The exhilaration of riding a motorcycle in California cannot be denied, but the pleasures of riding come with a price. A motorcycle rider is completely exposed and without protection when hit by a car. Injuries are often severe, and sometimes fatal. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that a motorcycle rider is 35 times more likely to die in an accident than a person riding in a car. Survivors of motorcycle accidents often are left with catastrophic, life-changing injuries: brain and spine injuries, internal injuries, paralysis, and fractures.
In January of 2010, there were 1.3 million Californians with motorcycle licenses, and more than 800,000 motorcycles and scooters registered in the state. California reported 12,350 motorcycle collisions, with 429 deaths. That’s 10 percent of all people killed in California traffic accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2010, 3,615 people died in motorcycle crashes nationwide.
Causes of Motorcycle/Car Collisions
Motorcycles are less conspicuous on the road than cars, and a careless, distracted, or inattentive car driver may fail to observe one approaching. The most common cause of accidents involving a motorcycle and a car is the car’s driver violating the motorcyclist’s right of way by turning into the bike’s lane when making a turn. A car changing lanes and driving into the path of a motorcycle already in the lane is another frequent cause of accidents that can be prevented by the driver checking the blind spot.
Another cause of some motorcycle accidents is lane splitting, which is legal in California but prohibited in most other states. Lane splitting is moving between lanes of vehicles moving in the same direction, passing stopped or slower moving traffic between lanes at a speed greater than surrounding traffic. Although research has not clearly demonstrated that the practice is inherently unsafe, it does put a motorcyclist in a driver’s blind spot more often, so that if traffic suddenly starts to move an accident can occur. Lane splitting also exposes bikers to accidents involving passengers in cars opening doors while stopped or moving very slowly.
Road hazards, including potholes and debris, adverse weather conditions, speeding, and alcohol or drug impairment are often factors in motorcycle accidents as well.
Why You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
It is not uncommon for people, including insurance adjusters, to hold a bias against bikers. When an accident occurs, the insurance company for the car’s driver will often presume that anyone who rides a motorcycle is a risk-taker and therefore has done something to cause the accident. This kind or prejudice leads to erroneous conclusions that make getting a fair settlement more difficult, so it can be necessary to take a motorcycle accident case to a jury trial. You need an attorney who understands California law as it applies to motorcycles and cars and one who is a highly skilled litigator and is not afraid to go the limit on your behalf and present your case to a jury.
At Abronson law, we are both accomplished negotiators and skilled litigators who never hesitate to fight on your behalf for a fair recovery. We are located in Los Gatos and accept cases throughout Santa Clara County and the Bay Area. We take these cases on contingency, so you never pay an attorneys fee unless we recover money on your behalf.
Call Abronson Law for a free consultation.