Evaluating Testimony in a Motorcycle/Pothole Collision

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Curt M. Beloy, P.E.; Motorcycle Safety / Collision Reconstruction ::::

Case Synopsis: A motorcyclist lost control of his motorcycle, resulting in a single-vehicle crash. No other vehicles were nearby.  The motorcyclist alleged that a pothole, adjacent to a manhole cover, was the reason for his loss of control.  He brought suit over the governing authority of the roadway claiming the roadway irregularity was a contributing factor.  While being deposed, he testified to the specific interaction between his motorcycle and the pothole, as well as the resulting collision dynamics.  Specifically, he testified that the front wheel of the motorcycle became “trapped” in the pothole, as he drove over it, and was subsequently projected over the handlebars.

Expert Analysis:  An expert was retained to evaluate whether or not the testimony of the motorcyclist was consistent with the physical evidence.  An inspection of the motorcycle was performed at which time the profiles of the front and rear wheels were measured and the crash-related damage was documented.  The measurements of the wheels were compared to the measurements of the pothole. It was concluded that the front wheel of the motorcycle could not have become trapped in the pothole as testified by the motorcyclist.  Additionally, crash-related damage on the rear wheel area was not consistent with the specific motorcycle crash dynamics.

Result: The results of the analysis were relayed to the client and the case settled out of court.

 

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