| Added On December 29, 2009
Motorcycle riders are a unique breed on the road. They are left exposed to the dangers not faced by automobile drivers and other motorists while enjoying the freedoms that come with their chosen form of transportation. The problems that other motorists may have anticipating and seeing a motorcycle combined with the lack of substantial barrier protection between the road and a motorcycle, leave riders more likely to be seriously injured should they be involved in an accident. Therefore, motorcycle riders need to be very aware of remedies and legal if they are involved in a traffic accident. The insurance laws in your state may be very different with respect to automobiles as opposed to motorcycles. Consequently, it is very important to consult with an attorney regarding the applicable laws in your state.
The need to protect the right of a motorcycle riders recovery after an accident and the risks that motorcycle riders face, become readily apparent after a review of the following statistics: In over 66% of reported motorcycle accidents that involved another vehicle, the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident by violating the motorcycle rider’s right of way; Motorcyclists are about 37 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times more likely to be injured; Per mile traveled in 2008, motorcyclists deaths occurred 16 times more often than passenger car occupants, and about 3 times as likely to be injured, in a motor vehicle crash. Some of the unique problems faced by motorcycle riders on the road include: Visual Recognition; Motorcycles make less of a visual targets, which means they are more likely not to be seen by other vehicles, or by weather or road conditions. This is an issue especially at intersections, where about 70% of vehicle verses motorcycle collisions occur; Road hazards that are minor irritations for an automobile can be a major hazard for a motorcycle rider. These include railroad tracks, roadway objects, debris, puddles, oil slicks, ruts, uneven pavement, and potholes; A motorcycle front end may tend to become unstable and begin wobbling or shaking, especially at higher speeds. This problem may be due to a misalignment of the front and rear tires of the motorcycle. If an accident is caused by such a high speed wobble, the manufacturer of the motorcycle might be held financially responsible for any resulting injuries, under a product liability theory, and; A motorcycle requires much more skill and physical coordination to operate than a car.
Numerous motorcycle accidents are, in part or in whole, the result of the rider’s lack of basic riding skills, or failure to appreciate the inherent operating characteristics and limitations of the motorcycle. Motorcycle accident claims, like most motor vehicle accident claims, are almost always governed by the legal concept of negligence. Motorcycles lack crash worthiness and occupant protection. Unlike a car, a motorcycle is lightweight; it has no door, no roof, no airbags, and no safety belts. A motorcycle is less stable than a car because it only has two wheels. Although several factors can contribute to a motorcycle accident, especially failure to appreciate the limitations of the motorcycle and operator inexperience, a defect in a motorcycle’s design or manufacture should be considered as a potential cause of an accident, especially one where only the motorcycle rider is involved.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be familiar with product recalls or any relevant product liability issue that involve certain motorcycle models, and can help determine whether you have a claim against the motorcycle manufacturer. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, the most important step in protecting your legal rights is to meet with a skilled attorney to discuss your case. Issues in your potential claim, including determination of liability, medical treatment issues, motor vehicle regulations and, traffic law compliance, all need the expertise of an experience attorney who is extremely knowledgeable in the area of motorcycle accident liability. In light of legal deadlines for filing injury claims, meeting with an attorney to evaluate your case as soon as possible is recommended.
This is no joke. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, 5,290 people died in motorcycle crashes, the greatest rate since 1975 when NHTSA began collecting data. The 2008 figure represents a 2.2 percent increase from 5,174 the previous year. Motorcycle crash fatalities have increased every year for the past 11 years. According to the latest data available from the Federal Highway Administration, there were 7.1 million motorcycles on U.S. roads in 2007, compared with 137.8 million passenger cars. Motorcycles accounted for nearly 3 percent of all registered motor vehicles and 0.4 percent of vehicle miles traveled in 2007, according to the NHTSA. Some 114,000 motorcycles were involved in crashes in 2008, including property damage only crashes, according to latest data from the NHTSA.The fatality rate per registered vehicle for motorcyclists was 6 times the fatality rate for passenger car occupants in 2008, according to NHTSA.