Motorcycle Accident Reconstruction and Litigation

Motorcycle Accident Reconstruction and Litigation

by Kenneth S. Obenski, Paul F. Hill

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780913875971
Publisher: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Company
Publication date: 01/01/1997
Pages: 1128
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Kenneth S. Obenski, P.E. is the former president and principal engineer of John Fiske Brown Associates, Inc. in Solana Beach, California. This consulting engineering firm specializes in failure analysis and accident reconstruction. He received his engineering degree from Pennsylvania State University in 1971 and became a registered engineer in 1976. In 1982, he joined John Fiske Brown Associates, Inc. to apply his industrial experience in failure analysis to product failure cases. He then became involved in traffic accident reconstruction, which resulted in his being qualified in multiple state (as well as federal) courts in the area of traffic accident reconstruction. Mr. Obenski and his former partner, John Fiske Brown, P.E. wrote Forensic Engineering Reconstruction of Accidents, considered by many to be a fundamental text in that area. He has also been published in Automotive Engineering and Litigation, Plant Engineering magazine, Southern California Claims Journal, Journal of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers, Machine Design and Motor Trend. He is a member of numerous professional and technical societies and was president of the San Diego chapter of the National Society of Professional Engineers in 1996 and 1997. He has ridden motorcycles over 500,000 miles and reconstructed over 2,000 traffic accidents, including over 300 motorcycle accidents.


Paul F. Hill, Esq. is a retired law school librarian from the Creighton University School of Law, Omaha, Nebraska. He has coauthored books published by Lawyers & Judges covering litigation on bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, bus, recreational vehicle and electricalaccidents. He is a graduate of Kenyon College, State University of New York at Albany, and has his J.D. from Capital University. His research specialty is bicycle and motorcycle law. Hill has ridden both bicycles and motorcycles extensively, having owned Beneli, BSA, Honda, Kawasaki, and Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Hill was the author of the Nebraska Legal Research and Reference Manual (1983), and co-author of Bicycle Accident Reconstruction and Litigation (1996), published by Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co. and Mitchie's Research Guide to Nebraska Law (1995).


Eric S. Shapiro, A.S.E. has succeeded Kenneth S. Obenski, P.E. as president of John Fiske Brown Associates, Inc., Forensic Engineers, in Solana Beach, California. Mr. Shapiro received his science and mathematics education at San Diego State University prior to becoming a Master Automotive Technician. He excelled in the automotive industry because of an innate understanding of machinery. This ability, combined with his understanding of motorcycles, makes him a valuable asset to the company. Mr. Shapiro has been riding and studying motorcycles since age thirteen. He has logged more than 275,000 miles in the more than thirty years of riding a variety of motorcycles. Many of those miles were accumulated while aiding a prominent riding school as a track assistant.

In the area of accident reconstruction, Mr. Shapiro has received training from the Institute of Police Technology and Management (IPTM), Southwestern Association of Technical Accident Investigators (SATAI), and Northwestern University in Chicago. As a long-time motorcyclist, and with ten years experience in forensics at John Fiske Brown Associates, Inc., he has acquired a thorough body of knowledge about motorcycles, motorcycling, and motorcycle accidents. Paraphrasing Harry Hurt, author of Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures: "It takes a motorcyclist to understand motorcycle accidents."


Jack C. Debes, Ph.D. studied at the University of California San Diego in the department of Applied Mechanical Engineering Sciences where he earned his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in bioengineering. He was then a post-doctoral fellow at the Hillenbrand Center for Biomedical Engineering and served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, focusing his research in the areas of soft tissue biomechanics and biomaterials for orthopedic and cardiovascular applications. In his pursuit for a better surgical material to anchor ligaments to bone, he became interested in hydroxyapatite-the naturally occurring mineral in bone. This led him to Interpore-Cross in Irvine, California where, as Research Manager, he developed products for the surgical repair of bones. Applications were applied to dentistry and orthopedics, especially in the spine. In order to develop replacement materials for the body, one must first understand the mechanical properties of the natural parts and what stresses are required to damage them. Dr. Debes met Ken Obenski in 1998 and became interested in applying his knowledge of biomechanics to injury analysis and accident reconstruction. Dr. Debes has published in the areas of accident reconstruction, biomechanics and biomaterials and serves as a consultant and expert witness at John Fiske Brown Associates, Inc. in Solana Beach, California.


