Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcyclists while having the most freedom on the road are also the most vulnerable as there is very little protection offered by the bike in the case of a collision. Furthermore, motorcyclists are quite small in comparison to cars and thus are easy to overlook and miss when in heavy traffic. Compared to cars, motorcycles require far more skill and concentration to drive as they lack stability compared to cars. 

Similar to many vehicle accident cases, motorcycle accident claims revolve around the tort of negligence. In the case where the motorcycle rider was partly at fault for the accident, he or she won’t be able to recover any damages under the principles of contributory negligence. If the principle of comparative negligence applies, then the recovery of damages may be possible based on the calculation of damage caused by each party. 

Helmets are protective gear that offers vital protection to the head of the rider in the case of an accident. In many states, it has been made mandatory for motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets. 

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Today we continue our discussion about motorcycle helmet requirements. All riders are required to wear a helmet that meets federal standards in the state of New York, no matter their experience level or their age.

With that being said, let’s discuss a few things that riders should look for when buying a motorcycle helmet.

The design and style of the helmet is important when it comes to meeting FMVSS 218 standards. Most full-face designs will meet DOT requirements. Helmets cannot have anything protruding more than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet. This means no spikes or decorations should be sticking out of the helmet. Skullcap type helmets and some German Army styles are usually not safe. Most unsafe helmets will be noticeably thinner and smaller than the DOT requires.

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In our last post we discussed a couple of motorcycle laws that are specific to the state of New York. It’s important that all drivers understand these laws and obey them. Another important issue to consider for motorcyclists is the use of a helmet. In the state of New York, every motorcycle rider has to wear a helmet, no matter their age or experience level. While a helmet will not always help prevent injuries caused by a negligent driver, many lives are saved each year due to the use of motorcycle helmets.

Head injuries are the leading cause of death among motorcyclists who are involved in a crash. That’s why our state has specific laws pertaining to helmet use. The state does not want you to use just any helmet. The helmet needs to meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218. All motorcycle helmets sold in the Unites States are supposed to meet these standards. If you have ever seen a motorcycle rider wearing a helmet that doesn’t meet these standards, it’s usually because they bought a helmet that was sold as a novelty item, allowing it to circumvent these requirements. Riders mistakenly sometimes think these helmets will keep them safe.

You will know if a helmet meets FMVSS 218 standards if it has a DOT sticker on the back of it. Some sellers will provide these stickers with novelty helmets, but that does not make them compliant, so be aware of that. An even better indicator of safety is if the helmet has a sticker from a private, non-profit organization such as the American National Standards Institute or Snell. These organizations have their own standards for safety that will also meet the federal standards. These labels will usually be inside the helmet.

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While most of us are pretty aware of the rules of the road as they pertain to driving a passenger vehicle, there are specific laws in our state that pertain specifically to motorcycle riders that our readers may want to be aware of. Knowing these laws, no matter whether you are a car driver or a motorcycle rider, can help keep you safe. If an accident occurs between a motorcyclist and a passenger car driver, these laws will have an impact on who is found liable for the crash.

You may have been traveling down a freeway in another state when a motorcyclist passed you in your own lane. While that might seem dangerous, some states do not have laws that explicitly prohibit this act. This means that if you are sitting in traffic during rush hour, motorcyclists in those states may pass you by driving in the space left within your lane. While this may be okay in some states, it is illegal in the state of New York. This illegal maneuver is called lane splitting.

Another law that may be of interest to our readers has to do with two motorcyclists riding in one lane. State law does not explicitly disallow this act. State law only says that all motorcyclists are entitled to the full use of a lane. That means a passenger vehicle cannot encroach on a motorcyclist’s space just because he or she doesn’t take up a lot of room on the road.

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In today’s post we continue our discussion on things motorcycle riders can do to try to avoid an accident. We use the word “try” because that is truly all a rider can do in situations where others are involved. We have seen many cases where even the most experienced and knowledgeable rider cannot avoid the mishaps of others.

The most common accident that happens to motorcyclists is when another vehicle turns left in front of them. This is often where we hear the “I didn’t see them” excuse. A motorcyclist should always be aware that any intersection where a car is preparing to turn left may be an immediate threat. In these situations, it may benefit a rider to slow down and prepare for evasive measures if needed. Although some might think laying down their bike is the best option if they are about to collide, being in an upright position is a much better option. The best hope of surviving such a crash is to lower your speed as fast as possible before colliding. This could mean the difference between life and death.

