Articles Tagged with Motorcycle Accidents

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From semi truck crashes to pedestrian collisions, traffic accidents of all kinds can be devastating. However, motorcyclists often face particularly perilous outcomes when they are struck by a vehicle. Unfortunately, far too many motorcyclists have had their lives shattered because of the negligent behavior of drivers in Syracuse and other New York cities. For motorcyclists, recognizing the prevalence of these crashes could help. Sadly, even the most responsible of motorcyclists could find themselves in the middle of a serious accident.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published statistics on motorcycle accidents which show that an estimated 88,000 motorcyclists suffered an injury and over 4,660 motorcyclist fatalities took place during 2013. In comparison to the year before, these figures represent a slight decrease in the number of motorcyclists who were hurt and killed. However, the numbers are still staggering and far more people have had their lives shattered because of motorcycle crashes in the years since.

For victims of these crashes and the family members of motorcycle wreck victims, it is crucial to understand some of the other challenges that can arise from an accident, in addition to the loss of life and physical injuries. For example, a victim may lose his or her mobility, interfering with their quality of life and keeping them from earning a living. Moreover, funeral expenses, health care costs, and rehabilitation expenses can create even more financial problems. Because these wrecks are so serious, negligent drivers who fail to drive safely and watch out for motorcyclists must be held liable when they cause a crash.

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It seems that not a day goes by without you hearing about or seeing motorcycle accidents in New York. The number of riders is increasing every day; so is the risk of accidents. In 2015, there were “8.6 million motorcyclists on the roads” across the country, state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Any type of accident that occurs on the roads is enough to leave you wondering what kind of injuries the victims sustained. You may also find yourself wondering about the causes of these crashes and what can be done to prevent them. Here is a brief overview of factors that lead to motorcycle accidents.

Road conditions

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Many New Yorkers believe the majority of motorcycle accidents occur when road conditions are bad. However, a recent study in Motofire states that “most motorcycle accidents happen when road conditions are ideal. The study is based on reported data on motorcycle accidents in Australia. The information suggests that there are other contributing risks that lead to motorcycle accidents. 

Take some time to learn about factors that affect motorcyclist safety when road conditions are ideal. 

Biker age 

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Motorcyclists are subjected to heightened safety risks on the road, especially when coursing busy thoroughfares laden with other drivers who may be distracted, inattentive or careless. While some motorcycle safety precautions are commonalities, others are incorrectly understood.

The Huffington Post shared an article which discusses some of these myths and aims to educate bikers and drivers alike to encourage motorcycle safety. Some of these notorious myths include:

  • Loud is best: While some people believe that a loud exhaust increases a motorcyclist’s safety by making more noise, this is false. Not only do many motorists drive with their windows up and music blaring, but sound projects backward which does nothing for drivers that may be in front of a motorcyclist.
  • Leather is a fashion statement: Because many bikers sport leather chaps, jackets and other apparel, people commonly think it is a fashion statement designed to make bikers appear more hardcore. However, the truth is that leather is highly effective against preventing road rash and bodily injury in the event a biker crashes.
  • Drivers are aware: Unfortunately, not all drivers are attentive and vigilant. In fact, even the most careful drivers can sometimes miss something in their blind spot. Bikers should never assume that they are going to be seen. Rather, they should always drive attentively and be sure that motorists can see them before changing lanes, turning or making other maneuvers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 14 percent of all traffic fatalities were people driving motorcycles. Additionally, in the same year, nearly 88,000 bikers were injured.  

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Many motorists are so excited to take the roads in New York that they fail to realize the dangers they face. Their vehicles do not have the same protective structures as cars. Even though some bikers wear helmets and riding gear for protection, many of them do not. According to ConsumerReports.org, these factors along with higher speed limits, drugs and alcohol use increase the risk of motorcycle crashes, injuries and fatalities. 

Bikers who understand the common factors that lead to crashes can take measures to protect themselves on the roads. 

Other vehicles 

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There are many rumors and misconceptions that a motorcycle helmet can do more harm than good. If you are riding in New York, though, you should understand that a helmet is your best defense against severe injuries if you are involved in an accident. There have been studies and there is solid proof that helmets save lives.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation explains exactly how a motorcycle helmet protects you in a crash. The main parts of this safety gear are each designed with a specific purpose in mind. The padding and straps are made to ensure the helmet fits your head correctly and firmly. This will keep the helmet from sliding around and stop it from flying off or shifting in the event of an impact. The inner core is made of cushioning foam that absorbs shock and compresses to prevent direct hits to your head. The outer shell is made to be hard and firm, yet it also gives a little on impact to prevent it from breaking and allow it to provide complete protection as you hit a hard surface.

The most severe risk you face in an accident is a head injury. Protecting your head with a helmet only makes sense. If you are in a crash and fly off your bike, when you hit the ground, it is much better to have your helmet make impact rather than your skull. The helmet will absorb the shock and distribute it so your head does not get the brunt of it. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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Riding a motorcycle is a double edged sword. Yes, it gives you a beautiful sense of freedom and makes you look cooler than anyone else on the road. But, and it’s a big “but,” you have to deal with motorists who don’t see you and even ones who are openly hostile toward you. You’re completely exposed, so when an accident does happen, catastrophic injuries usually follow. Now throw drunk or distracted drivers into the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Those elements came together with tragic results one night in late January. A 47-year-old motorcyclist was heading south when he was hit by a man driving a Lincoln northbound. The motorcycle rider was thrown from his bike. Emergency rescue crews arrived at the scene and transported the man to a nearby hospital, but he was unable to recover from his injuries.

During an investigation, authorities discovered that the driver of the Lincoln was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident. He is now facing charges of operating under the influence.

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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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