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Motorcycle Accidents

Cycling is not just a way of getting from one place to another. It encompasses a lifestyle, a means of transportation, and a favorite pastime all at once. HHJ Trial Attorneys is a group of legal specialists and personal injury attorneys with a deep understanding of the cycling culture. Being well-versed in the joys and dangers of the open road, we are the ideal source of legal counsel and representation for all motorcyclists in California.

Regardless of the type of personal injury you have sustained from a motorcycle accident, our team of motorcycle accident attorneys in San Diego are highly familiar with the aftermath of such incidents and the medical procedures that may be necessary. We understand the effect that this interruption can have on daily life and always prioritize getting you back to normal as soon as possible while shielding you from the added stress of pursuing a legal claim.

Discovering California’s Open Roads

California offers some of the best roads for motorcycling in the country, making it a popular destination for avid bikers. With its scenic coastline, winding roads, and breathtaking views, the state is the ideal setting for a motorcycle adventure, whether solo or with a group. Commuting by motorcycle is also a popular choice, especially in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco where traffic during rush hour can be congested. California’s lane splitting laws allow motorcycles to bypass slow-moving traffic, making the commute more enjoyable.

Despite the high number of registered motorcycles in California, the state also sees a significant number of motorcycle accidents. In fact, California had the second-highest number of motorcycle fatalities in the country. Despite a decrease in fatalities from other road traffic accidents, motorcycle accident deaths have been on the rise.

Motorcyclists in the USA are up to 27 times more likely to die in traffic crashes than those traveling in other vehicles. In 2016, 576 motorcyclists were killed in California compared to 1,357 people in passenger cars, making motorcycle drivers overrepresented in fatality statistics. This highlights the importance of extra caution for motorcyclists when sharing the road with other vehicles.

Riding with Caution: Factors that Can Increase the Risk of Motorcycle Accidents

Many factors can contribute to motorcycle accidents, even when a motorcyclist follows all recommended safe road practices. Unfortunately, other drivers on the road may not always be paying attention, despite the motorcyclist’s best efforts to be prepared. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

Excessive Speed

Adhering to the speed limit is crucial for safety and legality. Exceeding the speed limit can weaken your legal case in an accident involving injury. Higher speeds increase the likelihood and severity of accidents, reducing reaction time to potential dangers. Two-wheeled motorcycles are more susceptible to accidents due to their lack of balance, so it is advisable to brake steadily using both brakes and avoid excessive speed.

Poor Road Conditions

Potholes are a persistent problem for all road users, but they can be especially dangerous for motorcyclists. Unlike cars, which have three other wheels to support them if one wheel hits a pothole, a motorcycle can easily be thrown off balance by even a seemingly small one. Additionally, debris in the road, such as litter or tire fragments, can pose a risk. As most vehicles have an even number of wheels, the debris is usually pushed to the center of the lane by the wheels of cars and trucks, making it more hazardous for motorcyclists whose wheels are more likely to ride down the center of a lane. Therefore, it is crucial for motorcyclists to be vigilant for unexpected matter on the road.

Speed plays a major role in reducing the impact of shocks and collisions. If you are traveling at 30 miles per hour when you encounter debris, you have a greater chance of maintaining your balance compared to traveling at 70 miles per hour. However, it is often unavoidable to hit debris or potholes, especially when speed or vehicles in front of you limit your reaction time to these hazards.

Adverse Weather Conditions

The behavior of wheels on the road can be greatly impacted by weather conditions. While motorcyclists in California might believe that the state’s dry climate makes it a safe place to ride, the opposite is actually true. The lack of rain results in a buildup of oil on the roads, and when it does rain, the first liquid on the road is a slippery mixture of rainwater and oil. This makes California’s roads particularly hazardous in bad weather conditions. The NHTSA also warns that heavy rainfall can result in water on the road, leading to hydroplaning. This can occur at speeds as low as 30 miles per hour, causing tires to lose contact with the road surface and leading to a loss of control of the vehicle due to a lack of traction.

Limited Visibility

Visibility is a significant concern among motorcyclists. Although some riders prefer the sleek and simple appearance of a black motorcycle and understated gear, this style can be difficult for other drivers to spot when checking their mirrors, especially during low-light conditions or when visibility is reduced.

There are numerous ways to enhance your visibility on the road, from riding a bright-colored bike, wearing reflective yellow clothing, using a brightly colored helmet, adding reflective tape to your wheels and panniers, or installing additional lights on your motorcycle.

With increasing wildfires in California, reduced visibility due to smoke particles in the air is another road hazard to keep in mind. Smaller vehicles such as motorcycles are more vulnerable to being overlooked in poor visibility conditions compared to large commercial trucks. It is crucial to wear reflective clothing and turn on your lights when riding in such conditions.

Rider Error, Such as Failing to Obey Traffic Signals

Errors can occur, especially when navigating crowded roads with multiple lanes. Keeping track of all the road signs can be challenging, especially when you’re focusing on figuring out how to handle the three lanes of heavy traffic ahead, with some impulsive drivers making sudden moves with limited warning and space. It’s easy to overlook a sign, forget to use your turn signals, or unintentionally exceed the speed limit.

Motorcycles Face Additional Difficulties in Avoiding Dangerous Situations on the Road

A car merging onto the highway in an unsafe manner can create numerous hazards that unfold rapidly, with multiple cars changing lanes quickly and causing additional dangers. Due to the tendency for motorcyclists to be overlooked, a cursory glance in the rearview mirror before changing lanes may not be enough. A sudden brake can cause the motorcyclist’s weight to shift onto the front wheel, making it difficult to regain balance.

Operating Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious and dangerous offense, not to mention illegal. Unfortunately, there are still individuals who engage in this behavior and in 2015, it resulted in 10,265 deaths in the US. Detecting a driver under the influence can be difficult until it’s too late, so if you encounter a vehicle acting abnormally and putting others at risk, it’s best to maintain a safe distance for your own protection. Keep an eye out for indirect impacts, such as other vehicles having to swerve to avoid a collision with the intoxicated driver. These evasive actions can often lead to accidents, putting motorcyclists at greater risk of severe consequences.

What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident

Injuries from motorcycle accidents can range in severity. Your main goal should be to heal and regain your quality of life as soon as possible.

After a motorcycle accident:

  1. Prioritize your safety: move out of harm’s way and away from oncoming traffic.
  2. Call emergency services: The police should be called, and an ambulance may also be necessary.
  3. Provide an accurate statement: Give a clear account of what happened to the police, avoiding speculation and fault.

What’s Next

Our team of seasoned attorneys and bikers is here to provide you with free, unbiased advice and support, helping you regain your quality of life. Navigating lawsuits can be overwhelming and lengthy, but with our expertise, we’ll make the process as seamless as possible. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation, whether by phone, video call, or in-person, and let’s discuss your case and get started.

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