Motorcycles are fun to ride, particularly in Southern California where we have bright, sunny, warm weather year-round. However, riding a motorcycle comes with certain risks and dangers. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle wrongful deaths occurred 27 times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles, based on 2014 fatal crash data. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reported that in 2015, 4,868 motorcyclists lost their lives on U.S. roadways.
Thousands of people are injured each year in motorcycle accidents nationwide. However, a number of myths about motorcycle accidents still persist. Here are some of the most common motorcycle accident myths we thought we should explain and debunk.
Myth 1: The motorcyclist is always at fault in a crash.
This is absolutely not true. In fact our Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys routinely handle a number of cases where a number of factors are to blame other than the motorcyclist. We see motorists who make unsafe left turns or make dangerous maneuvers causing the crash. Dangerous conditions on the roadway such as roadway debris, uneven pavement, and potholes cause a number of motorcycle accidents as well. In addition, defective motorcycle parts can also lead to devastating accidents. This is why it is important to conduct a thorough investigation into what caused the crash so the at-fault parties can be held accountable.
Myth 2: Lane splitting by motorcyclists is dangerous and illegal.
Lane splitting is not illegal in California. The term “lane splitting” sometimes known as “lane sharing, filtering, or white-lining refers to the process of a motorcyclist riding between lanes of stopped or slower moving traffic or moving between lanes to the front of traffic stopped at a traffic light. Last year, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making it legal in California for motorcyclists to split lanes. The California Highway Patrol on its website has listed a number of safety guidelines for motorcyclists to safely practice lane splitting.
Myth 3: Motorcycles suddenly appear out of nowhere.
This is a ridiculous statement. Motorcycles don't come out of nowhere. They are always present on our roadways. But drivers often forget that they share the road with them. When they change lanes or make a turn, drivers are not consciously looking out for motorcyclists. This is why law enforcement officials in California have an annual campaign to remind drivers that they share the road with motorcyclists and that they should look out for them while making lane changes and turns, which is when a number of motorcycle accidents occur.
Myth 4: Motorcyclists are natural risk-takers and live for danger.
Once again, not true. Our motorcycle accident lawyers see a number of injured clients who do everything in their power to ensure that they are safe out there. They wear long pants, leather jackets, boots, safety goggles, and helmets. Motorcyclists evoke the image of tattooed tough guys when the fact is that the majority of motorcyclists are people just like you and me. They are teachers, software engineers, doctors, lawyers, and professionals. People of all ages enjoy riding motorcycles in California. It is important that we get rid of these dangerous stereotypes.
Myth 5: If you were partially at fault for the accident, you can't seek any compensation.
Under California law, victims of auto accidents can seek compensation for injuries, damages and losses sustained. If you are a motorcyclist who was partially at fault for an accident, you may still be eligible to seek compensation. Depending on the degree of fault on your part, you may still receive monetary support for medical expenses and other losses.
Myth 6: Riding on surface streets is safer than riding on the freeway
Once again, this is wrong. City streets in fact tend to present more risks and dangers to riders than do freeways. For example, when riding on surface streets, motorcyclists must deal with intersections where motorists often fail to see motorcyclists or yield the right of way to them. By contrast, when you are riding on the freeway, all motorists go at relatively the same speed and the flow of traffic is relatively consistent, which all present fewer risks to riders. Regardless of where they are, both motorcyclists and motorists need to pay attention and be vigilant at all times.
Myth 7: I can count on my insurance company to take care of everything.
It is important to remember at all times that the insurance company is not your friend. Like all corporations, their motive is profit. And the way they make those profits is by limiting what they pay you, the policyholder. So, even if you've sincerely paid your motorcycle insurance premiums each month, you need an experienced motorcycle lawyer on your side who will fight for your rights and help ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your losses.
Myth 8: Hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer will cost me an arm and a leg.
Wrong again! Most personal injury attorneys, including our experienced Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Timothy J. Ryan & Associates work on a contingency fee basis. This means they don't charge a fee unless they have recovered compensation for you. In the aftermath of an accident, you are probably eager to recuperate and get back to the life you had before your accident.
Your lawyer can help compile evidence and all the information that is needed to file your motorcycle accident claim and make your case to the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you need an attorney who has the experience to take the case to a trial and present your case before a jury.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need to make sure that you've filed a police report, that you get prompt medical attention for your injuries, collect as much evidence as possible from the accident scene and contact an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Do not repair your motorcycle until an expert has had a chance to thoroughly examine it for all evidence including defective parts. Contact our law offices at (800) 838-6644 to schedule a free consultation and comprehensive case evaluation.