Being a motorcycle rider is not easy. The vehicle itself may be more complicated to operate than a car, but that is the least of a motorcyclist’s worries. Daily travel is more dangerous for bikers because they are not protected by their vehicle as other drivers are and they are also at the mercy of other drivers’ actions. Unfortunately, the negligence or recklessness of other motorists often leads to serious injury or even fatal accidents for motorcycle riders and passengers because they are up against much bigger and heavier vehicles.
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the motorcycle victim may be able to take legal action against the at-fault party, but it is best to discuss such action with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. There are a variety of factors that may contribute to a motorcycle accident case and an attorney can help you understand your rights and options.
A Biker’s Responsibility in motorcycle accident
Keeping motorcyclists safe is part rider responsibility, part driver responsibility. It is true that other drivers tend to place bikers in danger by not sharing the road properly, but a biker is also responsible for doing what he or she can to protect themselves.
As a rider, you must be aware and follow your state motorcycle laws related to helmets and other regulations, such as holding a motorcycle license or endorsement. Additionally, you should wear the proper safety gear, such as gloves, boots, leather, or other sturdy jacket and leather or other sturdy pants. While riding, recognize that you are harder to see than a car, even when drivers are trying to watch for bikers, so be aware of driving behavior around you, try to make eye contact when possible, and drive defensively. If you are weaving in and out of traffic without regard to what actions drivers may need to take to avoid you, you are creating a dangerous situation for yourself and other motorists.
While it is important to recognize that a motorcyclist must take a certain responsibility for their own safety, the drivers of other vehicles also have a responsibility for the safety of bikers and this responsibility is very important considering the size and weight of a car over a motorcycle.
Driver Responsibility and Accountability
As a car, minivan, pick-up truck, semi truck, or other vehicle driver, you have a responsibility to be aware of your surroundings and those that share the road with you. Motorcyclists have just as much right to be on the road as you and you owe them the same level of caution you may take around other cars.
The drivers of other motor vehicles must also recognize that motorcycles are harder to see and double-check blind spots before making any maneuvers. Oftentimes, drivers will change their lane into a motorcyclist because they didn’t bother to check their blind spot. Overall, a driver must be attentive, follow applicable traffic laws, and practice extra caution when driving near motorcycles. The force of impact with a mere fender-bender with another car can potentially eject a motorcyclist from his or her vehicle and result in life-altering injuries.
It is important to understand that as the driver of a much larger and heavier vehicle, you actually have greater responsibility to the safety of bikers. It doesn’t matter whether the biker was breaking the state helmet law or doesn’t have the proper license or endorsement. If they were riding in accordance with general traffic laws and they are struck by a car driver making an unsafe maneuver, speeding or being otherwise reckless, the driver may be held accountable for the serious injury and costs of the injuries that result.
Motorcycle riders know that when they sign up to let the wind blow through their hair every time they get out on the open road, they’re also signing up for potential accidents. The majority of riders are able to get from point A to point B every day for their entire lives without ever experiencing an incident on the road. But for those who are involved in a collision, serious injuries typically follow. In some serious cases, the motorcycle rider and their passenger may both experience traumatic brain injuries (TBI), coma, permanent or long-term paralysis, or even death.
The serious consequences of motorcycle collisions make it a necessity for all riders to know how to spot potential hazards out on the road so they can be more prepared to take action to avoid an accident. Knowing how to avoid an accident can be the difference between life and death for many motorcycle riders. It is equally as important for riders to understand their rights in the event of an accident, and for their family members to understand their own rights in the event the rider dies.
Know the Risk of Motorcycle Accidents
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 34,000 motorcycle riders were killed in accidents between 2001 and 2008, and the numbers do not greatly decrease year over year. In fact, the number of fatal accidents typically rises over any given reporting period. Reports also indicate that around 1,222,000 individuals were treated in emergency rooms for motorcycle accident-related injuries during the same time period.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
Every motorcycle rider knows that a motorcycle accident can be caused by their own actions or by the negligent actions of another motorist sharing the road. Some of the most common hazards that motorcycle riders should be prepared to evade every time they head out on the road include:
- Drivers who don’t yield at left hand turn lights: Left hand turn signals have long been named as one of the primary locations for motorcycle accidents. For a motorcycle rider traveling straight, the negligent actions of a driver who decides not to yield or “doesn’t see” the motorcycle can mean serious injury, paralysis, or death.
- Drivers who don’t double check before changing lanes: One of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents involves drivers who simply use their side view mirrors before changing lanes in traffic. This eliminates the motorist’s ability to see other motorists, especially motorcycle riders, in their blind spots, which can only be seen with a physical motion.
- Drivers who don’t pay attention to the flow of traffic: Drivers who jam to the radio, carry on conversations, play with their cell phones, and conduct other activities on the road while they should be driving commonly cause rear-end accidents with motorcycle riders. Since motorcycles can stop much quicker than passenger cars, it is critical for motorists to pay attention to the flow of traffic so they can slow down and stop when it is necessary.
The Aftermath of a Motorcycle Accident
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident that was the result of negligent driving behaviors on the part of another motorist, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to seeking assistance through your automobile insurance company. Keeping copies of your police report, medical records, receipts, bills, and other evidence of your accident and its aftermath can help you support your claim and get the outcome you deserve. If it becomes too difficult to handle on your own, you may be able to get help from an attorney that understands personal injury law. If your loved one was killed in a motorcycle accident, an attorney can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Helping You onto the Road to Recovery
If you have been injured in a Massachusetts motorcycle accident caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another driver, the Boston motorcycle injury lawyers at Kiley Law Group can help you pursue compensation for your losses. If you are wondering whether legal action is the best choice in your situation, call us for a free consultation today at (888) 208-1695.