Wednesday, 22 June 2011

California Police Officers May Be at Risk of Motorcycle Accidents during Funeral Escorts

A recent spate of accidents involving police officers taking part in funeral escorts is putting the spotlight on the risks to California’s motorcycle officers when they take part in these escort. A Torrance police officer was killed in May when he was taking part in a funeral procession for a fellow motorcycle officer.

The fatal motorcycle accident has forced the local community to reevaluate its funeral escort policies for police motorcycle officers. The California Highway Patrol has confirmed that it will be investigating the funeral escort, including the length of the procession, and whether there was enough manpower and time for the motorcycle officers to ride safely.

Such concerns are being expressed around the country. In Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Police Department is being forced to reconsider its funeral escort policies after a police officer was killed in a motorcycle accident last month. The police officer was riding in the procession, when one of the cars in the procession made a turn in front of his motorcycle, causing his motorcycle to crash into the car.

Police-escorted funerals are not common in California. They are typically reserved for high-profile citizens, or military personnel. While it's rare to have a police escort for the funeral of an ordinary citizen, the risk of accidents, and liability issues, have forced many police departments in the country, including those in California, to ban funeral escorts altogether. In California, Los Angeles no longer provides funeral escorts, except for funerals of firefighters, police officers or military personnel. Miami, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Charlotte have also enforced similar bans on funeral escorts.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers also believe that a change in the car culture has played a part in increasing motorcycle accident risks during escorts. In days past, motorists would pull aside when a funeral procession went by. Now however, motorists are more likely to charge through a procession, in a hurry to get ahead. A situation like this places a motorcyclist at a high risk of accidents.

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