Avid Motorcyclist Gary Estes is Killed by Newport News School Bus Making a Turn

I am saddened to read about the death of another motorcyclist in Hampton Roads this week. Gary Estes was an avid rider and an instructor who taught motorcycle safety.

Tragically, he was killed in a wreck involving the single most dangerous scenario for motorcyclists – other drivers making a left turn.

Police say a school bus was attempting to make a left turn from Harpersville Road onto Woods Road in Newport News at 3:12 p.m. on Wednesday.

In this blog, we have frequently written about how drivers making left turns fail to look out properly for motorcycles and end up in a collision. Almost invariably, the motorcyclist suffers the most serious injuries.

Newport News Police have not yet said if any charges are going to be brought or if the bus driver was to blame.

Tragically, if you are on a motorcycle and end up in a collision with a school bus, you are unlikely to survive.

Motorcyclist Gary Estes Taught Rider Safety

A report on WAVY.com quoted Michael Wade, a friend of Mr. Estes, who said he died doing what he loved. Mr. Estes was reported to be an instructor who taught motorcycle safety.

Our thoughts are with the family of Mr. Estes after this tragic wreck.

Media reports stated there were 29 students on board the Hines Middle School bus, along with the driver. None of the students were injured but some of them were distraught.

Newport News schools spokeswoman Michelle Price said grief counselors were at the school Thursday. Parents of those on the bus received a personal phone call.

The driver of the school bus remains employed with Newport News Public Schools, but may not be driving for a few days to recover, Price said.

At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers we are strong advocates of motorcyclists’ rights. Tragically, too many riders are killed by cars, trucks and buses making left turns. Their drivers often fail to look out for smaller vehicles.

We recently noted how vehicles making left-hand turns are often deadly for motorcyclists.

Recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found 36 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involve a vehicle making a left turn and these wrecks account for 42 percent of collisions between motorcyclists and cars.

As a car, truck or bus driver, it’s important to look out for all vehicles when you are making a left turn. Never assume a motorcyclist will have time to slow down.

We are also concerned about the standard of school bus driving in Hampton Roads. Last year, a school bus making a left turn at the intersection of Settlers Landing Road and West Pembroke Avenue in Hampton hit and killed a motorist. The 61-year-old school bus driver was later charged with reckless driving.

We have seen bus drivers at fault for wrecks in Virginia Beach, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Chesapeake in recent years.

If you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident or been injured due to the fault of the driver, please call our motorcycle accident injury team at (757) 455-0077. You can order our book What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Accidents in Virginia here.

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