Motorcycles are a popular form of transportation on Long Island and around the United States. According to United States Department of Transportation, there were 8,454,939 registered motorcycles in the United States in 2012. In New York state, 345,627 motorcycles were registered in 2014 according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.
But riding a motorcycle presents inherit risks. Motorcycles must share the road with cars, big trucks, and other types of vehicles several times larger than a motorcycle. Unfortunately, some drivers do not appreciate the size and speed of motorcycles on the road. A dangerous and regrettably common type of motorcycle accident involves drivers making improper left-handed turns while a motorcyclist is going straight. Dangers are amplified when a driver is driving recklessly, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or disobeys traffic laws.
In addition to the dangers that other drivers possess, road condition also present a risk to motorcyclists. Since motorcycles are small in comparison to other types of vehicles using roads, as well as only having two wheels, pot holes and other road defects can seriously affect a motorcycle.
The Law Office of Stephanie G. Ovadia has handled numerous motorcycle accident cases. If you or a loved one is injured in a motor cycle accident, consider contacting Long Island lawyer Stephanie Ovadia. With more than three decades of legal experience and thousands of satisfied clients, Stephanie Ovadia may be able to help.
Motorcycle Accidents: An Overview
Ever since the first gas-engined motorcycle was invented in Germany by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach in 1885, the motorcycle continues to grow in popularity. Riding motorcycles has been glamorized in Hollywood for decades from the 1969 classic Easy Rider to more recent entries like Torque. Motorcycle enthusiasts have created many vibrant and long-standing motorcycle clubs, such as the American Motorcyclist Association in 1924 and the Women’s International Motorcycle Association in the 1950s.
Yet for as long as there have been motorcycles, there have been motorcycle accidents. According to the United States Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 4,957 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2012 alone. Another 93,000 motorcyclists were injured in that same year. In total, motorcyclists made up 15 percent of all traffic fatalities.
According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2013 there were 5,126 motorcycle operators involved in accidents in New York. Of the 5,216 accidents, 157 motorcycle operators were killed in New York as a result of motorcycle accidents.
A common concern motorcyclists have after an accident is what to do. Contrary to many people’s beliefs, in New York a motorcycle accident is not treated the same way as a motor vehicle accident. The reason is simple: New York’s No Fault law does not apply to motorcycles. This means that a motorcyclist may bring a legal claim against another party as a result of an accident without meeting the “serious injury” threshold required in motor vehicle accidents. In other words, a motorcyclist may sue for even minor injuries that would not sustain a lawsuit if brought by a person in a motor vehicle.
Common Factors in Motorcycle Accidents
According to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), there was 4,750 total motorcycles accidents in New York in 2014. Overall, the number of car accidents decreased from the prior year, which saw 5,216 motorcycle accidents. Many reasons exist as to why a motorcycle accident may occur. The following are some of the most common factors involved in car accidents in New York, based on DMV statistics for the year 2014.
Failure to Yield R.O.W. The most common factor in motorcycle accidents in New York. This factor contributed to approximately 18% of all motorcycle accidents in the state. Typically, this is the result of a driver’s failure to check blind spots before changing lanes, turning in front of a motorcyclist without a blinker, and/or running a motorcyclist off the road while making a turn. Over 90% of motorcycle accidents where this was a contributing factor resulted in personal injuries.
Unsafe Speed. A common cause of motorcycle accidents, as well as, truck accidents and car accidents, is speeding. Overall, speeding was a contributing factor in 17.6% of motorcycle accidents in 2014. While slightly less common of a factor in motorcycles accidents when compared to failing to the yield the right of way, driving at an unsafe speed resulted in more fatal motorcycle accidents.
Driver Inattention/Distraction.The third most common factor for a motorcycle accident in New York. In total, driver inattention or distraction is a factor in approximately 15% of all New York motorcycle accidents.
Following too Closely.The fourth most common factor in New York motorcycle accidents is following too closely. The act of following too closely to another vehicle, otherwise known as tailgating, may result in rear-end collisions. In cars, about half of these type of accidents result in personal injury. Motorcyclists, however, suffer personal injuries in more than 75% of these type of accidents.
Motorcycle Safety Tips
Although many motorcycle accidents are unavoidable, taking the proper safety precautions can help protect a person themselves. Some common motorcycle safety tips include the following:
Wear a helmet.The single most important thing a person can do as a safety precaution. Protect the head saves lives. According to the New York Department of Health, 1,829 motorcyclists across the nation were saved by wearing helmets in 2008. Plus, wearing a helmet (along with protective eye-wear) is the law in New York.
Wear protective clothing. Less obvious of a safety tip than wearing a helmet, but wearing protective clothing can help reduce the damage caused by a motorcycle crash. For example, gloves can help protect your skin in case of a motorcycle crash. As it is human nature to put one’s hands out to soften a fall, a good pair of leather gloves may lessen skin damaged caused when falling on roadways.
Learn. Riding takes a level of skill different than driving a car. Emergency braking, in particular, requires an amount of effort to learn as over-braking may result in a crash.
Don’t ride tired.
Slow down. Riding at unsafe speeds is the most fatal human contributing factor for motorcycle accidents in New York.
Wear bright colors.