Motorcyclists Are Often the Victims of Motorist Error But Must Prove It in Court
Most motorcyclists know that, because of the inherent risks of two-wheeled transportation, they need to take precautions to prevent accidents and injuries while riding. In New Jersey and nationwide, more people are riding motorcycles and more accidents involving motorcycles are occurring. The Federal Highway Authority reports that approximately 2,500 motorcycle crashes occur every year in New Jersey, with 377 fatalities between the years 2003 and 2007.
The state of New Jersey requires certain precautions — the use of helmets in particular, in addition to all required training and licensing — and recommends that eye protection and abrasion-resistant jackets be worn as well. The New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety advises motorcyclists to drive defensively, allowing enough space and time to react, and never to ride when tired or under the influence of alcohol.
Motorcyclists are widely perceived — in fact, misperceived — to be at fault for most motorcycle accidents. The following findings of a study by the University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research tell a different story:
- Motorists, not motorcyclists, are responsible for 60 percent of car-motorcycle crashes.
- Crashes often involve cars making left-hand turns against the motorcyclist’s right of way.
- Drivers underestimate the speed of oncoming motorcyclists.
Still, attorneys arguing a case on behalf of an injured motorcyclist in a lawsuit face judge or jury bias. Perceptions lean much more toward the irresponsible biker gang stereotype, which the plaintiff’s attorney must overcome.
Forensic evidence in a motorcycle accident can significantly help in proving the motorcyclist’s case. Speak with a motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after an accident to gather that evidence as effectively as possible.