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State Motorcycle Laws

Syracuse Lawyers for Injured Bikers

Motorcycle accidents are on the rise. Often there’s no buffer or protection for motorcyclists when they collide with another vehicle or hit the ground. However, state motorcycle laws can affect a motorcyclist’s ability to recover. It is important to consult an experienced Syracuse motorcycle accident attorney if you’re a biker who has been injured due to the fault of another. At De Francisco & Falgiatano, we provide knowledgeable representation to motorcycle accident victims.

State Motorcycle Laws

In order to operate a motorcycle in New York, you need to have an Operator’s License or a learner’s permit obtained after you pass a written exam. Motorcyclists, whether they have an operator’s license or a permit are supposed to follow certain rules. They have to use eyewear that conforms to certain standards. They have to use daytime headlights. If they decide to carry a passenger, they need to use a passenger seat and footrest. They should also have brakes on both wheels assuming the motorcycle was made after 1971, a rearview mirror, at least one red reflector on the rear, a muffler, a horn, and meet other requirements.

In New York, motorcycle helmets are required for both drivers of motorcycles and their passengers. The helmets need to meet federal motor vehicle safety standards under section 381 of the New York Vehicle and Traffic Law. Novelty helmets wouldn’t meet this standard.

Comparative Negligence

Often, a motorcyclist injured by someone else must prove the negligence of the at-fault driver. He must establish: (1) the defendant owed a standard of reasonable care towards him, (2) breach of the standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. All drivers owe a standard of care towards motorcyclists with whom they share the road. Breach of the duty to use reasonable care could include speeding, texting while driving, drunk driving, weaving, tailgating, or failing to obey traffic signals. It can be a breach of the duty to use reasonable care to drive too quickly for weather conditions such as a snow storm.

However, a motorcyclist also owes a duty of care to others on the road, and is supposed to comply with state motorcycle laws. If you fail to abide by state motorcycle laws and get into a motorcycle collision, the other driver involved may raise your comparative negligence as a defense. This means he will try to show that your own negligence is the reason for your injuries, and this can include pointing to violations of state motorcycle laws, such as failing to have a headlight or failing to wear a helmet. A seasoned injury lawyer can help you present counterarguments under these circumstances.

You won’t be completely barred from bringing a claim due to any violation of the rules governing motorcyclists unless a jury finds that you are 100% responsible for the accident. Rather, the jury will look at damages and assign both you and the defendant driver a percentage of fault. However, your damages will be reduced by your proportion of fault. So, for example, if you suffered head injuries and spinal cord damages in the amount of $1,000,000 in a motorcycle accident but the jury determines that you were 80% responsible for your injuries because of your failure to wear a helmet, while the other driver was 20% responsible, you would only be able to recover $200,000.

Consult a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Syracuse

If you were harmed or a loved one died as a result of a vehicle collision involving a possible violation of state motorcycle laws, it is advisable to consult a skillful trial lawyer. Insurers are biased against motorcyclists and will be looking for ways in which to assign them fault, so it’s best to talk to an attorney before talking to them. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents motorcycle accident victims and their families who have suffered harm in motorcycle accidents in Syracuse, as well as Rochester, Watertown, Oswego, Lowville, Oneida, Wampsville, Ithaca, Canandaigua, Herkimer, Binghamton, Auburn, Cooperstown, Lyons, and Elmira. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY