to Palomar Medical Center.

The rider, whose name was not released, died on Monday, according to Perham.

Story Here

March 6th 2017

Lemon Grove, CA (near La Mesa – SD County)

A motorcyclist who rear-ended a car on a Lemon Grove roadway, then crashed into a nearby parked vehicle was ejected from the bike and later died in a hospital, authorities said Monday.

Witnesses told sheriff’s deputies that a 1992 Harley-Davidson motorcycle had struck the back of a 2010 Toyota Corolla while both were headed north on Massachusetts Avenue near San Miguel Avenue shortly before 7:30 p.m. Sunday. The impact of the crash sent the motorcycle into a vehicle parked on the roadside, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Jorge Dueno.

The motorcyclist was ejected in the crash and suffered serious injuries. He was taken to a hospital where he later died, Dueno said. His name was withheld pending family notification.

The Toyota’s driver and passenger were not hurt.

Dueno said the sheriff’s department had launched an investigation into the crash, and although its cause has yet to be determined, alcohol and/or drugs seemed to have been a factor. However, he did not immediately say on which motorist’s part.

No arrests have been made in connection with the crash, Dueno said.

Anyone with additional information was asked to call the sheriff’s department at (858) 565-5200.

Story Here

We are saddened by these tragic stories of fatal motorcycle accidents. We send our prayers and condolences to the families and friends of those that lost their loved ones. We encourage all riders to ride safe and do their best to avoid these tragic situations.

As a true motorcycle lawyer we fight for riders! If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident contact The Reinecke Law Firm today for a free case evaluation at 1 (800) 275-8326. You may be entitled to compensation.

Motorcycling in Southern California


If you have never ridden in Southern California chances are you need to make a few adjustments about your riding habits, especially if you have not been riding in the big cities. Safety is our biggest priority when it comes to motorcycling on the streets and we are here to help you lower your chances of being involved in a motorcycle accident.

Continue reading “Motorcycling in Southern California”

Marine killed in Motorcycle Accident


On Tuesday November 14th a motorcyclist was out riding with his brother on separate motorcycles when he struck an SUV causing both the vehicles to catch fire. A bystander pulled the motorcyclist out from the wreckage. By the time paramedics arrived the motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

The motorcyclist was an active Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton was identified as Scott Gonzalez. He was 21 years of age.


The driver of the SUV escaped with minor injuries and will make a full recovery.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department hasn’t publicly stated what they believe to have happened leading up to the accident. The Sheriff’s Department said the driver was not cited.

“We want to make sure we rule out everything in the investigation,” Lt. Mark Stichter said.

Alex Hughes was driving home with his two young children when he saw the scene of the crash.

Hughes, 39, said Tuesday “I saw that the car was on fire and I saw a person inside, so I turned around and ran to it.”

He remembers seeing Gonzalez’s distraught brother nearby. Hughes pulled Gonzalez’s body away from the wreckage and started to put out the burning flames with his shirt, afraid the car fire would get worse.

Hughes said he wasn’t sure why but he felt compelled to help. Then it clicked later when he learned through a news article that the victim was a Marine. Hughes is a retired Marine.

“He’s a brother,” he said.

Source: OC Register

Left-turn motorcycle accidents

left turn crash

Who is at Fault in a Left Turn Motorcycle Crash

Many motorcyclists believe after being involved in a left turn motorcycle accident that they are protected by the California Vehicle Code § 21801, which states that the driver of a vehicle will yield the right of way, until the turn can be made with a reasonable difference. The motorcyclist in a left turn collision may believe that they do not need to be represented by a lawyer, since it appears like it is clear who is at fault. But avoiding motorcycle injuries is not always possible, and neither is determining fault by reading the CVC.

There are several problems with this, the first is even if there is a traffic collision report, stating that the driver of the car was at fault. In the state of California the traffic collision report is considered hearsay. This can mean that the insurance company does not have to consider this as proof of fault.

