Archive for January, 2020

Motorcycle Laws Protect Riders and Those Around Them

Saturday, January 25th, 2020

Riding a motorcycle provides a unique sense of freedom out on the open road or even while traveling through urban areas. Motorcycles also present a set of dangers and hazards for the rider and others in the immediate vicinity.

Motorcycle riders must comply with traffic laws applicable to other vehicles on the road. Because motorcycles are smaller and narrower than the other vehicles they share the road with, there are some traffic laws that pertain specifically to motorcycles. Each state has additional laws and traffic regulations in place to help prevent accidents and injuries involving motorcycles.

Two of the more dangerous practices that pose risks to motorcycle riders and those around them involve lane splitting and child passenger restrictions.

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

What it is called and how it is regulated can vary from state to state. But whatever you call it, motorcycle lane splitting presents potential hazards drivers of all vehicles on the road.

Lane splitting is a time-saving maneuver motorcycle riders make by riding in between traffic lanes while traffic has slowed or stopped. It can be a safe way to avoid motorcycles from being rear-ended in traffic, and also takes the vehicles out of traffic lanes, which can ease congestion.

When performed at higher speeds, lane splitting involves a motorcycle weaving in and out of moving traffic. A common practice in high volume freeways and expressways in large metropolitan areas, this type of lane splitting poses a high risk of collision and personal injuries and is generally illegal.

Dangers of Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Potential dangers of motorcycles performing lane-splitting procedures during traffic flowing at higher speeds include:

  • No Room For Error: Lane splitting shortens the distance between vehicles, leaving little time to react when things go wrong.
  • Lane Change Safety: Other vehicles are often unable to see and anticipate motorcycles approaching between lanes, making lane changes dangerous and unpredictable.
  • Blind Spot: When a motorcycle splits the lanes and rides up through traffic, they go in and out of other drivers’ blind spots, making it far more difficult to avoid collisions.
  • Intersection Right-of-Way: Adding a motorcycle to the mix at intersections creates more confusion for the right-of-way decisions drivers must make to safely proceed.

Each state has different laws pertaining to motorcycle lane splitting abilities. Regardless of the individual laws, extra care and caution must be applied when motorcycles are maneuvering through traffic.

Child Passengers on Motorcycles

Kids enjoy the thrills of motorcycle riding every bit as much as adults. Done safely, children may ride as passengers on motorcycles by following safety precautions within the laws of local municipalities.

  • Reaching the Pegs: Passengers may only ride if both of their feet can reach the footpegs from the passenger seat. 
  • Helmet: Children must have properly sized, full-coverage helmet snugly strapped on. As they grow, kids will need to upsize their helmets to make sure they are properly protected. Jackets, boots, and knee guards offer added protection while riding shotgun on a motorcycle.
  • Position is Key: Children should never ride in front of the operator of a motorcycle. Passengers may ride only on the passenger seat or in a sidecar.

Know the Law

Each state has its own unique set of laws governing the riding of motorcycles. It is important to know the local regulations before hopping on a bike and heading out on the road.

At LegalInfo.com, we can help you find attorneys dedicated to motorcycle accidents and legal matters. Contact us today to locate a qualified lawyer in your area. 

Colorado Creates Fund to Help Those Whose Employers Do Not Provide Workers’ Comp

Friday, January 10th, 2020

For those who are injured on-the-job in Colorado, the standard place to turn for help is an employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. These policies provide benefits, including medical expenses, disability, and lost wages, for those employees who are injured at work. Although Colorado law requires that employers carry this type of coverage, there are still companies who choose not to do so, opting to pay penalty fines instead.

This leaves employees in a bind when faced with hefty expenses after a workplace accident. Although lawsuits are available in this situation, these can be expensive and take time to pursue. Even if a lawsuit is successful, many companies have used the bankruptcy process to avoid paying court-ordered funds to employers.

To help alleviate this issue, the Colorado Department of Labor created the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund to cover medical expenses of employees whose employers do not carry workers’ compensation insurance. Since the fund’s approval in 2017, it has been a work-in-progress, collecting funds from penalty fines assessed to companies without workers’ compensation insurance. The fund is now ready to begin accepting claims, with claims being available for any injuries on or after January 1, 2020.

Although this is a significant step forward for workers and workers’ compensation reform, there is a large gap between the number of claims expected this year and the amount of funds currently available. The expected number of claims per year is expected to average 95. Currently, the fund currently contains $1.6 million in available funds, which is not enough to pay for all medical costs associated with the expected number of claims. This means the fund will only be able to accept a certain number of claims, placing others on a waitlist until enough funds are raised to compensate them.

The fund is expected to grow in the future, however, as well as expand from covering only medical costs to covering other types of benefits. Changes in Colorado law allows regulators to assess what each employer can pay and assess a penalty amount based on that. This would translate to increased revenue for the fund, allowing for more claims and an expansion of benefits.

Although in its infancy, the creation of this fund is a huge step forward for workers’ compensation reform, and it represents a huge victory for workers. Now, workers in Colorado can rest assured that there are options for them should their employer choose not to carry workers’ compensation coverage.

To learn more about the Colorado Uninsured Employer Fund, or for any questions or legal help about workers’ compensation, visit LegalInfo.com for help.