The topic of motorcycle accidents and safety is a hot topic for bikers and their folks. Unfortunately, there is hardly a week without a crash-related death, and hospitals treat injured bikers daily. Moreover, the law does not fully protect bikers suffering from bodily injuries due to another driver’s negligence because such injuries tend to be extensive and costly to address medically. This article highlights some of the issues at hand.
Since motorcyclists don’t have the protection afforded by a steel frame, they’re more vulnerable to serious injury than other drivers. That’s why it’s vital for motorcycle riders to be proactive and make sure other drivers can see them. This is called defensive driving, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) teaches a 2-day course on the topic. Unfortunately, too few bikers select to follow this course which is not mandated by State law.
In Arizona, the biggest bike rally of the year is Arizona Bike Week. The event draws thousands of motorcyclists every year, and recent events have served as a sore reminder of the devastation caused by motorcycle accidents.
Arizona Bike Week
In 2015, Arizona Bike Week was held between March 25th and 29th, with most events taking place in Scottsdale and elsewhere in the Phoenix area. The week-long celebration bills itself as the “fastest growing rally in the country.” According to the Scottsdale Police Department, seven motorcycle accidents having occurred during that week could be directly attributed to Bike Week, including the deaths of two participants.
Motorcyclists are responsible for their own safety. The MSF strongly recommends that they wear helmets and other safety gear to be protected in the event of a crash. Arizona State law does not mandate wearing a helmet, though there is a proven direct connection between helmets and chances of survival during a crash. Many bikers select not to wear one, on account of “freedom of choice” or heat or some other excuse. In view of the dire outcomes of crashes without helmets, there is in our opinion every reason to follow the recommendations of the MSF.
Motorcyclists must also make themselves visible to passenger vehicles (e.g. by wearing bright colors, adding lights on their bikes, using garments with fluorescent patches at night, etc.). Safe riding techniques also include making predictable movements (i.e. no sudden unwarranted swerving or change of lane, no wheelies, etc).
That said, in many circumstances bikers are not at fault in a crash, and the car drivers are. In the case of the two Bike Week participants who lost their lives in 2015, they were allegedly told to disregard red lights during a charity ride, and as a result got into a deadly accident at an intersection. A very large percentage of serious crashes occur with incoming traffic (cars) turning left at an intersection and not paying attention or not seeing bikers coming their way on the opposite side of the road.
Any motorcyclist involved in an auto accident deserves to have the circumstances of the accident thoroughly examined by a personal injury attorney. The attorney may be able to identify driver negligence and help the victim obtain compensation for damages. Victims may be able to sue for medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages. Wrongful death suits can be filed when circumstances dictate. A good personal injury attorney will look into the facts of the police report, investigate further, and give their clients proper recommendations to pursue the best course of action to get compensation for the bodily harm and property damage incurred.
If you are the victim in a motorcycle accident or any other kind of auto accident, call the Hameroff Law Group at (520) 792-4700. We’re dedicated to helping Tucson residents stand up to negligent drivers and receive fair compensation for their injuries.