Mississippi Edge Trap Lawsuit

June 3, 2016

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Mississippi Edge Trap Lawsuit

The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled this week that Dominique D. Adams may sue the Mississippi Transportation Commission and the Mississippi Department of Transportation for negligence that resulted in the death of her husband, Gulfport Bandido Christopher D. Adams.

Adams died after he strayed into the wrong lane in December 2010 and failed to negotiate an edge trap when he tried to steer back.. The ruling explains: “Christopher Adams died from injuries he sustained when his motorcycle wrecked on Interstate 10 in Jackson County. After traveling north on Interstate 110 in Harrison County, Adams merged onto an eastbound lane of I-10, where he entered a construction zone. According to the complaint, Adams inadvertently drove into a closed lane and then, when he tried to navigate back into an open lane, his motorcycle hit an uneven surface between lanes and “rotated.” Adams was thrown from his motorcycle and into traffic, where two other vehicles hit him, causing injuries from which he later died.”

Claimed Immunity

The two state agencies had claimed they were immune from liability in the incident and had requested a summary judgment against the widow in 2014. Jackson County Circuit Judge Robert Krebs ruled against the state and the supreme court affirmed his decision.

Dominique Adams is also suing Mallette Brothers Construction Company, Inc., the Gautier company that actually did the road work. Mallette Brothers was legally obligated to follow certain standard practices, like re-striping the road each day, and the state was obliged to ensure the construction company followed those standard practices. According to a highway safety expert named V.O. “Dean” Tekell Jr. who testified in the case, the state highway agencies “knew or should have known of Mallette Brothers’ non-compliance with the Traffic Control Plan,” and they “failed to require Mallette Brothers to place a solid white traffic stripe in the area of the subject incident and failed to require the placement of drums in conformance with the traffic control detail.”

Edge Traps

Edge traps (sometimes called pavement edge drop offs) result from milling one lane in a multi-lane highway before that lane is resurfaced. The milled lane often feels like ice or oil to motorcyclists. When a road is milled poorly the resulting grooves may vary greatly in size and direction. The process also creates a lane that is two or more inches lower than the adjacent, un-milled lane. This drop off in the height of adjoining lanes is called an edge trap.

In September 2009, two motorcyclists named Jude Bihari and Ronald Ross were killed in separate incidents about eight hours apart as a result of an edge trap on Route 295 near Bordentown, New Jersey. There are no federal standards to ensure motorcyclists safety in road construction zones.

Christopher Adams fatal mistake may have been trying to return to the proper lane too quickly. Edge traps are most deadly when a rider attempts to immediately ease back into the correct lane at an angle of less than 45 degrees. The correct riding tactic for negotiating an edge trap is to ride away from the edge trap then swerve back in order to bump over the edge trap at an angle above 45 degrees.


23 Responses to “Mississippi Edge Trap Lawsuit”

  1. gooch Says:

    I’ve came across the edge trap, and even in a cage they are dangerous. Thank you for the tip on negotiating them safely.

    Rebel On!

  2. Nags Says:

    Nice to see some part of the system hold another part of the same system responsible for the life lost due to their blatant neglect. “BIKER LIVES MATTER”


  3. RVN69 Says:

    Lost a club brother in 1988 this way. GBNF Flash. Till Valhalla .

    Lex talionis

  4. Wretched Man Says:

    Condolences to the Adams family.
    Here in South Africa nobody cares about edge traps and their tendency to hurt/maim/kill bikers.
    we deal with them daily, often without any advance warning or road markings, and sometimes weeks pass before it is properly resurfaced.
    Slightly worn front tire makes it exceptionally difficult to go anywhere other than where the damned grooves go….


  5. Meh Says:

    Unusual video of edge trap crash:


  6. zero Says:

    We all want new pavement. Roads have to be resurfaced. Some of this needs to fall on the man riding the bike. If you ask me the guy sweating and putting down the asphalt can’t be held responsible. Sometimes it’s up to you to control your own bike.

  7. RtC Says:

    @zero, your name is really fuckin’ appropriate, isn’t it?!

    CONDOLENCES to the R&G & the Adams family for the loss of a good man before his time.
    Redwolf the Conchoman

  8. NCRider Says:

    OMG!! Zero – Don’t. Just dont. You are so far from making any common sense.


  9. NCRider Says:

    OMG!! Zero – Do yourself a favor and shut up. How in the world did you come up with this??


