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Motorists owe duty of care to motorcyclists to avoid injuries

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, motorcycle accidents were responsible for 13 percent of all highway deaths from 1997 to 2009, even though only three percent of the vehicles on the road were motorcycles. This averages out to approximately 12 motorcyclists killed every day.

Motorist inattention and deadly injuries

Particularly in a collision with an automobile, a motorcyclist has little to no protection and will suffer both the impact of the collision and possibly additional personal injuries from impact with the road. Often, simple inattention by a motorist is enough to cause a motorcyclist to suffer a catastrophic injury or even death.

For example, a man was driving his motorcycle on the northwest side of Tucson at the corner of Wetmore Road and Schafer Drive, when a car turned in front of the motorcyclist.

According to the Tucson News, the man was wearing his helmet, but the helmet came off in the accident. The motorcyclist suffered massive head injuries and paramedics pronounced him dead at the accident scene.

Duty of care to motorcyclists

The drivers of automobiles or trucks owe a duty of reasonable care to motorcyclists to avoid colliding with or injuring them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has even undertaken traffic safety public service campaigns, such as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May of 2013, to remind motorists of several key facts:

  • A motorcycle has the same rights and privileges as any other vehicle on the roadway.
  • A motorcyclist should be allowed a full lane width-a motorcycle needs the room to maneuver safely.
  • Because of its smaller size, a motorcycle can be hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.
  • Road conditions that are minor annoyances to motorists can pose major hazards to motorcyclists.
  • · Motorists should allow adequate following distance when following a motorcycle-three or four seconds-so the motorcycle rider has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.

A motorist may be found negligent for failing to properly watch for motorcyclists or for otherwise causing a motorcycle accident by failing to yield the right of way, cutting a corner during a turn at an intersection, or turning into the motorcycle’s lane of traffic, among other actions.

Catastrophic injuries should be compensated

Many motorcycle accident victims suffer from multiple fractures, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and more. If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, seek the advice of an attorney experienced in such accidents. Ideally, you should find an attorney who understands the legal and evidentiary issues that can arise, and who can work to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

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