Millions of motorists travel U.S. roadways every day. Of these motorists, thousands actually drive motorcycles rather than passenger vehicles. Despite different modes of transportation, all motorists are required to follow the same laws of the road and are protected under the same laws. This means that all drivers have a responsibility to drive safely and not endanger other motorists. Additionally, manufacturers and state and local municipalities are tasked with providing safe vehicles and roads to both of these groups.
However, due to the unique features of a motorcycle, motorcyclists often find themselves facing unique problems on the road that other drivers do not. While this should mean that other drivers and parties, such as municipal bodies, should take extra care when it comes to their responsibilities pertaining to motorcyclists, this does not necessarily happen. In fact, the number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists has risen in the past few years, whereas this number has decreased for drivers of other vehicles.
Although motorcycle accidents can occur because of an action or decision made by a motorcyclist, such as failing to be properly outfitted with protective gear or failing to abide by certain traffic and road rules, a number of these types of accidents are caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of other drivers. As such, a number of motorcyclists and their families find themselves pursuing legal action against the party responsible with the help of a personal injury lawyer. Some common problems that motorcyclists face on the road that are typically caused by another party include the following:
- Road Defects – while any motorist can be involved in an accident caused by a road defect, such as missing guardrails, lack of necessary signs, or water pooling, motorcyclists are often particularly susceptible to the repercussions that road defects tend to have. For example, potholes that cause only minor bumps for other vehicles can potentially cause a motorcyclist to lose control over his or her vehicle, causing a severe accident. In such a situation, if a municipal body was careless in addressing this road issue in a timely manner, they may be considered to be at-fault for the accident.
- Lack of Visibility – because motorcycles are much smaller vehicles, other drivers often have much more difficulty seeing them. Whether hidden by a larger vehicle or partially concealed by inclement weather, this increased difficulty in seeing motorcyclists often causes devastating accidents. However, when these accidents are caused by another person not properly checking their surroundings, that party can possibly be held liable.
- Lack of Protection – the lack of a surrounding metal shell around motorcyclists, something which all other drivers have, can both cause accidents to occur and intensify the effects of accidents. Something which would be a minor bump between other vehicles or a small fender bender could become a major accident that causes a motorcyclist severe injuries. Thus, when drivers fail to take extra precautions when driving near motorcycles, they could be responsible for causing a serious accident.
Despite these and other unique problems or potential issues that motorcyclists face on the road, driving a motorcycle shouldn’t have to be dangerous. Unfortunately, other drivers often make this the case for motorcyclists, even the most prepared and skilled ones.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abby Pearson is a legal blogger with Sennett Law from New York City.