There are a number of reasons why motorcycle accidents occur. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that a significant number of major injury or fatal motorcycle accidents occur because motorists' negligent behavior, be it failing to see motorcyclists, driving under the influence or while distracted, or not yielding the right of way to oncoming motorcyclists.
Regardless of what the cause of your motorcycle accident was, it is important that you seek the counsel of an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can help you better understand your legal rights. Understanding the most common causes of motorcycle accidents can help determine fault and liability in motorcycle accident cases.
Here are the five most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
According to NHTSA, 42% of fatal motorcycle crashes that involved another motor vehicle involved a vehicle turning left while the motorcycle was going straight, passing or overtaking a vehicle. There are things motorists can do to better their odds of avoiding a motorcycle crash at an intersection.
One important step is to take a little extra time to use their rear- and side-view mirrors to make sure no one is in blind spots. Motorists turning at street intersections whose view of oncoming traffic is partially obstructed should wait until they can see around the obstruction, scan for all roadway users including pedestrians and motorcyclists, and proceed with caution.
Motorists' Failure to See Motorcycles
This is one of the most common causes we hear about in motorcycle versus vehicle collisions. The driver of the other vehicle says he or she “did not see the motorcycle coming.” In fact, NHTSA's research shows 41% of all motorcycle crashes involve drivers who did not see motorcyclists in time to avoid a collision. Here are some things for motorists to remember when it comes to avoiding motorcycle accidents:
- Be extra alert when there is bright sun because it can be more difficult to spot approaching motorcycles.
- Keep an eye out for motorcycles in the fog and rain when visibility is hampered.
- Be vigilant in heavy traffic, which could also make it more challenging to spot motorcycles.
- Be more careful in terrain where motorcycles can be hidden by bends in the road.
- Construction equipment could also potentially block your view of motorcycles. So, proceed with caution in construction zones.
Excessive or Unsafe SpeedThere are a number of California motorcycle laws that are important to riders. One such is excessive speed. Driving above the posted speed limit or driving at a speed that is unsafe given the roadway, weather or traffic conditions is one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. Motorists may exceed the posted speed limit because of traffic congestion, because they are running behind schedule or simply due to recklessness. With higher speed, there is the added risk of losing control and being unable to brake in time to avoid a collision. Speeding increases crash risk as well the likelihood of catastrophic or fatal motorcycle accidents.
California laws prohibit motorists from traveling at an unsafe speed or driving at a speed that is unsafe given the present conditions. Therefore, speeding amounts to negligence (carelessness) in the context of a motorcycle accident. High-speed motorcycle versus vehicle collisions could result in permanent injuries that could lead to lifelong disabilities, or even death.
Unsafe Lane Maneuvers
When drivers fail to signal before switching lanes or fail to check their blind spots for motorcyclists nearby, there is an increased risk of a major injury motorcycle accident. Such maneuvers can also result in a motorcyclist being struck by another vehicle if they try to get out of the way of a vehicle that is making an unsafe lane change. This danger increases if a motorcyclist is splitting lanes, which is legal under California law. Motorists are required to exercise due care before they make a lane change and look out for all vehicles including motorcyclists.
Driving Under the Influence
When a motorist operates under the influence of alcohol, it leaves everyone on the road vulnerable, particularly motorcyclists. Operating with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher is illegal under California law. It is also against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs such as marijuana or other illicit drugs as well as prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs that can cause drowsiness and impair motor function or cognitive abilities.
How Can a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Help?
Our experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers will work diligently to fight for your rights every step of the way and help you secure maximum compensation for your losses. Depending on the cause of your motorcycle collision and who is at fault, you may be able to seek and obtain compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitative therapy, permanent injuries, disabilities, pain and suffering and emotional distress. Call the Vaziri Law Group to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.