There’s no doubt that Californians love their bikes since California is a motorcycle-friendly state. But riding a motorcycle is more dangerous than driving a car, so keep in mind that the open road can be quite hazardous. Every motorcyclist must learn about their law rights so they’ll know what kind of action to take after an accident has occurred.
Below we’ll explain in brief the causes, injuries, and law rights for motorcycle accidents in California.
Since the 1970s several California motorcycle laws have been enacted to keep riders safer and give them legal recourse to seek compensation after an accident. Note that the rights and responsibilities, the number of laws that govern the ability to ride, and the safety features of the motorcycle increase each year. Remember that all laws listed in the California Vehicle Code apply to the operation of a motorcycle in California.
Knowing the different kinds of laws and the action you should take after an accident occurs, can be beneficial for you. It’s advisable to consult with a reputable law firm that provides legal services uniquely tailored to your circumstances, like the Pratt Williams injury law firm. This will give you peace of mind and will make you feel a bit safer.
Causes of accidents
No matter the experience and how safely motorcyclists drive, accidents can still happen. Here are some of the common causes for motorcycle accidents in California:
Motorcyclists face increased risk on the road, and one of the major causes of motorcycle accidents is speeding. Traveling at a high speed makes your reaction time slower. Note that about one-third of all deaths in motor vehicle accidents involved speeding. Motorcycle riders can also suffer more serious injuries since the force of impact is more significant when they speed.
Unsafe lane changes and lane splitting
An accident can occur when the driver fails to signal and check their blind spot before changing lanes. Also, the danger can increase if a motorcycle rider is lane splitting, an act of driving between two lanes of cars, which is legal in California. This is especially dangerous for inexperienced motorcycle drivers.
Driving under the influence (DUI)
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol impairs the driver’s ability to operate the vehicle whether it’s a car or a motorcycle. Their vision, reaction time, and other driving skills are significantly impaired. Note that close to 30% of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve intoxicated driving above the legal limit.
One of the main reasons for motorcycle accidents occurs due to the rider’s misjudgment of the distance or speed of an oncoming vehicle. Nearly half of all motorcycle collisions happen due to another vehicle making a left-hand turn at an intersection. This can happen because the motorcyclist attempts to pass or overtake the other vehicle, or proceeds straight through the intersection.
Dangerous road conditions
Potholes, poor signs or signals, objects in the roadway, slick pavement conditions, or debris can cause a serious motorcycle crash. Remember that no matter how skillful you are, you can easily lose control if you encounter such bad road conditions.
Drivers who are distracted while driving can cause an accident because rather than being focused on the road they’re texting or talking on their phone. Motorcycles can sometimes be difficult to spot in traffic, so if the driver isn’t paying attention, they are at greater risk to be involved in an accident.
Types of injuries in a motorcycle accident
Injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident are usually catastrophic. The most common types include:
- Trauma brain injury (TBI) – concussion, post-concussion syndrome, and other types of head trauma that can be devastating. So remember, always wear a helmet!
- Neck and back injuries – spinal injuries range from sprains to paralyzing spinal cord damage that is permanent.
- Deep skin abrasions (“road rash”) – this happens when a rider is thrown from their bike during a crash and they slide across the surface of the road. The speed of sliding can tear open their clothing, resulting in serious abrasions.
- Broken bones – motorcyclists can suffer bone fractures after being thrown off their bike and the force of impact with another vehicle.
After participating in a motorcycle accident
There are some important things one should consider after participating in a motorcycle accident. Of course, only worry about collecting evidence if you’re physically able to.
- Ask for medical evaluation.
- Obtain information about the other drivers and their vehicles.
- Call the police.
- Gather information from witnesses and take photos of the scene.
There are plenty of dangers driving a motorcycle, and knowing your legal rights and what to do after an accident is very important. The best thing is to wear a helmet, drive safely, document the scene, and always contact your legal representative. Motorcycle cases can be difficult to settle so make sure you hire a great accident lawyer.