Motorcycle Safety Gear: Helmets

Headgear Options for Bikers

Motorcycle Safety Gear: HelmetsThough there’s long been debate about the effectiveness of helmets for motorcyclists, studies indicate that the use of helmets reduces the risk of both head injury (by 69%) and death (by 42%). One study found 10 times as many fatalities in states without universal helmet laws. After Michigan’s helmet law was repealed in 2012, a report found that there was a 14% increase in motorcycle-accident-related head injuries and a 38% increase in bike-related skull fractures.

The Different Types of Helmets

Bikers have three basic types of helmets from which to choose:

  • full helmet,
  • ¾ helmet, and
  • ½ helmet.

For maximum protection, use a full helmet. Full helmets come in a wide array of shapes and sizes but always include full protection for your head and face. They have a rigid outer shell with a full-face visor that rotates out of the way and often locks into place. Higher-end helmets typically have more padding inside and may include a built-in camera or speakers, along with Bluetooth capability.

The ¾ helmet offers many of the same features as the full helmet, but with minimal or no face protection. If there’s a visor, it typically pivots up and down to cover the eyes. The protection in the top, side, and back of the helmet is similar to the full-face helmet, but you’ll find less protection in the chin and lower facial area.

The ½ helmet usually offers the same type of rigid construction and padding but covers only the top of your head and part of the back and/or sides. There’s no facial protection at all, so you may want to sport goggles or protective glasses.

Contact Weber & Nierenberg for Strong Representation

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience to personal injury victims across California. For a free initial consultation to discuss your options after an accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 for an appointment

Keeping Safe on Your Motorcycle during the Pandemic

Strategies to Protect Your Health During the COVID-19 Crisis

Keeping Safe on Your Motorcycle during the PandemicIn many ways, riding a motorcycle is an ideal way to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic. You’re outside and, unless you have a passenger on your bike, you’re socially distanced from everyone around you. Furthermore, because California has a helmet law in effect, you’ll essentially be masked up whenever you get on your bike and hit the road.

First, though, a caveat about riding your motorcycle during the pandemic—there’s always a risk, whenever you go anywhere, of either contracting the virus or spreading it to others. If possible, restrict your riding to essential tasks—going to work, the grocery store, or medical appointments. For your safety and the safety of everyone else, avoid trips that are purely for personal pleasure…until we can all ride safely.

Tips for Staying Safe When You Go Out

Regardless of why you ride, follow these simple recommendations:

  • Don’t travel in groups and don’t stop for group gatherings—We understand that motorcyclists can be a gregarious and extroverted lot. For the time being, though, avoid the urge to get together with anyone outside your immediate household. It’s the easiest way to pass the virus to others.
  • Maintain the same level of attention and diligence—The roads may be less traveled, with many staying home, but the hazards are still there. Don’t reduce your focus just because there are fewer people on the road.
  • Use the opportunity to develop your skills—With many retail establishments closed, there are ample opportunities to use vacant parking lots to learn bike-handling techniques.

Contact the Experienced Attorneys at Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have fought for the rights of personal injury victims across California for more than three decades. To set up an appointment to discuss your options after an accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

New Laws Affecting California Drivers

Changes Effective As of January 1, 2021

New Laws Affecting California DriversA number of California laws related to the operation of motor vehicles, including motorcycles and motorized scooters, went into effect at the beginning of the year. Here are some of the changes you need to know.

Emergency Vehicle Measures Expanded to Local Roadways

All motorists now must either change lanes or slow down when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its lights flashing, regardless of where they are. Prior law applied only to vehicles on freeways. The new law applies to all types of emergency vehicles, including ambulances, EMT vehicles, tow trucks, and Caltrans vehicles.

Under a separate law, authorized emergency vehicles are permitted to use a “hi-lo” warning signal, with a different sound than a siren. The “hi-lo” signal means that non-essential personnel must evacuate the area because of an emergency.

Distracted Driving Convictions Add Points to Driving Record

Any motorist convicted of using a cell phone—except in a hands-free manner—will have one point added to their driving record, provided the conviction is the second one within a three-year period. California motorists can face suspension of driving privileges if they accumulate four points within 12 months, six points within two years, or eight points within three years. Persons under the age of 18 may not use a cell phone or similar device in any manner while driving.

Motorized Scooter Licenses

Motorized scooters no longer require a Class M2 license or permit to operate. Effective January 1, anyone with a valid driver’s license or permit in California can operate a motorized scooter.

Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have protected the rights of personal injury victims throughout the state of California for more than 30 years. To set up an appointment to discuss your options after an accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 for a free initial consultation.

Season’s Greetings and Happy New Year

Season's Greetings and Happy New Year

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Scooter Usage

Companies Report Mixed Impact

Coronavirus-Pandemic-and-Scooter-Usage The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on many businesses across the United States as people follow social distancing guidelines in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. Early in the crisis, reports indicated that shared-scooter operators were being hit heavily, but more recent data from some companies shows a shift, with users taking more trips and the average trip length growing as well.

