Motorcycle accidents are just as common as automobile accidents, and are often caused by negligent drivers. Statistics show motorcyclists have a 50 percent higher chance of being involved in an accident than automobile drivers.
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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of motorcycle crash-related fatalities has more than doubled during the past decade. Motorcycle riders accounted for 14% of total traffic fatalities. Motorcyclist fatalities continue to increase year after year.
Motorcycle accidents occur as a result of a variety of factors, most of which include the failure to yield at an intersection, lane-splitting, inattentive drivers, hazardous road conditions and manufacturer defects.
Failure to Yield at an Intersection
Occasionally, drivers waiting to make a left turn at a light do not see the motorcycle coming and turn, causing an accident. Even if a driver does see the motorcyclist, they might hit the gas and misjudge the situation, believing they have enough time to turn. Although it may be the other driver’s fault, their insurance company will inevitably try to place blame on the motorcyclist.
California is the only state in the U.S. that allows lane-splitting. Lane-splitting is allowed when it is done in a “safe and prudent manner.” However, the actions of a few reckless motorcyclists have created a stigma against responsible motorcyclists. Even if a negligent driver swerves or suddenly changes lanes causing the accident, police officers and insurance companies are often quick to place blame on the motorcyclist.
Cell-phones and other distractions can result in serious or fatal injuries. Due to the difference in size between motorcycles and automobiles, motorcyclists end up on the pavement with severe injuries, while automobile drivers usually incur fewer injuries.
Hazardous Road Conditions
Just as drivers have a responsibility to drive safely, government agencies and their contractors have a responsibility to keep the roads safe. Construction zones, gravel, pools of water and potholes can all cause serious accidents – especially if warning signs are not in place.
When purchasing any product, you trust the manufacturer to make it safe. In the case of motorcycles, the motorcyclist’s life is at risk if there is a defective part. Poor design or manufacturing can result in instability, throwing the driver off the bike, causing great harm.
Although it is clear there are dangers in riding a motorcycle, the pull of the open road continues to draw many riders. Because motorcyclists are open to the elements, it is vital to exercise caution, wear protective gear and obey the rules of the road. Helmets greatly reduce risk of fatal injuries. Unfortunately, riders cannot prevent the negligent decisions of the drivers around them.
If you have been in an accident, do not provide a recorded statement to the other driver’s insurance company, as they will often try to twist your words. It is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to protect your rights. At Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, we have experience helping clients receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. Contact us today for your free case consultation.
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