Staying Safe While on a Motorcycle in California

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Motorcycle accidents can be very dangerous, even fatal. California accounted for 474 of the 5,014 motorcyclists killed in 2019. Even though the figure is lower than the number of motorcycle fatalities in 2018,riders should still take steps to prevent them from happening again.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Here are the common causes of motorcycle accidents in California.

Speeding

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding accounted for 33 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2019. Speeding increases both the chance of an accident occurring and the severity of injuries if an accident does occur.

It takes longer to stop or slow down at high speeds, so a speeding motorcycle is more likely to collide with another vehicle or lose control and crash. Riders should be aware of the dangers and take precautions to avoid speeding. These precautions include using proper gear, obeying all traffic laws, and riding within their abilities.

Riders should also be familiar with their motorcycle’s capabilities and ride accordingly. Riding too fast can lead to a loss of control.

Alcohol

Accidents caused by alcohol consumption are among the most common motorcycle accidents in California. If you are on a motorcycle, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers posed by these substances.

Fatalities due to alcohol impairment in 2019 reached 1,066 in California. Even though the number is lower by 4.5 percent than the previous year, drivers and motorcycle riders should still be cautious while on the road.

To reduce the risk of these accidents, drivers and motorcycle riders should:

  •         Avoid drinking and driving
  •         Plan ahead for a safe ride
  •         Designate a sober driver
  •         Call a cab or rideshare service if needed

Vehicle Blind Spots

Motorcycles are a popular mode of transportation, and as a result, they are often the victim of negligent drivers. Many motorcycle accidents are caused by vehicles making a left turn in front of the motorcycle. This is often because the driver doesn’t see the motorcycle due to the vehicle’s blind spot.

Lane splitting by motorcyclists is legal in California, and many motorcyclists do it to avoid traffic. However, it can be dangerous, and motorcyclists should be cautious when lane splitting. This practice is dangerous since the motorcyclist can easily be hit by a car that changes lanes without looking or they are in the blind spot of the vehicle.

To avoid being caught in a blind spot, motorcyclists should avoid riding in the middle of lanes, and if they must ride in the middle of a lane, they should do so for a limited amount of time.  If a motorcyclist is lane splitting, they should be cautious and use their mirrors to ensure safety.

Motorcyclists should also anticipate that vehicles will change lanes without signaling or looking and be prepared to take evasive action. Additionally, they should exercise caution during inclement weather, as rain and snow make it more difficult for drivers to see motorcycles.

Motorcyclists can take steps to avoid common accidents in California. By being aware of the dangers posed by speeding, alcohol, and negligent drivers, motorcyclists can reduce their risk of being in an accident.

Additionally, riders should be familiar with their motorcycle’s capabilities and ride accordingly to avoid losing control. In case of an accident, it is important to seek medical attention immediately and contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney at Haffner Law to protect your rights.

Common Causes of California Motorcycle Accidents

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Motorcycles are one of the most popular means of transportation in the state of California. The nearly year-round sunny weather and scenic roads may be one of the reasons why. Unfortunately, riding a motorcycle is also one of the most dangerous ways to get around. Motorcyclists are at higher risk of being in catastrophic accidents.

In California, hundreds of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death each year. In 2017 alone, a total of 16,505 motorcycle accidents were recorded, resulting in 15,527 injuries and 541 deaths. The accidents had varying causes, but many of them were linked to driving under the influence of alcohol.

The following are some of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents in California:

Head-On Vehicle Collisions

Most motorcycle accident fatalities are due to frontal collisions, or when two vehicles coming from opposite directions collide. These cases often involve cars or trucks crashing into motorcycles at intersections. These accidents usually occur when a driver runs a red light. Depending on the speed of the vehicles involved and the angle of the crash, the outcome could range from whiplash to more severe injuries or even death of the driver and/or rider involved.

Intoxication

As previously mentioned, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common cause of motorcycle accidents. This is because these substances negatively affect an individual’s judgment, vision, and reaction time. Individuals who drive while intoxicated or on illegal drugs pose a significant risk to other drivers, especially to motorcyclists who are less noticeable on the road due to their smaller size.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting occurs when motorcyclists drive between rows of stopped or moving vehicles. While this practice is illegal in some other U.S. states, it was legalized in California in 2017.

There are varying views on the safety of lane splitting, with some drivers saying that it reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. Others, however, think otherwise due to these three factors:

  • The proximity of larger vehicles to motorcycles
  • Limited space in which motorcyclists can maneuver
  • Car and truck drivers not anticipating motorcyclists to overtake in slowed or stopped traffic

Road Hazards

Hazards like uneven road surfaces, potholes, wet pavement, asphalt cracks, and even wet leaves pose a greater risk to lighter vehicles like motorcycles that offer less stability than cars and trucks. If the accident was caused by a lack of road maintenance, the driver could hold the city, municipality, or state liable for restitution in a personal injury case.

Reach out to a Los Angeles Motorcycle Crash Lawyer

If you are a victim of a motorcycle accident, reach out to Haffner Law. Our seasoned personal injury lawyers are passionate about helping our clients get the compensation they deserve. You can depend on us to guide you throughout the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit. We’ll handle everything from collecting evidence and interviewing witnesses to dealing with insurance companies and filing the case in court.

Get in touch with Haffner Law at 213-514-5681 to schedule a free consultation today.

Who Is Liable in Motorcycle Accidents?

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Motorcycle accidents are comparable to other vehicle accidents in some ways. However, because of certain inherent factors in motorcycle riding, the risk factors, the resulting injuries, and more importantly, the liability conditions of motorcycle accidents are different from car accidents.

It’s important to understand these differences when looking into motorcycle accidents, especially if there is a negligence claim or wrongful death lawsuit involved.