In May, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that demand for scooter rentals had allbut disappeared, with many larger scooter companies incurring substantial losses. The likely reason was widespread fear of contact with something previously used by unknown persons due to uncertainty about how contagious the virus was and how it spread.

Earlier this month, however, the scooter company Spin said numbers have gone up year over year in both the number of trips booked and the length of each trip. Spin disclosed that the average trip went from 15 minutes in 2019 to 22 minutes for the same time period in 2020.

Scooter operator Lime conducted a public survey in June, finding that more than two of every three respondents said they would use shared scooters in the future. Just twelve months earlier, about 40% of respondents gave a similar response. More than a third (35%) said they would use a shared scooter at least once a week, and one in four respondents expressed interest in purchasing their own scooter.

Public health experts say that using shared scooters can be safe during the pandemic, provided you treat the bikes like you would any other potentially contaminated surface and fully sanitize them before you get aboard.

Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we have over 30 years of experience effectively representing injured people throughout California. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010 to arrange an appointment.

California Law Allows Scooter Providers to Mandate Liability Waivers

Legislature Amends Bill to Allow Waivers

California-Law-Allows-Scooter-Providers In late August, the California legislature passed assembly bill 1286, requiring all “shared mobility” providers in the state to obtain a written permit from the county or city in which they plan to offer services. The statute defines “shared mobility” devices to include motorized scooters.

In the original version of the law, shared mobility providers were prohibited from including any provision in a customer agreement that waived, released, or limited the liability of providers for riders’ legal claims. A group of shared scooter providers, however, immediately opposed the inclusion of that language, saying that, without liability waivers, providers would face unreasonable risk and need to terminate operations. Providers argued that without a basic liability waiver, they faced potential legal challenges for a host of injuries and accidents, from roadway hazards to mishaps caused by careless driving. They also pointed out that in the state ofCalifornia, liability waivers are commonly allowed and enforced, provided they are “clear, unambiguous and explicit.”

A number of municipalities also expressed opposition to the proposed law, saying it could be thedeath knell of the scooter business in California, as companies would be unwilling to expose themselves to the inherent risks of the business without a way to manage their potential liability.They noted that other transportation services, such as rental car companies, routinely require a waiver of liability. Without the waiver of liability, scooter companies would face significant insurance premium increases that render profitability tenuous or impossible.

After considering the input from the scooter providers and municipalities, the legislature removed the provision banning liability waivers and passed the law.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have effectively represented personal injury victims in California for more than three decades. To set up a free initial consultation to discuss your options after an accident, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident Claim

What You Must Show the Court to Win a Verdict

Proving Negligence in a Motorcycle Accident ClaimIf you’re hurt while operating or riding a motorcycle in California, you have a right to seek compensation for your losses. Most legal claims for losses suffered in a motorcycle accident are based on a legal theory of negligence.

What Is Negligence?

The principle of negligence has been at the forefront of personal injury law for hundreds of years, originating in the English legal system. To successfully prove negligence in court, you must show three things:

  • that the defendant (the party from whom you seek damages) failed to act as a reasonable person would under the same circumstances;
  • that the failure to act reasonably caused an accident; and
  • that, because of the accident, you suffered “actual losses.”

The Failure to Act Reasonably

Under the legal theory of negligence, every person in society has a duty, at all times and in all actions, to behave as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. This “duty of care” applies to all the routines of daily life, such as driving a car, maintaining your property, using power tools, or manufacturing and selling a product. The law does not, however, identify exactly what constitutes reasonable behavior—that is determined by a jury on a case-by-case basis. However, to ensure some consistency in the outcome of cases, juries are bound by the principle of stare decisis, which requires that weight be given to rulings in prior cases involving similar fact situations.

The Cause of the Accident

To meet the cause requirement, you must demonstrate both actual cause and proximate cause. Actual cause means that the accident would not have occurred “but for” the breach of the duty of care. Proximate cause means that the consequences of the breach of duty were reasonably foreseeable at the time of the breach.

Actual Losses

You may recover only for losses actually incurred. Any losses covered by insurance cannot be recovered again in a lawsuit. Likewise, you cannot recover for damage to property that has no value or for injuries that cause no pain and suffering, that do not prevent you from working, or that otherwise have no negative impact on your life.

Contact the Law Offices of Weber & Nierenberg

At Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than three decades of experience to men and women across California who suffer personal injury, including people hurt in motorcycle accidents. For a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

California Electric Scooter Laws—An Overview

Fundamental Laws Governing Electric Scooters

California Electric Scooter Laws—An OverviewAs the use of electric scooters continues to explode, both in California and nationwide, more andmore legislatures are taking a close look at their impact, enacting regulations to protect riders, other drivers, and pedestrians. In this blog, we look as some of the basic laws governing the operation of an electric scooter in California.