  10. NCRider Says:

    Sorry to others for double post. On cell phone and its acting crazy.



  11. RtC Says:

    Cathy, ain’t just yer c-phone acting crazy! Had trouble with site myself.
    Redwolf the Conchoman

  12. SoCtyBkr Says:

    Damn sad and completely unnecessary loss of life due to a State’s negligence to consider motorcyclists’ safety when performing road construction. Might be a precedent setting case that puts the states on notice that bikers’ lives actually do matter! L&R to his Club + Family.

  13. NCRider Says:

    RtC – Thanks for telling me. I don’t feel as stupid now. Lol. I hate it when that happens.



  14. Dragon Says:

    California uses those fucking edge traps all the time. A few years back on the I5 by Griffith Park the 1st through 3rd lanes were about 3 inches lower than the fourth lane. Hitting that edge trap would have been like trying to go up a curb sideways. A man and his wife were killed when they hit the edge trap and were “violently thrown from their motorcycle”. I went back and forth with correspondence to Cal Trans after I almost lost control hitting it until they finally stopped responding back. Their attitude was that there was a couple signs posted warning about it. They really didn’t give a shit that it was a danger to bikers.

  15. Dino Says:

    This is a horrible an unnecessary tragedy. He should have never been able to get onto the lane under construction. The fact that he was able to is the fault of the construction company and the State DOT that should have been overseeing it. If it was the guy “sweating and putting down the asphalt” was the guy who was tasked with putting up cones and barricades, then “he” should absolutely be held responsible.

    The State Supreme Court made the right decision. It is an example of a government entity claiming authority and then washing their hands of the accompanying responsibilities.

    That said, to suggest there is NO rider error in this does a disservice to those riding should they find themselves in a similar situation. All aspects of this tragedy should be examined and no factors should be ignored. Rebel states the possible rider error within the article and it is very likely another contributing factor to this accident. Anyone who rides knows that.

    The anonymity of the internet encourages people to say things when decorum would dictate keeping things to themselves.

  16. Meh Says:

    Not a paving expert but it might be practical to roll a shallow taper at the edge of fresh paving, width to be determined by comparison study.

    If it works without adverse effect on pavement adhesion (problems there could create new hazards) it could save lives at trivial cost.

    Current main rollers are flat as they should be, but maybe an additional edge roller could by hydraulically applied to taper the edges for maybe a 4″ width.

    It’s a technology problem and there’s a technical solution.

  17. Meh Says:

    Such a small roller acting against machine weight should have plenty of ground pressure. The usual water spray system could easily be piped in front of it by adding flex line.

  18. 10Guage Says:

    There was a huge one in California east of Davis on I-80 that almost wrecked my fucking trailer three or so years ago. I rode off it further down on my scooter and didn’t try to get back on. Stupid assholes. It’s bad enough they don’t give a shi about wrecking our vehicles now we have to worry about them killing us.

  19. Dragon Says:

    @Meh, thanks for posting the link to that video. That was hard to watch. I hope he made a full recovery. Although it was upsetting reading all the stupid comments people who know nothing about our lifestyle were posting.

  20. Simple Man Says:

    I agree, just an extra roll of the steamroller on the edge to bring it to a more flush level with the neiboring lane would make it much more safer for every driver including cars, motorcycles, and I would think even large trucks that happen to slip off the edge onto the lane being resurfaced. A simple solution to a deadly preventable accident.

  21. RVN69 Says:

    I must apologize for neglecting to give my most sincere condolences to the Red & Gold and the Adams family and friends on the death of their loved one. My comments on my brother Flash were meant to signify that this problem has been around un corrected for many years. I guess our lives are not important.


    Lex Talionis

  22. Doc Says:

    Beware of traffic problems in Mississippi that have anything to do with the state or cities and towns. Mississippi enjoys “sovereign immunity” in most cases involving state liability. My DW worked for an insurance adjusting firm for years and has a wealth of stories about the state’s (and municipalities’) sovereign immunity. For instance, a cop or a city worker can blast through a stop sign and T-bone you, admit their guilt/mistake on the scene…and the state is still not generally liable. I’m pretty sure that MS is not the only state with this little-known legal provision. Two things: You should look into the status of your own state and – though it’s a huge PITA – consider getting uninsured motorist insurance.

    Best regards

  23. Meh Says:

    Doc is wise, and uninsured motorist insurance is a must anyway because of the huge number of uninsured motorists.

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