These cases would require the legal counsel or representation of a motorcycle accident attorney from Haffner Law. Today, we’ll give an overview of the risks, causes, and liability conditions in motorcycle accidents.

Risks Associated with Motorcycle Riding

The most apparent difference between motorcycles and cars is size, which plays into the risk of accidents. Since motorcycles are smaller, they are less visible compared to other vehicle types. This results in a higher likelihood of a crash.

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, people riding motorcycles were 27 times more likely to be killed in an accident compared to people in passenger cars.

Having only two wheels means motorcycles are less stable than vehicles with four. This increases the skill level required to safely operate a motorcycle. Having two wheels also makes emergency braking and swerving more likely in motorcycles. Some accidents are even caused by front-wheel wobbling.

Motorcycle riders don’t have the protections car passengers have. They don’t have seatbelts, airbags, or a metal box between them and the dangers around them. Helmets do offer some protection. The 2017 Insurance Information Institute report reveals that 1,872 motorcycle riders could have been saved if they had worn helmets.

Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Many of the following causes can be linked back to the risks involved in riding motorcycles:

  • Cars hit passing motorcycles as they make left-hand turns.
  • Accidents occur when motorcycles split lanes.
  • Motorcycles hitting fixed objects and road hazards.
  • Speeding and alcohol use is involved in half of the accidents with single motorcycles.

Liability in Motorcycle Accidents

Like most accidents, motorcycle crashes are also covered by the law of negligence, which is an important consideration when making a claim.

Motorists are all legally required to be careful on the road. This means their actions will be evaluated using a lens of what the law considers a “reasonable person”. If careless actions result in accidents, the responsible party may be liable.

In making a negligence claim, the side of the motorcycle rider needs to prove that the other party’s carelessness has directly or indirectly caused their injuries or death.

Oppositely, the other party may argue negligence on the side of the motorcycle rider. This may result in a recovery reduction or may even prevent the motorcycle rider from receiving any monetary compensation for the accident.

File Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit Today

If you have been in a motorcycle accident as a result of someone’s negligence and wonder how much compensation you’re entitled to, let our attorneys help. Unlike insurance companies, we’ll probe into the unique circumstances that surround your case and help you get the money you’re owed.

At Haffner Law, we have a wealth of experience in personal injury cases, obtaining millions of dollars in compensation for our clients over the years. To get started on your case, consult our lawyers for free today.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

 

Motorcycle Accidents: Common Causes and How to Avoid Them

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Motorcycle crashes are among the most fatal traffic accidents. In 2018 alone, 4,985 motorcycle riders died in a crash. Although this is an almost 5 percent decrease from the previous year, motorcyclists are still over-represented in traffic fatalities.

Even if you wear a helmet, a motorcycle is less likely to withstand a crash compared to four-wheeled vehicles. The following vehicle differences expose the motorcycle rider to a fatal auto accident:

  • A motorcycle has fewer rider protection measures, such as airbags and seat belts, compared to closed cars.
  • It lacks the weight and bulk that prevents it from being thrown too far from the collision site. The rider is likely to get thrown off the motorcycle and sustain major injuries.
  • The weight and size of motorcycles make them less visible to drivers of closed vehicles, especially the ones with dark-tinted windows.
  • The open design makes the motorcycle rider more vulnerable to weather hazards and other road conditions.

These factors make motorcycles more vulnerable to auto accidents. If you drive a motorcycle, it’s a wise idea to get insurance. If you figure in an accident and the other party’s insurance company refuses your claim, a life insurance policy lawyer can help you file an appeal.

Some common causes of motorcycle-car accidents are left-hand turns, lane splitting, and dangerous road conditions.

Left Turn Accidents

A car making a left turn usually hits a motorcycle when the latter does any of the following:

  • Goes straight onto the intersection
  • Passes the car
  • Tries to overtake the car

The motorcycle’s size places it in a blind spot when the car driver makes the turn, resulting in a collision.

The motorcycle rider can recover compensation for injuries and property damage from the other driver, but it depends on who’s at fault for the accident. If the motorcyclist is partly at fault, they might get less compensation or none at all, depending on the state’s laws.

Brush up on your right-of-way laws for crossing intersections to avoid left-turn collisions. 

Motorcycle Lane Splitting

Lane splitting is when a motorcycle drives between two lanes. It usually happens during traffic jams, when vehicles are stopped or slowly moving. Motorcycle lane splitting causes crashes for the following reasons:

  • The motorcycle comes too close to the cars
  • The motorcycle doesn’t have enough space to maneuver
  • The car driver doesn’t anticipate that any motorcycle or other vehicle will pass them since they’re stopped in traffic

Accidents caused by motorcycle lane splitting will be resolved depending on the actions of both drivers before the crash, and the views of the police and presiding judge.

California is the only state that explicitly permits lane splitting. Most states consider it illegal, while others permit it only to an extent. 

Dangerous Road Conditions

Motorcyclists encounter more road hazards than vehicle drivers. Rough roads, gravel on the pavement, potholes, slick surfaces, uneven height between lanes, and other road irregularities make it difficult for bikers to control and balance their motorcycle. Large debris, snow and ice, and animals crossing the road also pose risks for bikers.

Some motorcycle accidents are caused by opening car doors, although this kind of collision isn’t fatal. This happens when a driver opens the door of their car in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.

Stay on the lookout for road conditions that can cause driving problems to stay safe.

If the unthinkable happens and you’re caught in an auto accident while driving a motorcycle, seek legal advice to make sure you can claim compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle.

Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles

Fighting with insurance companies is a problem you don’t need after your motorcycle crash. But you can’t let them get away with selling your claim short. Haffner Lawyers has experienced motorcycle accident attorneys who will help you build a strong case and fight for the compensation you’re owed under the law.

For a consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer, give us a call at 213-514-5681.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)