  • Under the law, electric scooters are motorized vehicles—Except where there are specific laws governing electric scooters, the law governing other motor vehicles applies. For example, you can be charged with drinking and driving if you operate an electric scooter while intoxicated.
  • You must walk an electric scooter through a left-hand turn—A controversial new provision in the California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to get off their bikes on the right-hand side of the road when approaching a left-hand turn and then walk the bike through the turn.
  • The use of bike lanes—The California Vehicle Code requires electric scooter operators to use dedicated bike lanes whenever possible. Some exceptions apply:
    • When making a left-hand turn
    • When avoiding hazards in the bike lane
    • When passing another vehicle or a pedestrian
    • When turning right
  • Prohibited activities—You may not have another passenger on an electric scooter. You may not operate an electric scooter without a valid driver’s license. You may not drive an electric scooter on a sidewalk.
  • Minors must wear helmets—Anyone under the age of 18 may drive an electric scooter only while wearing a helmet. The requirement does not apply to adults.
  • The speed limit for electric scooters is 15 miles per hour—The fines for exceeding the speed limit start at $250.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have aggressively fought for the rights of injury victims in California for more the three decades. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Motorcycle Accident Deaths Decline in California

But Roadways Still Present Increased Risks for Bikers

Motorcycle Accident Deaths Decline in CaliforniaThere are over 800,000 motorcycles registered in California. In 2018, there were just over 14,000 motorcycle accidents in the state, down from 16,505 in 2017. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of motorcycle-accident fatalities also dropped during that time, from 578 in 2017 to 488 in 2018, a decline of 15.57%. The trends in California are similar to those nationwide, although the national decrease of motorcycle fatalities in 2017 was only 5.6%.

Despite the lowering fatality rate, California roadways are still pretty dangerous for motorcyclists. Bikers remain 28 times more likely to die in a collision than someone operating or riding in a passenger vehicle (down from 34 times as likely just four years ago). Approximately three of every four motorcycle accidents are collisions between bikes and at least one car.

Safety experts say a number of factors continue to make the motorcycle-accident-fatality rate relatively high:

  • Distracted driving—In addition to handheld devices, motorcyclists are susceptible to roadside distractions.
  • Aging biker population—Most motorcyclists are now over the age of 40, with the average age of motorcycle-accident-fatality victims being 43.
  • Alcohol and drugs—One in every four fatal motorcycle accidents involves at least one driver with blood alcohol content over the legal limit. The legalization of recreational marijuana use also has led to a higher number of bikers driving under the influence.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we have provided strong and effective representation to motorcycle accident injury victims for more than 30 years. To set up a free initial consultation, contact us by e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle Accident

New High-Tech Developments Enhance Biker Safety

Using Technology to Minimize the Risk of a Motorcycle AccidentEverywhere you turn, things are getting smarter—your television, your appliances—and now your motorcycle. A number of technological innovations have hit the market recently, all designed to help you maximize the enjoyment of your motorcycle while helping you stay safer. Here are some of the more popular new technologies:

  • Airbags—Airbag technology is applied differently to motorcycles—it’s in the clothing you buy, rather than the bike. The most basic airbags are tethered to your bike and deploy when a cord is pulled. More sophisticated products have computerized systems that detect an impending crash.
  • Directional headlights—The single headlight on a motorcycle, pointed straight ahead, has always been less than adequate, particularly when you’re turning a corner at night. New adaptive headlights use sensors to pivot when you’re rounding a turn, so your headlights shine where you’re going.
  • Antilock braking—Slamming on your brakes is one of the least effective and most dangerous ways to try to stop your bike. Antilock brakes create a “feathering” effect by rapidly reducing and reapplying the brakes a number of times per second. Studies show that fatal crash rates are about one-third lower on bikes with antilock braking systems.
  • Electronic throttle control—This technology replaces the traditional accelerator cable with an electronic device that minimizes the risk of accidental and sudden acceleration.
  • Smart helmets—A number of manufacturers are incorporating Bluetooth technology into helmets, allowing riders to see GPS images and rearview cameras on helmet visors.

Another technology in development, but not yet ready for release, is “vehicle to vehicle” communication, which integrates sensors into a bike to accomplish two objectives: emit a signal to nearby vehicles, making them aware of the presence of the bike; and give motorcyclists notification of the presence of other vehicles nearby.

Contact Our Offices

At the law offices of Weber & Nierenberg, we bring more than 30 years of experience to people who have suffered personal injury, including victims of motorcycle accidents. To set up a free initial consultation, Send us an e-mail or call 1-866-288-6010.

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Motorcycle Safety Gear: Helmets

Headgear Options for Bikers Though there's long been debate about the effectiveness of helmets for motorcyclists, studies indicate that the... [Read More...]