Study Helps Officials and Bikers Make Riding Safer
More than 35 years ago, Harry Hurt, a researcher at the University of Southern California, conducted an extensive study of nearly 4,000 motorcycle accidents in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. That study is still used today to teach motorcyclists about the potential risks on the road and the things they can do to make their time on the bike safer.
Some Basic Findings of the Hurt Study
Professor Hurt found that about three of every four motorcycle accidents involved a collision with another vehicle (almost always a passenger car), and the remainder were caused by a collision with some other object or loss of control of the bike. As a general rule, mechanical problems were not a meaningful factor in the accidents, accounting for less than 3% of the crashes.
Hurt found that, when the crash involved another vehicle, the driver of that vehicle was twice as likely to have violated posted right of way than the biker. The other driver was at fault in approximately 2/3rds of all motorcycle-car accidents, with the most common type of collision coming when an automobile operator makes a left turn into the path of a motorcyclist traveling straight. One of the most often-cited reasons for a collision involved the failure of the other driver to detect and recognize the presence of a motorcycle on the roadway.
In single bike accidents, the most frequent cause was operator error, usually the result of excessive speed, over-braking or taking a turn too wide.
Hurt found that the vast majority of motorcycle accidents happen on short trips along city streets, and that weather is rarely a factor in a motorcycle crash—about one in every 50 motorcycle crashes results from inclement weather.
Contact the Proven Personal Injury Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of combined experience to injured people in California, representing clients who have been hurt in any kind of motorcycle accident. To set up a confidential consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. Your initial interview is without cost or obligation.
Governor Brown Signs Bill to Remove Helmet Requirement
If you’ve joined the thousands of Californians who have embraced scooters as a way to get around town, there’s good news—you won’t be required anymore to bring along and wear one of those pesky helmets—at least, not after January 1, 2019, when the new law goes into effect.
On September 18, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed new legislation that waives the helmet requirement for anyone 18 and over operating a scooter in the state of California. Proponents of the bill say that, as a practical matter, it eliminates the requirement for virtually all scooter operators, as most dockless scooter companies don’t all minors to use their vehicles. Under the legislation, there are minimum requirements that apply throughout the state, but local communities still have the option to impose tougher restrictions.
Advocates for the bill called it a common-sense response to the unique factors that affect scooter rentals. Most medium-to-large cities in California have seen an influx of scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, making electric vehicles that can be picked up and dropped off at almost any location. Scooter enthusiasts say that, because the scooters cannot travel at high rates of speed, the risk of injury is significantly less. In addition, they contend that requiring riders to wear helmets dramatically reduced the inclination of customers to spontaneously opt for a scooter as means of transportation, as most folks don’t carry a helmet with them at all times.
The new law also includes another significant provision unrelated to the use of helmets. Under existing law, scooters were not allowed on roads with posted speed limits in excess of 25 miles per hour. Under the new law, that has been changed to 35 miles per hour.
Contact the Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys have more than 30 years of experience helping personal injury victims across California. We know that every fact situation is different. We’ll take the time to learn the details of your accident, so that we can tailor our efforts to get the results you want. Contact us by e-mail or call our office at 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney.
Go Digital to Enhance Your Riding Experience
It may not be something you immediately associate with riding a motorcycle—how you can be safer and have more fun using mobile apps on your phone or other device. But there are a number of useful mobile applications for bikers. Here are some of the best:
- Eat Sleep Ride—Pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? That’s the focus of this “all in one” motorcycle app. The developers of this great tool looked at all the different types of apps motorcyclists have been using over the last few years and worked to combine them in a single place. The app allows you to track, save and share rides and gives you a wealth of data, including average and top speed, elevation and lean angle. It also has a feature called “Crashlight,” which detects if you have been in an accident and sends an emergency message to pre-selected contacts, giving them your exact location.
- Best Biking Roads—If you’re looking for new places to ride, this is the ideal app, with nearly 10,000 routes recommended by other motorcyclists. Some even include photos and videos.
- RoadTrippers—This app helps you plan multi-day rides, with information about lodging, places to eat and local attractions. The app has more than one million points of interest.
- Waze—To help you anticipate potential road congestion or other problems, use Waze, which uses information provided by other drivers in real time to help you get to your destination as soon as possible.
- FuelLog—With this app, you can track not only miles per gallon, but also vehicle maintenance costs. The app will help you determine gas costs per ride, per month or per year, as well as total distance driven. FuelLog is available only for Android devices.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have more than 30 years of combined experience helping injured people in California, including men and women who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a private consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There is no charge for your first meeting.
