Riders prefer motorcycles due to their maneuverability and sense of freedom. Motorcyclists with experience know the importance of safety as well. They need to follow state-specific laws and wear protective clothing.
Some people show interest in riding a motorcycle around the city or on trips. However, they wonder if a bike can be safe among larger vehicles. A person might worry about losing work while they recover from an accident. Multiple unexpected factors may appear and lead to life-altering injuries. If your interested in determining if you already have a claim speaking with a motorcycle accident lawyer can help you assess your situation.
Common Types of Motorcycles
Over 8.57 million registered motorcycles exist in the United States. A person might see different versions of a motorcycle in town or on the highway. A few types operate in off-road areas.
The bikes you might see on the street occasionally are:
- Standard. A standard motorcycle is common among riders. The versatile design is simple, and people can attach luggage and a different seat. The seat height is about average, and the engine size dramatically varies. Riders of any skill level can safely operate a standard bike.
- Sportbike. The motorcycle is suitable for people who want speed and agility. Sportbikes weigh less than other categories to improve maneuverability. The seat is higher than average to allow the rider to lean forward. Usually, experienced motorcyclists operate a sportbike.
- Cruiser. Some people get a cruiser for commuting and weekend riding. The seat height is lower, so people can lean back. Additionally, engine sizes vary based on the model. New and experienced motorcyclists might use a cruiser around the city.
- Touring. A touring motorcycle is larger compared to other types of bikes. The engines allow people to use them on the highway, and a person can store plenty of gear. A touring motorcycle is beneficial for long periods on the road. The vehicle is suitable for riders who have some experience.
Regardless of the type of motorcycle, a person’s primary concern is safety.
Safety Features on a Motorcycle
Anti-Lock Braking Systems
While a motorcycle does not have a crumple zone, the overall design has improved rider safety over the years. Manufacturers have implemented features to decrease the potential for bodily harm and property damage. One feature is the anti-lock braking system.
A concern among riders is when the wheel locks up when applying the brake. Anti-lock braking systems stop the issue from occurring. They help prevent skidding and drifting as well. Some motorcycles equip cornering ABS, and the feature keeps the bike stable during tight turns.
Automatic Clutch and Gear Shift
Motorcycles usually require the person to use a clutch and shift gears. New riders may struggle with operating a bike if they are used to automatic cars. The lack of experience can lead to a higher risk of an incident. They could make a mistake while they are on the road.
A few companies have implemented an automatic clutch and shift system. Newer riders do not have to take time to learn how to shift gears. They can feel less anxious around other vehicles.
Acceleration on muddy or wet roads can make a motorcycle feel less stable. The reason is the minimal friction between the roadway and the wheels. A person could fall off their bike, especially during a turn. Newer motorcycles have traction control to improve traction in various terrains.
The system uses sensors to know when to control power to the rear wheel. The motorcycle can utilize traction better on slippery surfaces. Due to efficiency, some riders remain unaware of when traction control takes effect.
Since motorcycles have a limited size, headlights are a concern. The light might not be bright enough to enable riders to see at night. Other drivers may not notice someone from a safe distance, and a collision could occur. The low beams make corners risky in the dark.
A person can buy a motorcycle with adaptive headlights. Adaptive headlights provide enough light to illuminate dark corners. The feature uses electronic sensors to shine in the direction you go instead of straight ahead. The computer can dim the lights to avoid blinding oncoming drivers.
What Do Motorcyclists Wear for Safety?
Like driving, motorcycling comes with various risks. As a result, people buy protective gear to keep them safe on the road. An individual can use knee and elbow pads, gloves, a helmet, a jacket, and manufacturers make pants suitable for motorcycling.
Many states require motorcyclists to wear a helmet, but a few do not. Helmets reduce the impact of a blow to the head. A person is less likely to experience a traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle accident. Different options are available to motorcyclists.
The safest choice is a full-face helmet. The headgear comes with a chin bar and a visor to protect the chin and face from scratches and cuts. Studies revealed how a rider has a significantly reduced chance of a head or face injury.
Open-face helmets keep the top and sides of the head safe but lack proper face protection. A modular helmet is similar to its full-face counterpart but weighs less. People consider modular helmets to be a mix of full-face and open-face.
Many motorcycle users also use jackets for an added layer of protection. This can prevent cold weather from hurting your ability to operate a motorcycle. Thick jackets may protect against abrasions. Some synthetic material is more resistant than leather to friction and heat.