The insurance company attorneys not having to consider the traffic accident report, will then begin placing partial blame or complete blame on the innocent victim. They have several things that they might claim, like being inattentive or riding at an unsafe speed at the time of the collision or they might claim that even though, you the motorcycle rider had the right of way, you should have yielded to the car.

The insurance lawyers can attempt to claim that the motorcyclist was not wearing bright enough clothing or anything else that could make the motorcyclist at fault instead of their insured driver involved in the car accident. So besides being worried about getting your bike fixed and getting paid for custom motorcycle parts, now you need to worry about how your going to PROVE it was not your fault.

motorcycle close up-01-01Negligence is the way we determine who is at fault and their degree of fault.  Both a rider and motorists can be partially responsible and the biker can still recover money. Some of these accidents take place due the motorcycle operator passing a larger vehicle in the same travel lane, that may have obscured him from an oncoming vehicle that decides to turn left. The other motorist typically is not prepared for this type of maneuver and will not have enough reaction time to complete the left turn safely.  This makes the car into a wall of steel that the rider crashes into, ejecting the rider from their bike.

The blame for accidents of this nature is not the sole burden of vehicle owners, but also on reckless motorcycle riders. Starting a motorcycle lawsuit is not always the answer. A key factor to note is that most insurance companies do not want to pay money for compensation after a rider smack down.  Their attorneys will do what they can to backup the despicable insurance company, to reduce the liability of their insured driver. This will mean that they can pay less to the innocent or injured victim. It becomes a windfall to the large corporation who treats the rider like a stooge.

When a motorcycle and vehicle collide at a high rate of speed, the insurance company will try to place complete or at least partial fault on the motorcyclist. They will say it is really a matter of improving rider safety, by the cyclist being more attentive, etc. This is why the rider needs the experienced motorcycle accident lawyer to fight for their rights, to prove liability after a driver has caused a collision.


Left-hand turn accidents make up approximately 42% of all reported collisions on the road today according to the statistics with all types of vehicles.

Typical Motorcycle scenarios include:

  • A rider is passing a vehicle that had blocked him from view
  • A rider driving towards an intersection
  • A rider overtaking the biker and cuts left in from on him, sideswiping the rider, etc.

Let’s face it, many motorists simply don’t see the bike until it is too late. Situational awareness on the open road, is a key factor in avoidance of vehicle accidents. Many drivers traversing down the highway are inattentive. This behavior makes the offending motorists liable for the rider’s torment and costs.

Mitigating Damages

Accidents normally come from out of the blue, and are totally unpredictable.  Only sturdy boots, helmets and other gear, coupled with training and muscle memory can diminish the overall harm arising from the initial calamity. The bottom line is that even batman driving head on into the side of car making an illegal turn, is gonna get hurt.

But there are some other things a rider can also endeavor to do, in order to prevent, lessen or abate the heinous outcome.

motorcycle crash

How to Correctly make a Left-Hand Turn

At the outset, a car operator needs to not be a jerk and pay attention. This elementary action will actually save lives and on trips to the courthouse. Below is a checklist for all road users.  This should help riders and other motorists understand the rules of the road and exercise some basic civility.

  • Always utilize your turn signal when approaching the turn. Slow the vehicle down and give yourself time to scan the road at least 70 or so feet in front of yourself.
  • Don’t jump lanes.  Assure that you are actually in the correct lane and don’t make unsafe, last minute lane changes when approaching the turn.
  • Exercise extreme care when at the intersection. Stay idle until safe to move. You must have optimum situational awareness before turning.
  • The law requires that you give the right of way to pedestrians and oncoming traffic.
  • Negotiate the turn by staying right of the center line divider, and don’t jump lanes. Stay in your same predesignated lane. This means stay in the inner lane. The outside lane is designated for motorists who are negotiating right hand turns.
  • Always look left and right and in both rear view mirrors immediately prior to making the maneuver.
  • Do not speed, especially at a four way intersection.  You may not have enough time to slow and avoid a head on hazard as you head towards the lights.

