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Motorcyclist Survives After Being Dragged 100 Feet by Big Rig on 5 South

The McClellan Law Firm

A motorcyclist was seriously injured after he became trapped under the trailer of a big rig in a freeway accident that took place on Saturday night.

According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the 21-year-old motorcyclist struck the back of a car and then slid under the big rig, at which point his legs became trapped under the trailer. The accident was reported at about 8pm Saturday on the southbound I-5 freeway near Cassidy Street in the coastal city of Oceanside, CA.

A CHP sergeant said that the motorcyclist was riding between lanes, a practice known as lane splitting, traveling at about 60-75 miles per hour. The rest of traffic was moving around 30 to 50 miles per hour. The driver of a 2005 Toyota Corolla changed lanes into the motorcyclist's path, and he struck the back of her vehicle. The impact forced the motorcyclist to the right, underneath the trailer of a big rig. The driver of the truck stopped when he felt "his vehicle shaking" and saw a helmet sticking out near the left rear axle of the trailer.

The truck dragged the motorcyclist more than 100 feet before coming to a stop, and he was trapped underneath the left forward axle of the trailer for about 10 minutes before help arrived. Special equipment had to be used to free the motorcyclist's legs from underneath the trailer, including airbags to life the heavy trailer, and he was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.

The specific cause of the collision remain in question, though police shut down two lanes of the freeway for two hours while they gathered evidence that could shed light on exactly what occurred. Alcohol does not appear to have been involved, according to the CHP sergeant, and the driver of the Corolla has said that she checked her mirrors and did not see the motorcyclist before she started changing lanes. Only a complete investigation will reveal who may have been to blame.

Motorcycle vs. Truck Accidents

Motorcyclists are already the most vulnerable motorists on our roadways. They lack the same protection that "caged" drivers like occupants of passenger cars, trucks and SUVs have, including metal frames, seat belts and airbags to protect their bodies from injury. Even if a rider is wearing a helmet (as required by California law) and is wearing other protective gear, such as boots, gloves and a leather jacket and pants, he or she may suffer serious injury in a collision. There is only so much this gear can do to protect a rider from being crushed between or underneath a vehicle, as the motorcyclist in the accident discussed above experienced.

The chance of injury is even greater if a motorcyclist is involved in a collision with a commercial truck like a big rig or tractor-trailer. The larger size and heavier weight of these vehicles will place a motorcyclist at a distinct disadvantage, and when such a collision occurs on the freeway at a high speed, the risk of injury is increased even further. A rider may become trapped underneath and dragged by a large truck, as occurred Saturday night on the 5 freeway.

The rider was lucky to have survived such a catastrophic collision, but he likely faces a long and expensive road to recovery. Depending on the extent of damage to his legs and other parts of his body, he may be unable to walk again or may lose certain body functions. He may be unable to take part in normal, day-to-day activities.

The severity of such injuries and their impact on all areas of a rider's life make it all the more important to involve an attorney if you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident or motorcycle accident. At The McClellan Law Firm, we take on personal injury and wrongful death claims for traffic accidents in and around San Diego, CA. To learn more about our firm and how a San Diego injury lawyer can help you, please call for a confidential consultation.