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Motorcycle Accidents

Rochester Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Most riders are aware that riding a motorcycle is inherently riskier than driving a car. They rely on strong skills and sharp focus to help them stay safe on the road and better enjoy the ride. In fact, many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. If you have been hurt in such a crash, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for your injuries.

What Are the Facts About Motorcycle Accidents?

  • Per vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are nearly 29 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  • 5,579 motorcycle fatalities occurred in 2020, the most recent year for which statistics are available.
  • Motorcyclists accounted for 14% of all traffic fatalities in 2020, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
  • 84,000 motorcyclist injuries occurred in the U.S. in 2019, at an injury rate of 975 per 100,000 registered motorcycles, as stated by the Insurance Information Institute (III).

What Makes Motorcycles More Dangerous than Passenger Vehicles?

Motorcycle accidents are generally more dangerous and devastating than car accidents for several reasons, primarily due to the inherent differences between motorcycles and cars:

  • Lack of protection: Motorcyclists are much more exposed than car occupants. Cars have safety features such as seatbelts, airbags, and the structural integrity of the vehicle to protect occupants in a collision. In contrast, motorcyclists have little to no protection, and they are more likely to be ejected from their bikes upon impact.

  • Size and visibility: Motorcycles are smaller and less visible on the road compared to cars, making them more susceptible to being overlooked by other drivers. This can lead to accidents caused by drivers not seeing motorcycles, particularly at intersections or when changing lanes.

  • Balance and stability: Motorcycles are less stable than four-wheeled vehicles. The two-wheel design makes them more susceptible to losing balance, especially in adverse weather conditions, uneven road surfaces, or during sudden maneuvers.

  • Handling characteristics: Motorcycles have unique handling characteristics that require greater skill and experience to operate safely. Novice riders may struggle to navigate tight turns, sudden stops, or emergency maneuvers, which can lead to accidents.

  • High vulnerability: In a collision between a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist is much more vulnerable. They are more likely to suffer severe injuries, including head injuries, fractures, and abrasions, as they have limited physical protection.

  • Speed and acceleration: Motorcycles often have better acceleration and can reach higher speeds than many cars. While this can be appealing to riders, it also means that accidents at higher speeds can result in more severe injuries.

  • Road hazards: Motorcyclists are more susceptible to road hazards, such as potholes, debris, and slippery surfaces, which can lead to accidents or loss of control.

  • Riding conditions: Weather conditions can have a greater impact on motorcyclists. Rain, snow, or ice can significantly reduce traction, making it more challenging to maintain control of the motorcycle.

  • Inexperience: Novice motorcyclists are at higher risk of accidents, as riding a motorcycle requires specialized skills and experience that many new riders may not have.

  • Rider behavior: Some motorcyclists engage in riskier behavior, such as excessive speed, weaving through traffic, or not wearing proper safety gear (e.g., helmets, protective clothing). These behaviors increase the likelihood of accidents and the severity of injuries.

New York Motorcycle Laws

Motorcycle laws in New York are in place to regulate the operation of motorcycles, ensure rider safety, and reduce the risk of accidents. Here are some key motorcycle laws and regulations in the state of New York:

  • Helmet Law: New York has a mandatory helmet law. All motorcycle riders and passengers must wear DOT-approved helmets. The helmet must have a face shield or goggles unless the motorcycle is equipped with a windshield.

  • Eye Protection: In addition to helmets, riders must use protective eye gear, such as goggles or a face shield, unless the motorcycle has a windshield.

  • License Requirements: To operate a motorcycle in New York, you must have a valid Class M or MJ driver's license. You can obtain this license by passing a written test, a motorcycle road test, or by completing an approved Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) training course.

  • Registration and Inspection: Motorcycles must be registered with the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and they are subject to regular safety inspections to ensure they meet the state's safety and emissions standards.

  • Equipment Requirements: Motorcycles must have proper safety equipment, including mirrors, lights, and a horn. Additionally, mufflers and exhaust systems must meet state noise level limits.

  • Lane Splitting: Lane splitting, or riding a motorcycle between lanes of traffic, is illegal in New York. Motorcycles must follow the same rules as other vehicles regarding lane usage.

  • Passenger Rules: Passengers are allowed on motorcycles, but the bike must be designed and equipped for two people. Passengers must also wear helmets and use protective eye gear.

  • Insurance: Motorcyclists must carry the same minimum liability insurance as other motor vehicle operators in New York. Insurance requirements can change, so it's essential to stay up to date with the latest regulations.

  • Noise Regulations: Excessive noise from a motorcycle's exhaust is regulated, and loud aftermarket exhaust systems that violate noise regulations may be subject to fines and penalties.

  • Alcohol and Drugs: New York has strict laws against driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is 0.08%. Penalties for DUI offenses can be severe.

  • Special Licensing for Three-Wheelers: Operators of three-wheeled motorcycles (trikes) may be required to obtain a "T" endorsement on their driver's license, which certifies their ability to operate three-wheeled motorcycles.

How Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen?

Many motorcycle accidents occur because of someone else’s negligence. Common causes include:

  • Unsafe lane changes: Drivers who fail to perform a head check and signal before switching lanes may collide with motorcycles in their blind spots.
  • Left turns at intersections: This is a leading cause of motorcycle accidents. A driver executing a left turn pulls directly into the path of an oncoming motorcycle traveling straight through the intersection on a green light.
  • Dooring: A crash can occur when a driver in a parked vehicle opens a car door in the path of an oncoming motorcycle.
  • Tailgating: Following too closely is dangerous driving behavior under any circumstances. When a passenger vehicle tailgates a motorcycle, it can have deadly consequences.
  • Distracted driving: Drivers who are texting, talking on the phone, checking social media, applying makeup, conversing with a passenger, or otherwise distracted are more likely to cause a collision with a motorcycle.
  • Impaired driving: Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Alcohol-impaired driving was involved in 34% of motorcycle fatalities in 2019, as reported by III.
  • Pulling out in front of a motorcycle: A driver traveling in the same direction as a motorcycle may pull out in front, cutting off the motorcyclist and causing a crash. Some drivers who are looking for larger vehicles simply fail to register a motorcycle in the roadway.

What Types of Injuries Do Motorcycle Accidents Cause?

Motorcyclists are vulnerable to serious injuries in a crash. Common motorcycle accidents injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Lower extremity injuries
  • Upper extremity injuries
  • Fractured bones
  • Disfiguring facial injuries
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Internal injuries
  • Road rash

When Should You Call a Lawyer?

Get prompt medical treatment for your injuries as your priority after a serious motorcycle accident. As soon as you are able, contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. The sooner you get legal representation, the sooner your attorney can investigate your accident and secure vital evidence to support your claim.

Our Rochester motorcycle accident lawyers at Horn Wright, LLP have been representing severely injured accident victims for decades. We know how to determine liability and how to prove it, and we are ready to take your case to court if necessary to get the compensation you deserve.

If you have been hurt in a motorcycle accident that was someone else’s fault, call us at (585) 245-0255 to find out how we can help.

What Sets Us Apart From The Rest?

Horn Wright, LLP is here to help you get the results you need with a team you can trust.

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  • Experienced Attorneys

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