If you or a loved one are ever in a motorcycle accident contact The Reinecke Law Firm at (800)275-8326 for a free case evaluation. The Reinecke Law Firm has helped thousands of motorcyclists recover from their accidents for the past 30 years and we know exactly how to help you. Do not hesitate to call today.

San Jose Motorcycle Officer Killed On-duty

June 14, 2016

Officer Michael Katherman was riding his police motorcycle Northbound in San Jose at 4:22pm before a silver minivan attempted to make a left turn when Katherman struck the minivan.

A witness stopped to help Katherman and used his radio to call for assistance. Katherman was taken to an area hospital and was later pronounced dead.

The driver of the minivan cooperated with detectives who were investigating the crash.

Katherman, 34, was an 11-year San Jose police veteran who was married with two sons. He loved riding motorcycles and the motor unit, Chief Eddie Garcia said.

“He loved doing his job,” Garcia said at news conference. “He loved his family. It’s tragic. He put a uniform on, left to go to work, wanted to see his family when he got off, and he didn’t make it.”

Officers will be wearing a black slash over their badges in honor of Katherman, officials said.

officer Katherman

We are saddened to hear of Officer Katherman’s Passing and we send our condolences to his family, the San Jose Police Department, the San Jose Community and all others that knew Officer Katherman.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident seek medical help first, then contact The Reinecke Law Firm at (800)275-8326 for a free case consultation. The Reinecke Law Firm has helped thousands of motorcyclist recover from their accidents for the past 30 years. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, loss of income, property damages, and more. Do not hesitate to call.

Anti-lock braking system are a no brainer for Motorcycles

According to recent studies motorcycles that are equipped with Anit-lock Braking Systems or ABS brakes are less likely to be involved in a motorcycle crash. Most motorcycles in the United States are not sold with ABS brakes and are not required. They are typically sold as an upgrade but are highly recommended as most brakes will lock up the wheel causing you to skid and crash in the event of a quick stop.


How do ABS brakes work?

An anti-lock braking system works by constantly measuring wheel speed. One common way to do this is with a small grooved ring near the brake disc often called a tone wheel. The wheel speed sensor sends the tone wheel readings to the ABS unit, which can determine whether the wheel is about to stop rotating. If it is, wheel speed information is used to adjust the pressure from the brake cylinder on the brake caliper multiple times per second.

Take a look at this video for a demonstration of what ABS brakes do when trying to stop on a wet surface.

From the video it is quite amazing the difference of traction and control you have when you do have an anti-lock braking system installed on your motorcycle. It truly is a night and day scenario.

Is it worth the cost?

Absolutely, we think it is worth the cost. If you are going to be riding on the streets and for long distances or even in any type of weather we highly suggest getting an anti-lock braking system with your motorcycle. It will help you stop when motorist make lane changes in front of you or in many emergency stopping situations. Experience is a must for every motorcycle rider but it won’t help you when in the case of a sudden stop on a wet surface.

There are several questions or opinionated statements about ABS systems that are just plain myths, take a look below for some of these myths:

Myth: ABS may allow you to stop with more control, but it will take you longer to come to a stop.

This myth is generally based on the assumption that a locked-up wheel provides the most traction possible. This isn’t true. A skidding tire has less traction than a tire that is not skidding.

Here’s how ABS works. Speed sensors measure the rotational speed of each wheel. If a wheel risks locking due to intense braking or slick conditions, the ABS unit modulates hydraulic pressure in the braking system. Not only does the system maintain the “sweet spot” of maximum stopping force that occurs before lockup, but by avoiding lock-up, the inertial effect of the spinning wheel is maintained, stabilizing the motorcycle.

By keeping the wheels from locking up and skidding when you grab the brakes, ABS not only allows you to maintain some control, but it allows you to stop in a shorter distance.