What can a motorcyclist do to avoid having a car change lanes into them? Again, awareness is key here as well. Try to stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots and be aware of situations where vehicles are more likely to change lanes (such as when one lane of traffic is moving faster than another).

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Motorcycle accidents are some of the most tragic on the road. With a lack of protection from the actual vehicle, injuries can be horrific. On the other hand, motorcycles do have features such as excellent handling, tires that grip well and powerful breaks that help riders avoid accidents. Unfortunately, a rider may do everything in his or her power to avoid an accident, but still hurt by the negligence of another driver on the road.

In our next two posts we will discuss what motorcyclists can do to stay safe on the road. First, there are quite a few things that motorcyclists can do on their own to increase their safety. Taking basic riding courses in order to educate yourself on safety is a smart idea. It’s also important to consider what you are wearing. Although your gear may not necessarily prevent all possible injuries, it may allow you to be in better control of your bike and can also help other drivers see you better.

There are several scenarios in which your speed will make a world of a difference. For example, a rider may enter a corner too fast, which could make them lose control. A good rule to follow is “slow in, fast out.” Go into the turn slowly and then speed up once you are out of it. This can be especially helpful if you end up hitting gravel in a blind corner.

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Despite the warm weather in central New York, the end of the summer is drawing near. As a matter of fact, the official first day of fall is next week. With that, the weather is expected to get cooler and people will start putting their motorcycles away for the winter. Experienced riders may know when to say when, but younger riders may test their limits.

This could lead to disastrous results. 

It is known that the first 30 days a new rider has a motorcycle can be the most dangerous. This is especially true if the rider has just purchased a new one. New riders may not have the experience to navigate tight turns or be able to make split decisions when in tight spots in traffic. Also, an insurance institute report indicated that a considerable number of motorcycle collision claims occurred within the first 30 days that the policy was purchased.

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When the weather is this good during the summer time, it may sometimes be difficult to go to work. This is not because traffic is terrible or strangled by snow; it’s because nice days like these shouldn’t be wasted by spending so much time indoors. Some in our region make the most of the weather and their commute time by riding bicycles or motorcycles to work. This way, they get to enjoy the outdoors and get to work in a timely manner.

Nevertheless, riding bikes and motorcycles come with unique dangers. After all, riders don’t have a steel cage to protect them in the event of a crash, so the protection between the asphalt and their person is likely only a helmet. With that said, motorcycle riders and bicyclists must be vigilant while commuting. This post will provide some helpful tips to make the commute safe.

Choose your route carefully – Indeed, the scenic route may provide the most enjoyment, but make sure that it gives you enough room to maneuver, has lighter traffic than main thoroughfares, and does not have any additional hazards (such as potholes) that can lead to an accident.

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It may seem like it has come so fast, but the height of the summer is almost here. No, we are not talking about the vernal equinox (i.e. the longest day of the year). Instead, it is the Fourth of July holiday weekend. This time of year is ripe for riding motorcycles. If you are a driver, you should expect to see more riders than usual. If you are a motorcycle rider, it is important for you to take the following tips to heart next weekend. 

Don’t ride and drink– There are likely to be additional patrols out to catch drunk drivers. Keep in mind that the police will be looking for impaired motorcycle riders too.  Besides the criminal implications, riders should be mindful that alcohol affects one’s judgment and  balance; two things that are essential for safely riding a motorcycle. So don’t drink and ride.

Obey the speed laws – The quick acceleration and high speeds are what drive some people to ride motorcycles. However, the faster you go, the likelihood increases that you will be in an accident. After all, you may be skilled rider, but some skills may not help in avoiding an accident with a bad driver.

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Memorial Day weekend brings out people not only in cars and SUVs, but also on motorcycles. As we alluded to in earlier posts, the volume of traffic on the roads this weekend strongly suggests that the chances of accidents will be higher than usual.

When considering how this will affect motorcycle riders, it is important to know that riders must be more vigilant compared to other times of the year. With that said, we offer some critical safety tips to that can help keep motorcyclists safe.

Be defensively vigilant – More often than not, the driver of a car is at fault in car-motorcycle accidents. Because of this, riders must be wary of cars that may change lanes without signaling or pull out from driveways without looking both ways. Additionally, making sure to keep safe distances from cars can help in giving that extra time to react to hazards.

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