Officials Act to Respond to Safety Issues
Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you’ve seen them on the roads in California—electric “dockless” scooters, a new form of transportation open to anyone with a smart phone. Unlike prior versions of the public scooter, which had to be returned to the pickup location when the user was done, the dockless scooter can be left anywhere. The unanticipated explosion in the availability and use of these vehicles has caught most California municipalities unprepared and many are now responding with new ordinances and regulations, primarily designed to promote the safe use of the “bikes,” as many riders have been seen on sidewalks, driving without helmets and traveling at high rates of speed in neighborhoods.
On September 4, the Los Angeles City Council implemented a new set of regulations for dockless scooters, limiting the total number of such vehicles in the entire city to 3,000, with the specific exception of two areas where pilot programs will be conducted. Council members said that the cap could be increased if dockless scooter companies agree to operate in specific disadvantaged communities in LA and the San Fernando Valley. The council also established a 15-mph speed limit and imposed several requirements on scooter companies, including:
- Mandatory removal of all scooters blocking sidewalks
- A minimum of $5 million in commercial general liability insurance
- Regular maintenance to ensure the scooters are in good working condition
- A 24 hour hotline so that citizens can report scooters that are not in compliance with the laws
San Francisco was one of the first municipalities in California to introduce new regulations governing dockless scooters, establishing regulations in May, 2018. Santa Monica has enacted measures to deal with dockless scooters, establishing a 16-month pilot program and imposing a ceiling of 750 such scooters in the city. San Diego officials are also contemplating measures to address safety concerns.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg—Experienced Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to personal injury victims throughout California. Our experience helps us understand that every situation is unique. We’ll listen carefully to learn exactly what happened to you, so that we can prepare and present the most compelling arguments to get the outcome you want. Contact our office by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to set up a free initial consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney.
In situations involving a “near collision,” where the wrongful act of another motorist causes you to take evasive action, there’s a big difference between the potential consequences when you’re on a motorcycle or an automobile. With an automobile, it’s much easier to maintain control of the vehicle and you’ll be protected by a few thousand pounds of steel. On a motorcycle, though, your only option may be to lay down the bike, putting you in direct contact with the roadway.
If you suffer injuries in a motorcycle accident where there was never any contact with another driver, can you still sue that person for injuries suffered? The answer is a clear “yes.”
Legal Responsibility for “No Contact” Motorcycle Accidents
There is no requirement that there be any actual contact between the at-fault party and a person injured in a motorcycle accident. Instead, a personal injury claim for losses sustained in a motorcycle accident will almost always be based on a legal theory of negligence. To successfully recover under a theory of negligence, you need to prove three things to a judge and/or jury:
- That the at-fault person breached his or her duty of care—Under the law as it has evolved, all persons must exercise “reasonable” care in all their daily endeavors, whether it’s driving a motor vehicle, maintaining real property, or designing or manufacturing a product. In a lawsuit, a jury will review the facts as supported by the evidence and make a determination of whether or not the defendant exercised an appropriate amount of care. If not, the jury will move on to the second element of negligence.
- The failure to exercise reasonable care “caused” an accident—Causation has two parts—actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause requires a showing that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause requires that the injured party show that the injuries sustained were reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the breach of the duty of care.
- There were actual losses—The plaintiff (the injured party) must also show that he or she suffered some actual loss, whether it’s property damage or personal injury. Personal injury can include lost wages and income, medical bills, loss of companionship or consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, our attorneys bring over 30 years of experience to injured people in California, including men and women who have been hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a private consultation, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There is no charge for your first meeting.
Awareness of Causes Can Help Keep You Safer on the Road
If you love to ride a motorcycle, there’s good news and bad news. The good news—the number of fatalities tied to motorcycle accidents went down in 2017—approximately 300 fewer deaths resulted from bike crashes. The bad news—it’s still pretty dangerous out there, as nearly 5,000 people lost their lives while riding motorcycles last year.
But there are ways that you can improve the odds and keep yourself safe on the roads. One of them is knowing the most common causes of motorcycle accidents:
- Head-on collisions—This is the single most frequent cause of a car-motorcycle collision. In fact, head-on collisions account for almost 80% of all car-bike wrecks. Compare that with 5%–the percentage of accidents caused when a motorist strikes a biker from behind. The message? Always keep your eyes on the road ahead of you and always be prepared to take evasive action if a motorist improperly fails to yield.