Myth: ABS modulates system pressure whenever you apply the brakes.

A lot of the rider bias against ABS is that the system is always active, modulating your brakes in all stopping instances and thereby affecting the riding experience. On the contrary, ABS only kicks in to prevent wheel lockup, such as during panic-stop situations or when you encounter black ice.

At other times, such as during typical controlled stops or slowing for corners, ABS does not affect how the brakes work.

Myth: All ABS systems work the same, making my sportbike stop like a big touring motorcycle.

Like any other computer-controlled function of your motorcycle—fuel injection, ignition curves, even valve timing on some bikes—ABS can be customized for a specific application.

In fact, today some ABS-equipped motorcycles offer different settings for different riding preferences or conditions. For example, a “rain” setting may activate the ABS sooner while a “track” setting may reduce the system’s modulating effects.

Myth: ABS is just another link in the system that can fail, and when it does I will have no brakes.

Not true. If the ABS unit fails, the braking system reverts to its traditional braking function.

Myth: ABS is dangerous off pavement.

It depends. In severe off-road situations, ABS does not always work very well. However, in most non-pavement environments, ABS-equipped motorcycles allow you to perform a panic stop or stop on slick surfaces with more control than non-ABS-equipped motorcycles.

An example of this type of scenario would be a sudden stop on a gravel road when a deer darts into your path. In this scenario, you would be able to use both brakes fully and come to a stop with more control on an ABS-equipped motorcycle than a motorcycle without ABS.

However, in true off-road situations, such as deep sand or very rough terrain, ABS may cause unwanted pressure modulations in the brake system.

These types of conditions are rampant in off-road situations, such as single-track trail. This is why it’s critical that ABS is optional equipment for dual-sport motorcycles and, when ABS is installed, an override switch is available so the rider can turn the system off when the bike is going to be ridden in true off-road environments.

Also, don’t forget that ABS is not always working: Unless you are in a wheel lockup situation, the ABS will not modulate the pressure in the braking system.

Myth: ABS can overcome a lack of riding skill.

Absolutely not. Neither ABS nor any other type of motorcycle technology can replace experience and proper training. For example, a rider who has not learned how to properly use the front brake will not stop effectively and safelty using just the rear brake, whether the motorcycle is equipped with ABS or not.

Myth: ABS only works with the rear wheel.

This is a strange one, but it’s nevertheless an assumption that we’ve come across in anti-ABS discussions with riders. ABS works with both the front and rear wheels to prevent lock-up. In fact, for most riders who brake most heavily with the front brake in wheel-lockup situations, the technology is probably more effective with the front brake.

Myth/Fact: ABS requires you to re-learn how to brake.

ABS does not affect typical braking function and, therefore, won’t affect how you brake your motorcycle in these situations. However, experienced riders admit that the presence of ABS may change their technique in some scenarios.

If you accept that ABS will modulate the brakes more effectively in a panic-stop scenario, experienced riders say they would be best served by simply braking hard and focusing on keeping the motorcycle upright.

That said, these same riders caution that more research, testing and curriculum development is necessary to make any definitive statements about exactly how ABS should impact hard-braking technique.

Myth/Fact: ABS is difficult to maintain.

This depends on the motorcycle—and the motorcycle owner. Certainly, some owners can service their ABS-equipped motorcycles just fine.

Others prefer to take their bike to the dealer. Consult your manual, honestly assess your own abilities and proceed with caution.

The good news, though, is that all modern braking systems—those with ABS and without—have relatively lenient maintenance schedules. Again, consult your manual.


Myth/Fact: ABS-equipped bikes are not safer. It’s just that riders who can afford and buy motorcycles that have ABS are more experienced and safer riders.

Without a doubt, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. Raw data that show bikes with ABS are involved in fewer crashes than bikes without ABS cannot be taken at face value as proof that ABS makes motorcycles safer.