Some options come with a bit of padding on the elbows and forearms. Black is a familiar color among motorcycle jackets. However, a lighter color is more effective at night. The material should increase reflection to make other drivers see the rider in the dark.
Some people do not realize how much protection a pair of gloves gives them. During an accident, a rider is likely to use their hands to catch themselves if they fall. Proper gloves lower the risk of severe abrasions.
Several options offer additional padding on the fingers, knuckles, and the back of the hands. Gloves can protect the hands from the weather and keep the wrists safe. Shapes and sizes vary, and some features benefit a person more than others.
Despite the protective clothing, a person can still sustain acute injuries in a motorcycle accident. If negligence lies with the other party, you can get compensation.
Does Motorcycle Gear Have Requirements?
Before a company can put its helmets on a store shelf, it needs to obtain a certification for the products. Motorcycle helmets have to meet specific standards. One set of requirements comes from the Department of Transportation. People refer to the standards as Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard #218.
A company must test its helmets for energy absorption from impact, penetration resistance, and retention system effectiveness. Additionally, a motorcycle helmet should have at least 105 degrees of peripheral vision. When a helmet reaches the store, it should show a DOT label.
Alternatively, a helmet can pass the Snell standard. Testing is completely optional, but officials recognize Snell as valid certification. The company checks for adequate peripheral vision, penetration resistance, and impact absorption.
Additionally, full-face helmets receive a test for the strength of their chin bars. The Snell standard checks for face shield durability against penetrative objects. Helmets undergo flame resistance tests as well.
Other pieces of motorcycle body armor receive certification under the EN 1621-1 CE standard. You might see a chest, knee, or elbow protector with a safety rating of Level 1 or Level 2.
Laws for Motorcycles
Motorcycles typically have to follow the same traffic rules as other vehicles. Nevertheless, every state has specific laws for motorcycles. Usually, no one can operate the two-wheeled vehicle if they are under 15 or 16 years old. A person needs a Class M license, but a state may consider a Class E valid.
Most places prohibit the practice of lane splitting because of the risks of an accident. The maneuver is when someone rides in between two lanes of vehicles. However, a couple of states allow motorcycles to lane-split in slow traffic.
Other rules include handlebar height and mirror requirements. You might live in a state where the law requires riders to use protective eyewear. The wind, bugs, and debris can impact a person’s ability to operate a motorcycle safely. A motorcycle may need a muffler or brakes on the front and back wheels.
Motorcyclists usually have to buy insurance. They need to carry a minimum amount of bodily injury and property damage protection for each person and accident. The amount varies based on where a person resides. Most states require proof of insurance when you register a motorcycle.
Who Is Responsible for a Collision?
Many reported motorcycle accidents are due to negligence from another driver. A car or truck driver might have disobeyed a traffic law or was inattentive. They need to exercise more caution since motorcycles are less visible to them. A motorist’s inaction can lead to a crash as well.
The owner of the vehicle could have been a government employee. If the person acted while on duty, you could hold the government liable. Another way a department was negligent is if the road was in poor condition. Significant potholes and cracks pose a danger for motorcycles.
Riders can lose control and hit the pavement or another vehicle. A state might have statutes on proceeding with a claim against an agency.
A Motorcycle Manufacturer
A parts manufacturer is another possible at-fault party in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. An error on the road becomes hazardous. The anti-lock braking system could have malfunctioned, or the engine experienced mechanical issues.
Causes of a Motorcycle Accident
The actions of other drivers can have harmful effects on motorcyclists. They must take reasonable measures to prevent a collision. Still, a rider could end up in an accident for different reasons.
Contributing factors include:
- Speeding. Many drivers go a few miles above the speed limit. Excessive speeds mean a person must be farther away from the vehicle in front. Motorists need enough time to slow down. A car could collide with a motorcycle from behind during a stop.
- Road rage. Impatience is common among motorists, and traffic worsens the feeling. A driver might become frustrated and behave aggressively. Some people honk excessively, but others drive eccentrically. Frequent unsafe lane changes raise the potential of a crash.
- Blind spots. When a motorcyclist gets close to the side of a car, they enter the vehicle’s blind spot. Drivers need to check the areas they do not see in the mirror before a lane change. If they do not, they are liable for damages from an accident.
- Failure to yield. When someone makes a left turn, they must yield to approaching traffic. If the driver disregards or misjudges the distance, they could cause a collision. Many riders experience severe injuries as a result.
You could take legal action if another vehicle caused bodily harm or property damage.