It is ironic that the very reason for riding a motorcycle can be so exhilarating is also the reason motorcycle accidents can be so disastrous. For it is your freedom from a car’s “cage” that makes you so vulnerable in an accident.
How motorcycle accidents happen
According to studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 75% of all motorcycle accidents and 50% of fatal accidents, involve two vehicles. The second is usually a car, and the motorcyclist almost always fares worse.
Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in NYC
Head-on crashes are common. In fact, they account for more than 50 percent of motorcycle fatalities. These crashes often involve a car and a motorcycle. With the front of the motorcycle bearing the brunt of the impact, the rider is likely to be killed in such a crash.
Half of all motorcycle crashes involve speed or alcohol. Motorcycles can go very fast—sometimes in excess of 150 mph— and many riders do not know how to control their bike at such speeds. Alcohol use is a problem for all motorists, but alcohol use combined with a motorcycle can be especially dangerous. These crashes can cause serious injuries.
Left-hand turn crashes are also common. These often occur when a motorcycle is passing a vehicle or traveling straight through an intersection. These accidents are due to the motorcycle’s small size. They are much smaller than passenger vehicles and therefore harder to see.
Crashes involving road hazards are also common. A motorcycle can easily lose control when riding over a pothole, on slippery roads, or roads covered in sticks and debris. Animals on the road and roadkill can also cause crashes.
About 25 percent of motorcycle crashes involve hitting fixed objects. This may include cars, poles, or buildings. Such crashes can eject the riders, especially at high speeds. This can lead to head trauma, brain injuries, and back and neck injuries. Helmet use can help, but may not prevent all injuries.
Lane splitting can also lead to accidents. This practice, which is legal only in California, is when the motorcyclist drives between two lanes of a roadway. This is often done in traffic when cars are at a standstill. Because the motorcycle is sandwiched in between two lanes of vehicles, and drivers often do not expect a motorcycle to come whizzing by them in traffic, crashes tend to happen.
The high cost of motorcycle accidents
In most cases, it is the front of the motorcycle that is hit. This is also the point of impact that results in the most fatal injuries. If you have been in a motorcycle accident, you may already have a good idea of its cost, including physical and emotional pain, expensive medical bills, lost wages, and property damage.
Fault can be a complicated question to which you, the other driver, police and emergency responders, and insurance companies do not agree. It is even further complicated if there were equipment failures, poor road conditions, public vehicles, or obstacles involved.
A Long Island Motorcycle Accident Attorney can help prepare your strongest arguments, and may even retain a private investigator to help build your case. But you must act quickly. The insurance companies will want to settle as quickly as they can. They will not want to wait to discover that you have long-term medical and disability issues. To them, it’s just business. To you, it is your future. Do not agree to any settlement without talking to an attorney.
An experienced motorcycle accident attorney can help you:
- Understand your legal options
- Conduct an investigation into the accident
- Challenge the police report’s findings
- Help prevent insurance companies from settling too soon
- Ensure that your long-term medical, psychological and financial needs are identified
- Fight for compensation
- Recovering from a motorcycle accident can be a long, hard road. And it is a road you should not head down alone.
Motorcycle Fatalities in Long Island
The fact of the matter is that while motorcycles account for only three percent of the vehicles on the road, they comprise roughly 20 percent of the fatalities. In a single year (2015), more than 600 individuals lost their lives while riding a motorcycle. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal motorcycle collisions come down to three key factors:
- Impaired driving; and
- Failure to wear a helmet.
New York Motorcycle Law
In New York, laws are on the books to protect motorcyclists. Every rider is required to:
- Wear an approved helmet;
- Wear approved protective eyewear;
- Use headlights, even in daylight; and
- Have helmet speakers in only one ear.
Passengers must have a seat and footrest, in addition to following the other rules for riders.
Visibility Issues on Long Island Motorcycles
Because motorcycles are so small and nimble, they are much less visible. Safety experts recommend a number of strategies to ensure a safe ride:
- Make sure you’re on a bike that you can handle. If it’s too powerful or too large for you, it could result in problems;
- Wear protective gear such as a helmet, gloves, boots, and other leather gear;
- Steer clear of drivers’ blind spots;
- Maintain a safe distance from other vehicles on the road;
- Increase visibility by using headlights and wearing reflective clothing at night;
- Use signals and give yourself ample room before changing lanes;
- Keep an eye out for road hazards and drive defensively;
- Try to avoid riding when weather conditions are dangerous;
- Keep your bike in good working condition;
- Follow all posted speed limits; and
- Avoid riding between lanes in order to bypass traffic.
Long Island Motorcycle Safety Tips
- Ride a motorcycle that fits you. Many people prefer high-performance bikes, but they are often smaller and harder to control, causing fatal accidents.
- Wear appropriate gear. Besides a helmet and face goggles, consider motorcycle jackets, boots, and gloves to protect your other body parts in the event of a crash.
- Turn on your headlights. Motorcycles are hard to see because they are much smaller than passenger vehicles. Use headlights, even during the day, to make yourself easily seen by others.
- Make sure your bike has antilock brakes. These can provide you with better control should you have to stop suddenly.
- Drive defensively. Half of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections. Be especially cautious when at an intersection.
- Watch for hazards. Potholes, gravel, roadkill, puddles, oil slicks, and debris are more dangerous for motorcycles than passenger vehicles. Try to avoid these if possible to prevent skidding out or sliding.
- Don’t speed. Speed kills. The faster you go, the longer it takes to stop.
- Stay in your lane. Avoid weaving in and out of lanes or riding on the shoulder or sidewalk. Not only is lane splitting unsafe, but it is also illegal.
- Never drink and ride. Riding a motorcycle while intoxicated is even more dangerous than driving a car. Don’t ever do it. Call an Uber to get home safely.
- Take safety and refresher courses. Riding a motorcycle requires a lot of skill. New riders should take a safety course to learn to drive safely. More experienced riders should take refresher courses to stay current on their skills.
A Significant Problem for Long Island Motorcycles
There are more than six million motorcycles on the road across the country, When they are involved in collisions, there are serious injuries or deaths 80 percent of the time. As a motorcyclist, taking precautions and following laws can only protect you to a degree.
Other motorists on the road have to do their part, too. In the event you or a loved one has come up against a negligent or reckless driver that has led to hospitalization with serious injuries or death, the experienced legal team at the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC can help. Don’t let another day pass without scheduling a confidential consultation in order to discuss the legal options in your situation. Get The Falkowitz Long Firm working for you by calling 844-GET-GARY today.
Call the Falkowitz Law Firm today to help resolve your Long Island Motorcycle Case.