That said, anecdotal experience suggests that the technology has significant safety benefits. After all, when interviewed about their experience with ABS in panic-stop and low-traction scenarios, longtime riders with a variety of backgrounds insist that the technology works (see “Testing Grounds: Experiencing ABS,” page 49).

What can’t be overlooked, however, is that while ABS has its benefits, there is one big caveat: safety will always begin with the rider. In other words, a skilled rider on a non-ABS-equipped bike will always be safer than an unskilled rider on an ABS-equipped bike.

After all, the key to not crashing is to avoid situations that make you likely to crash in the first place. This is where riding training and experience come into play. Ultimately, consumers will determine whether ABS becomes the defacto standard, but in the meantime, riders already have a healthy spectrum of choices available to them in the marketplace.

If you are debating whether or not to purchasing a motorcycle with or without ABS we hope that we have convinced you. ABS systems can make the difference between life and death, as serious as that sounds it can be true. Statistics show that motorcycles with ABS systems have shorter stopping distances, fewer crashes and deaths, can have savings on motorcycle insurance, and more. Save yourself and your money from crashes by having ABS on your motorcycle.

Overall, if you or a loved one are involved in a motorcycle accident please seek medical attention first and then call The Reinecke Law Firm for a free consultation at (800)275-8326. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, loss of income, property damage and more. The Reinecke Law Firm has helped thousands of motorcyclists for the past 30 years recover from their accidents and know how to help you with your case. Don’t hesitate to call, we will give you free advice right over the phone.

Motorcycle Crash in Taft, CA

June 10th Crash

The California Highway Patrol says a woman who was driving a white pickup made a left turn directly into the path of a motorcycle, causing an accident that left the motorcyclist with major injuries Thursday afternoon.

The accident occurredon June 10th, just after 3 p.m. on Highway 119 at Ash Street in Taft, CA.

CHP Officer Jeremy Lace said the pickup was heading Northbound on Highway 119 making a left turn to go west of Ash Street when the crash occurred. Continue reading “Motorcycle Crash in Taft, CA”

Distracted driver kills motorcyclist and cyclist in Moorpark

A woman who was driving while distracted, using her cell phone, caused the deaths of Jesse Cushman and Maciek Malish. Cushman was riding his motorcycle and Maciek was riding his bicycle at the time of the accident.

Both Cushman and Jesse died at the scene of the accident. Rachel Hill was the driver that killed both these men. Hill hit Malish first and tried to self correct herself and ended up hitting Cushman.

CHP recommended that Hill be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter but the Ventura County District Attorney filed misdemeanor charges instead. Both of the Victims’ families are outraged by the decision.

“How can you do something illegal, have total disregard for somebody else’s life, ultimately kill two people and get a slap on the wrist. How is that just?” asked Julia Cushman, Jesse Cushman’s wife.

“You can text, kill people, and you get away with this,” Elizabeth Malish said. “It’s very wrong because we’re going to say to other people that this is OK to do it and you are actually not punished.”

Hill’s attorney said she was not on her phone at the time of the crash, but just prior to it.

“Rachel maintains and the evidence supports that she was on her phone a minute or two prior to the accident, but not actually at the time of the accident itself,” Doug Ridley, Hill’s attorney said.

Both Elizabeth Malish and Julia Cushman said they would fight for justice for their love ones.

“I’m pushing through for him. I’m fighting and pushing through this for him because I know I have to,” Julia Cushman said.

Source: ABC7 News

Do you own a Honda Goldwing?

If you are an owner of a Honda Goldwing you may need to get your airbag replaced.

Over the past year there have been millions of Takata airbags recalled for safety reasons. The main concern is the bag projecting metal pieces like a grenade when the airbag goes off. While this has only effected cars just this week it is now effecting motorcycles.

The Honda Goldwing is the primary concern as it is the only motorcycle that has an airbag. Models of the Goldwing that are affected by the recall range from 2006 to 2010 and only in certain regions. Continue reading “Do you own a Honda Goldwing?”