With this year’s National Motorcycle Ride Day approaching on October 9th, make sure you’re taking steps to stay safe on the road by learning the top causes of crashes and what you can do to prevent getting injured while riding a motorcycle in New York.
If the worst happens and you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, consider contacting an attorney at Catalano Law for support. If the accident occurred as a result of someone else’s negligence, our Syracuse motorcycle accident lawyers can help ensure you receive proper compensation for your injuries.
Understanding the top causes of motorcycle accidents in New York can help you avoid becoming injured in a collision. Several of these causes of listed below.
Insufficient Training or Practice
Before you get on a motorcycle, make sure you know how to operate it safely. You need to learn more than how to start the engine, use the brakes, and signal for lane changes.
Practice riding at different times of day and in various environments. Before venturing onto busy highways, ensure you feel confident in your abilities and wear the proper protective gear.
Bad Weather or Low Visibility
You’re completely exposed to the elements while riding your motorcycle, with no protection from inclement weather like rain and wind. Your motorcycle will also handle differently on slick, wet roads than it does in dry, calm weather.
It’s harder to maintain control over your motorcycle in wet weather due to the possibility of hydroplaning. The rain also makes it harder for you to see while riding a motorcycle by fogging up the visor on your helmet and reducing your ability to see oncoming traffic and your surroundings. On foggy days or early morning rides, fog also impacts visibility, limiting the distance you can see in front of you.
You also need to be careful when you pass commercial trucks and RVs in poor weather conditions. These large vehicles cause air to change direction as you pass. You don’t want the shifting wind to throw your motorcycle off balance. Poor visibility can also make it more challenging for drivers of other vehicles to see you when passing.
Make sure you’re properly trained to ride safely in these conditions before hitting the road.
Riding Without a License
Surprisingly, many riders take their motorcycle on the road without being fully licensed. No license often equates to a lack of experience, increasing your chances of injury. However, it’s important to note that even if you are injured while riding unlicensed, you can still pursue legal action against a negligent driver with the help of a skilled Syracuse attorney.
Weaving Through Traffic
It’s tempting when traffic is backed up to just ride around stopped or slow-moving cars. This is called lane splitting, and it’s illegal in New York.
While your motorcycle may be small enough to do this, it’s not a safe practice because other drivers on the road are not expecting a motorcycle to come up around them. Drivers don’t think to check for weaving motorcycles before they make turns or switch lanes, increasing the likelihood of you being hit when you’re in somebody’s blind spot.
Manufacturing Errors and Other Defects
Sometimes errors are made during the manufacturing of motorcycles. A defect in your bike, the tires, helmet, or other equipment can cause an accident.
A defective tire can blow, causing your motorcycle to spin out of control. Your safety gear is meant to protect you in an accident, but it can fail or cause more harm if there are defects.
Inspect your motorcycle and gear before every ride to ensure it’s in good condition and stay up-to-date on any recalls from the manufacturers. If your injury or accident resulted from a defect, you could file a claim by speaking with a motorcycle accident attorney at our law firm.
Speeding not only increases your chances of getting into an accident, but it can mean that any injuries you sustain will probably be more severe.
Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable to injury and death from high speeds because they don’t have the body of a car to protect them, so they take the full force of the collision.
Motorcycles also don’t have seat belts, so motorcyclists are more likely to be thrown from their bikes and sustain more serious injuries in an accident. High speeds play a huge factor in serious and fatal motorcycle accidents across the state.
New York’s no-fault law protects the driver of a vehicle from the costs of an accident by making their own insurance pay for all of their accident-related expenses, like medical bills and lost earnings, regardless of who was at fault. But this law doesn’t cover motorcyclists.
Instead, motorcyclists are required to purchase liability insurance for when they are at fault for crashes, and their own insurance usually won’t pay for their own medical and repair bills even if they aren’t at fault.
New York’s Serious Injury Threshold policy prevents lawsuits against a negligent driver unless the victim sustains serious injuries from the accident. However, this law only applies to victims of car accidents, which means motorcyclists can file a claim even if their injuries without needing to prove that their injuries pass the legally defined “serious injury threshold.”
You can reduce your chance of injury from a motorcycle crash by being aware of the most common causes of accidents in New York and taking steps to ensure you’re properly licensed, trained, and protected when riding. But unfortunately, you can’t ensure that other people will always drive safe or respect your right to the road.
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault, you may need a lawyer to help you seek compensation. At Catalano Law, we understand New York accident laws and have extensive experience handling motorcycle accident cases. For more information or to request your complimentary consultation, contact us today.