Bernard S. Abrams, O.D. (1929) was the founder of the Institute of Vehicular Safety. He received his B.S. in visual optics at Ohio State University. Dr. Abrams began pursuit of his lifelong interest in traffic safety in 1954 as a member of the Columbus Ohio Traffic Commission. Over the years, his interest in night vision and vehicular accidents was enhanced by his work in electro-physiological testing for the night vision of the aged. He lectured about vision on three continents, designed and built optical factories in several countries, and was chairman of the board of B.S.A. Industries. Dr. Abrams authored numerous papers and articles dealing with driver visibility, object conspicuity, and nighttime discernibility. He conducted research projects and served on committees related to the vision requirements of the older driver. Dr. Abrams served as a consultant to industries, attorneys, and governmental agencies. He was a nationally recognized expert witness in nighttime/daytime vehicular accidents.

Dr. Abrams also conducted classes at various universities, state patrols, and private institutions relating to the visibility aspects of vision in the courtroom.


Leslie Weintraub, O.D. is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Houston College of Optometry. She is currently in private practice in Tucson, Arizona as a medical optometrist with an emphasis in pathology.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Dedication iii
Acknowledgement xiii
Preface xv
Introduction xvii
Part I: Forensic Engineering Reconstruction of Motorcycle Accidents
Chapter 1: Understanding Motorcycles 3
Chapter 2: Braking 11
Chapter 3: Tires and Wheels 15
Chapter 4: Highway Factors 23
Chapter 5: Conspicuity 29
Chapter 6: Rider Factors 33
Chapter 7: Rider Protection 39
Chapter 8: Wobbles and Weaves 45
Chapter 9: Evasive Action 49
Chapter 10: Quasi-Motorcycles 53
Chapter 11: Inquiries 57
Chapter 12: Methods 63
Chapter 13: Safety, or Why the Blank Do People Ride Those Blankety-Blank Things? 73
Chapter 14: Visual Perception and Motorcyclists' Conspicuity 77
Chapter 15: Anatomy of a Well-Managed, Well-Funded Case and Things That Happen Way Too Often 85
Chapter 16: Motorcycle Steering Revisited (Because Not All Is As It Seems) 89
Chapter 17: Primary versus Secondary Safety 95
Chapter 18: Motorcycle Accident Injury Biomechanics 99
Chapter 19: Engineering Analysis Reports 111
Chapter 20: Introduction 223
Chapter 21: Helmets: Compulsory Use 227
Chapter 22: Helmets: Negligence for Not Wearing 239
Chapter 23: Intersection Collisions 245
Chapter 24: Motorcycle or Driver Overtaking 255
Chapter 25: Collision with Backing, Parked, Stalled, Disabled, or Slow Vehicle 259
Chapter 26: Motorcycle and Other Vehicle Meeting 265
Chapter 27: Negligence for Obstructions to View 269
Chapter 28: Defects in Public Roads 273
Chapter 29: Defective Conditions on Private Property 289
Chapter 30: Collision with Cable or Chain 299
Chapter 31: Collision with Animal 305
Chapter 32:Motorcyclist in Collision with Pedestrian and Driver in Collision with Motorcyclist as Pedestrian 311
Chapter 33: Negligent Entrustment or Supervision 315
Chapter 34: Motorcycle Passenger: Imputed Negligence 319
Chapter 35: Products Liability 323
Chapter 36: Motorcycling Events and Releases of Liability 333
Chapter 37: Negligence of Server of Alcohol (Dram Shop Act Cases) 337

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