Avoiding Accidents With Motorcycles
It seems like we’re always hearing about someone being severely injured or killed due to a motorcycle crash. In fact, the number of motorcycle fatalities has been on the rise since the late 1990s as more and more people are choosing this mode of transportation. Approximately 5,000 motorcyclist deaths were reported in 2017 alone, which is more than twice the number that was reported just 20 years ago.
Motorcycles are more compact than other vehicles, so it’s essential to look out for them on the road. As a driver, you have a responsibility to be aware of other drivers to prevent unnecessary accidents. Here are some things to keep in mind to reduce the likelihood of a crash with a motorcycle.
Give Motorcyclists Space
Motorcyclists face more obstacles than other drivers on the road. While your car can handle something minor like a pothole with ease, it can cause a major problem for a motorcyclist. Thus, riders are constantly maneuvering to account for changing road conditions. You should drive more carefully around motorcyclists, assume that they can change position at any time, and signal when changing lanes so they have plenty of time to adjust.
Drivers often treat motorcycles like any other automobile, which can have grave consequences. When you’re following behind a motorcyclist, you should give them more space than you would a normal vehicle. Following too closely, or tailgating, is one of the top contributors to auto accidents, and it can be especially deadly for a motorcyclist, who won’t have the protection of a vehicle in the event of a rear-end collision.
Lane-Splitting Is Legal
Lane splitting is not strictly prohibited in California like it is in some other states. Effective January 1, 2017, Section 21658.1was added to the California Vehicle Code to define “lane splitting” and states that it is up to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to create educational guidelines for motorcycle safety. While you may encounter two or more motorcycles following each other, they can at any time decide to split lanes, so you should be aware of these changes and prepare for them by giving the riders enough space. If you were to change lanes and not notice the rider who decided to split the lane, you could be held liable if you hit them.
Use Caution Making Left-Hand Turns
Often, left-turn lanes are directly parallel to the through lanes at an intersection, making them especially dangerous for motorcyclists. When turning left, your line of sight may be blocked by vehicles in the opposite left-turn lane, so you might not be able to easily see drivers coming from the opposite direction. Since motorcycles are harder to see on the road, it is crucial to exercise extreme caution when you’re making these turns. First, you should look for cars and then look for motorcycles that might be driving in the opposite direction. Only turn left when you feel certain that the path is clear of traffic.
What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident
Sometimes, accidents are unpreventable no matter how many precautions you take. If you do experience a collision with a motorcycle on the road, here’s what you should do.
- Assess your injuries immediately.An accident can cause a variety of injuries, including:
- Internal bleeding
- Head trauma
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal injuries
You should take note of any injuries you have before leaving your vehicle. Then, if you’re able to, check on the motorcycle driver. They may have been thrown from their vehicle, so look around for them in the immediate area. If they have been hurt, avoid moving them and call for emergency medical assistance right away.
- Call the police. Officers won’t always respond to a traffic accident, but if they do, they will want to prepare a written report of what happened. Without admitting fault on your part, you should give them the details of the accident. Ask any witnesses to provide a statement as well. These first-hand accounts at the scene can prove invaluable should you need to seek a personal injury claim.
- Get medical assistance.Even if you don’t appear that hurt by the accident, you shouldn’t delay getting medical help after you leave the scene. There may be issues you don’t know about yet, such as internal bleeding or organ trauma. These types of injuries might not present symptoms until hours after the accident, so you should get a medical evaluation as soon as possible. Make sure to ask for a copy of all medical tests performed on you as well as any bills you incurred as a result.
- Call a lawyer.Getting immediate legal representation is essential when you have been injured in a motorcycle accident and you believe the other driver was at fault. A Bakersfield lawyer can review all aspects of your case to determine liability and work to get you sufficient compensation. Depending on the specific circumstances related to your situation, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical assistance, including ER visits and rehabilitative care
- Pain and suffering related to the accident
- Lost wages and future lost income
- Property damage
- Other losses you incur as a result of the incident
Your lawyer will need all of the information related to your case, including copies of any police reports, witness statements, and medical exams and treatments. Include all bills you get as a result of that medical care as well as any bills associated with repairing your vehicle. This information will help strengthen your case in an effort to get you the maximum amount of compensation that you’re entitled to.
In the event of a motorcycle accident, only a Bakersfield lawyer will be able to tell you if you are eligible to seek compensation from the other driver and their insurance company. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we work hard to get each of our clients the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.