- Motorists making left turns—The left turn from another motorist is also a significant cause of bike accidents. It can happen in a number of situations—where you intend to drive through an intersection and the other motorist turns in front of you; where a motorist turns left without a turn signal while you are passing; or where a motorist turns left as you attempt to overtake. To avoid these types of accidents, be careful not to pass or overtake another vehicle near an intersection, and always pay attention to oncoming cars at an intersection.
- Accidents involving lane splitting—When you drive between lanes in slow traffic, there’s also an increased risk of collision.
- Road hazards—On a motorcycle, there’s much greater risk of loss of control if you hit a pothole or loose gravel.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we have fought to protect the rights of injured bikers in California for more than three decades. We know that every accident is different, so we’ll take the time to carefully learn the details of your case, so that we tailor our representation to get the outcome you want. Contact our office by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident attorney.
How to Make the Best Case for Full and Fair Compensation
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else’s carelessness or negligence, you have the right to sue for any losses you’ve suffered, from wages and income to unreimbursed medical expenses to loss of companionship and consortium and physical pain and suffering. But it’s rarely an open and shut case—you need compelling evidence to convince a judge and jury that the defendant acted unreasonably and that you suffered damages as a result.
There are a number of ways to gather the necessary evidence to prove your case:
- The testimony of witnesses—If there was anyone traveling with you or any bystanders who saw the accident, you’ll want to get sworn statements from them as soon as possible after the accident. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that their memories will fade, or that that they may die or move away. Your attorney can prepare an affidavit for a witness to sign, but your lawyer will also want to schedule a deposition, where a court reporter can document the testimony.
- Physical evidence—This can include photographs of the scene of the accident, skid marks, damage to vehicles or injuries suffered by anyone. Your lawyer will typically have a professional conduct a forensic inspection of the crash site.
- Expert testimony—It’s pretty common practice to retain an accident reconstruction expert, who can gather data from the crash and reconstruct exactly what happened. A good expert will be able to use existing data to determine speed of any vehicle, whether the vehicle operator applied brakes at all and whether vehicles stopped at lights or stop signs.
- Police reports—The police report can also provide valuable evidence.
Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg
Contact our office by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to schedule an appointment with an experienced California motorcycle accident lawyer. We have protected the rights of injured bikers in California for more than 30 years. We know that every accident has unique circumstances. We carefully investigate the facts and circumstances of your accident, so that we can aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for your injuries.
California has one of the strictest helmet laws in the country. The statute not only requires that all motorcycle operators wear a helmet, but mandates that passengers do as well. In fact, a passenger wearing a helmet can be ticketed for riding on a bike with an unhelmeted driver.
Because it’s a piece of gear that you need to have, you want a good understanding of what’s available and what you want to see in a motorcycle helmet.
The first decision you’ll have to make has to do with the style of helmet. There are five different types available:
- Full face—On the full face helmets, there’s a face guard that’s permanently fixed in place
- Modular—On the modular helmet, there’s a hinge that allows you to flip the face guard up, so that you can have an open-faced helmet
- ADV dual sport—Dual sport helmets can be full face, modular or open face, but have a peak or visor built in to shield the sun
- Open face—An open face helmet has no face guard
- Half shell—Half shell motorcycle helmets typically just cover the top of the head, leaving ears exposed
You need to evaluate three different components of the helmet:
- Shell material—You can get carbon fiber (the most expensive) or polycarbonate (cheaper). Both will absorb and distribute energy, but carbon fiber does a better job. A good compromise can be a fiberglass composite.
- Helmet weight—You don’t want a helmet that weighs more than 1800 grams. Make certain the center of gravity is where it’s supposed to be or you may experience neck and shoulder pain.
- Comfort features—There’s a whole range of additional features that can enhance your riding, from wind noise reduction systems to communications and Bluetooth stereo.
Contact Weber & Nierenberg
At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experienced to injured motorcyclists in California. For a confidential consultation with an experienced California motorcycle accident injury lawyer, contact Weber & Nierenberg by e-mail or call us at 1-866-288-6010. There’s no charge for your first meeting.
At Weber & Nierenberg, we emphasize personal service and attention. We’ll take the time to learn exactly what happened, so that we take the right steps to get the outcome you want. When you hire us to protect your rights after a motorcycle accident injury, you’ll have access to one of our partners at all times.