David M. Johnson of Millcreek, (Erie) PA was killed on August 27, 2014 when he was operating a motorcycle and was involved in an accident with a tractor trailer. As sometimes happens in these accidents, people want to blame the biker and assume fault. In this instance, the police officer who was at the scene made unfortunate references that may suggest fault on the part of the biker without the investigation being completed. The idea that bikers need to realize that people may not see them is the ultimate blame the victim tactic. Nobody blames a pedestrian, without yet determining fault, by stating that they need to be aware people might not see them. Drivers need to be aware of everyone on the roads from pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, other vehicles to construction workers repairing the roads. There is nothing inherent about operating a motorcycle that makes it ok to blame the biker because someone else may not see them.
The fault can only be determined after a complete investigation. As a firm that regularly represents victims of motorcycle accidents, we have learned not to jump to conclusions and to investigate all facts before determining fault. Evidence needs to be promptly secured and scrutinized by experts to determine what happened. The police can be limited in their investigation since their goal is not to find civil fault but only to determine if criminal charges can or should be brought. The scope of the investigation can be very different and is clearly designed to achieve different results. People need to remember to keep an open mind until all evidence is analyzed and properly investigated.