Motorcycle accidents are all too common and frequently result in severe injuries or tragic deaths. Besides having to deal with trauma resulting from the accident itself, many motorcyclists find themselves being unfairly blamed for their injuries and property loss when another vehicle – typically a car – was involved. Yet an experienced motorcycle lawyer knows that the likely cause of a motorcycle accident was the carelessness or negligence of the automobile driver. In Los Angeles, motorcycle lawyers have identified the top five ways in which car drivers cause or contribute to accidents with motorcyclists.
1. Making left-hand turns in front of motorcyclists
Almost 42 percent of all motorcycle accidents are the result of car drivers making left-hand turns, typically because they failed to see the much smaller motorcycle continuing straight through the same intersection or in the process of passing when they decided to turn. Automobile drivers who are found to have made a turn without using their mirrors or turning their heads to check blind spots could be considered liable for the resulting collision with a motorcyclist who was obeying the laws of the road.
2. Distracted driving
All motor vehicle drivers should be paying attention to their surroundings, not reading text messages or answering their cellphones. All too often car drivers allow themselves to be lulled by the appearance of an open road into taking their eyes off it for “just a moment.” That moment is more than enough time to drift into the opposite lane and cause a head-on collision with a motorcycle, especially when both vehicles are traveling at freeway speeds. Sadly, that split-second distraction will likely critically injure the motorcyclist, who lacks the protection enjoyed by the automobile driver.
3. Alcohol- or drug-impaired driving
No one operating a vehicle should do so while impaired by alcohol or drug use. The number of Los Angeles motor vehicle accidents resulting from driving under the influence is eight percent higher than the national average, while the percentage of fatal accidents resulting from alcohol alone throughout Los Angeles county is a disturbing 26 percent. Drunk or drugged drivers are far more likely to wander into a motorcycle rider’s lane, change lanes without checking to see if a motorcyclist is in their blind spot, or react too slowly to avoid a collision with a motorcycle that stops or swerves suddenly to avoid a separate roadway hazard (e.g., an animal darting into the road).
4. Failure to share a lane with a motorcycle
California law neither allows nor prohibits lane splitting, which is when a motorcycle passes other motor vehicles going in the same direction in the same lane, usually due to a traffic jam where stopping and going becomes extremely difficult for the motorcyclist. While riders should always exercise caution, the law does not automatically absolve a car or truck driver who strikes a motorcyclist sharing their lane.
5. Improperly secured items falling off a motor vehicle
It doesn’t take much to cause an object to fly off a car, pickup or other motor vehicle when traveling at freeway speeds. All it takes to launch an inadequately secured item like a mattress, Christmas tree, or toolbox out of a larger motor vehicle and into the roadway is a pothole or even a gust of wind. These hazards can cause a serious accident for any other driver, but for a motorcycle rider, the outcome could be fatal.
Los Angeles motorcycle lawyers can help
Your best choice for a motorcycle lawyer is our Los Angeles law firm. We have proudly represented injured motorcycle riders for more than 30 years. To find out what we can do for you, please call 866-477-1011 or contact our office for a free initial consultation.