Motorcycle Accident FAQ

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Motorcycles have become an increasingly popular means of transportation in recent years. Motorcycles are often appealing because they are generally more economical and efficient than other motor vehicles, requiring less gas and getting better gas mileage than larger cars, trucks, and SUVs. In addition, motorcycles have long been viewed as a cool, edgy vehicle that has also made them popular.

For many years, motorcycles were primarily popular with a younger group of riders, between the ages of 20 and 29. However, recently they have become more popular among older, more affluent adults.

Because motorcycles are much smaller than most vehicles on the road, including cars, trucks, SUVs, buses, and tractor trailers, they are also far less visible, as well as less safe. Being less visible is certainly a safety risk. There are a number of other factors that are factored into the safety of motorcycles and that may lead to motorcycle accidents. Included here is a list of frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle accidents.

What are some of the statistics regarding motorcycle accidents?

In 2007, there were 123,000 motorcycles involved in crashes. Of those crashes, there were 103,000 people injured and 5,154 people who were killed. People injured in motorcycle accidents accounted for four percent of all people involved in motor vehicle accidents. Motorcyclists, according to a report issued in 2007, are more likely to be involved in a multi-vehicle crash. Fifty-five percent of fatalities were the result of multi-vehicle crashes; the remaining 45 percent were involved in single vehicle crashes. Almost one quarter of riders involved in fatal accidents were operating their motorcycles without a license. More accidents occur on weekends. In addition, more accidents occur at night. Over the past 10 years, male motorcyclists comprised 90 percent of people killed in motorcycle accidents. As of 2007, motorcyclists were eight times more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident than other vehicles and 35 times more likely to be killed in an accident than other motorists.

What are some safety requirements a motorcyclist should practice?

Laws differ from state to state regarding safety requirements for motorcyclists. One law that varies from state to state regards the use of helmets. A number of states require riders to wear helmets, some reflected helmets, and others impose helmet guidelines up to a specific age. Helmets are an extremely important safety requirement for motorcycles; 45 percent of people killed in motorcycle accidents were not wearing helmets. Having your headlamp on whenever you drive the vehicle is another safety requirement, which allows other cars to see the motorcycle and differentiate it from a car.

Another safety requirement, which varies from state to state, states you cannot ride side by side on motorcycles, due partly to hazardous road conditions as well as helping other drivers differentiate between you and a regular car. Motorcyclists are also required to be licensed; this ensures that drivers of motorcycles know how to properly operate them and understand the laws surrounding their use. It is also critical when riding a motorcycle that you adhere to state regulations regarding blood alcohol content (BAC) level; the legal limit is .08.

What will personal injury lawyers look for in a motorcycle accident case?

Negligence of the driver is key to any personal injury case. The lawyer will need to determine fault and the negligence of the driver at fault. Negligence is considered to be what an event that occurs because of disregard for another\'s safety, or not acting responsibly. Prior to taking a case to court, a lawyer must evaluate a case based on a reasonably responsible person. This occurs in relation to any personal injury case or case of a similar nature, but it holds high importance in motorcycle accidents because of safety laws. The motorcyclist injured may not have a viable case if he or she was found negligent or if it the accident was determined to be the motorcyclist\'s fault.

If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a motorcycle accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, and other costly endeavors. Please seek a lawyer\'s advice regarding your case.

In 2007, 123,000 motorcycles were involved in crashes. Of those 123,000 crashes, 103,000 people were injured in them and another 5,154 people were killed. If you are a motorcycle rider, it is important to understand what risks are associated with motorcycles, as well as what might happen if you are involved in a motorcycle accident.

What is the most common form of motorcycle accident?

The most serious motorcycle accidents, in which the driver or a passenger is killed, occur in crashes that involve more than one vehicle. Multi-vehicle crashes account for 55 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents, while single vehicle accidents comprise the remaining 45 percent.

What type of road hazards may lead to motorcycle accidents?

Road hazards can involve other cars on the road or the upkeep of the roads. One of the main reasons for motorcycle accidents is the lack of visual recognition or visibility. Motorcycles are built in a smaller stature than cars, so they are more likely to be unseen. This can be due to these motorcycles being covered by other larger vehicles or even by adverse weather conditions like heavy rain. Rain for a normal car may affect breaks by leaving them too wet to stop properly, or cause sliding when you hit the breaks. For a motorcycle, rain can cause slick roads that can lead to serious injury to the motorcyclist. Accidents that are attributed to low or poor visibility often take place at intersections.
Another major cause for motorcycle accidents is road hazards. These are usually minor annoyances for four-wheel conveyances, but can be considered major hazards for motorcycles. These supposed minor road problems may include such usual things like oil slicks, potholes, debris, puddles, or even just regular things found on roadways like uneven pavement, ruts, road humps, and even railroad tracks.

Road hazards and who is at fault?

There are many types of road hazards when you ride on a motorcycle, including potholes, debris, slick streets, oil slicks, rain, and other cars. A number of accidents occur because roadways were not properly maintained, or hazards were not clearly marked or marked at all, speeds were not properly posted, or the roads were not prepared for various weather conditions, such as slipper roads. Who is at fault in this case? In such cases, the local government and highway department may be at fault. They are in charge of taking care of the road conditions and marking hazards or construction. If there was a failure to do this, they may be considered to be negligent.

There may be times when an accident occurs because of road conditions, but these conditions were well-marked or were being worked on for maintenance. In such situations, the motorcycle driver may then be the one at fault for the accident.

Are motorcycle accidents sometimes a result of the rider or motorcycle?

Yes, some accidents are also due to the rider\'s lack of coordination or even a faulty motorcycle. Whatever the causes, these accidents almost always leave the rider injured in one way or another. Whether or not the injury is minor or major, compensation can be ascertained after a few facts are sifted through.

What are some motorcycle laws?

Laws regarding motorcycle operation vary from state to state; however, in most states there are laws regarding operating a motorcycle with a license, helmets, daytime headlights, eye protection, yearly inspections, lane sharing, speed, and blood alcohol content (BAC) level. To verify if the particular aspects of these laws in your state, contact your department of motor vehicles.

License – Each state requires motorcyclists to have a license to operate a motorcycle. This ensures that drivers know how to properly manage the vehicle and how to drive it safely.
Helmet – In 45 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents the operator was not wearing a helmet. Helmets can significantly reduce the risk of fatality if involved in an accident.
Daytime Headlights – Motorcycles are far less visible than other vehicles. Headlights increase visibility.
Yearly Inspections – Inspections ensure that a motorcycle is operating correctly and is safe to have on the road.
Lane Sharing – This refers to motorcycles riding side by side. In many states, it is illegal to do so – cars may mistake two motorcycles for another car.
BAC – In all states the legal limit is less than .08.
Speed – varies from state to state, rural to urban roads, but ensures that drivers do not drive at unsafe speeds.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney who focuses on motorcycle accidents and personal injury. He or she will review your case, determine who may have been at fault, and help you pursue compensation if your accident was not a result of your negligence or unsafe operation of a motorcycle.

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