There are tons of riders on the road—over 800,000 motorcyclists were licensed in 2018 by the Pennsylvania DMV. Motorcycles are freeing to ride, but that freedom comes at a cost. Riding is far more dangerous than driving a regular vehicle, and an accident while on a motorcycle could be debilitating. Even if you take a motorcycle safety course, follow safety protocol, and abide by the rules of the road, there are still constant safety threats while riding a motorcycle.
The biggest dangers to motorcyclists are drivers of regular vehicles. Even though you follow the same rules of the road as bigger vehicles, they don’t always see it that way. Many drivers do not realize the caution required when driving next to a motorcycle, and this can cause serious wrecks. When it comes to riding your motorcycle, you’ll need to be constantly aware of your surroundings to avoid an accident with a negligent motorist.
Why Our Law Firm?
Our Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers will work tirelessly to get justice for you after a crash. Shrager & Sachs has represented citizens of Philadelphia for years. We believe you should get compensation for any injuries—visible or not—that you get from a motorcycle accident. Our injury attorneys will fight aggressively to defend your rights and earn you the settlement you deserve.
Motorcycle Laws in Pennsylvania
Just like driving a car, motorcycles have to follow the rules of the road. Since motorcycles are inherently more dangerous, though, they also have some of their own laws to abide by. These laws are in place to reduce your risk of getting into an accident. Here’s what you legally need to know before riding on a motorcycle:
- License. Although it might seem obvious, you need a motorcycle license in order to ride a motorcycle. This is different from a regular license.
- Vehicle specifications. On the technical side of the law, you must have a suspension system on the front wheel, your handlebars cannot be higher than your shoulders when seated, and you must have at least one rear brake light. Each passenger must have a permanent seat as well as footrests and handholds.
- Helmets. As a general rule, helmets are required for all riders. There is an exception for riders over 21 who have had a valid motorcycle license for 2 years, or who have completed an approved safety course. Any passengers over 21 whose drivers fit that criteria do not need to wear a helmet either. Helmets are only permitted to have speakers if they are solely for communication purposes.
- In traffic. Since motorcycles are small than cars, two motorcyclists can ride side by side in a single lane. Lane splitting, or riding between lanes, is not allowed for motorcyclists. When riding along full-sized vehicles, motorcycles are permitted to use the full lane. Riders and passengers are not allowed to carry cargo in their hands, it must be securely stored while riding.
- Inspection. Just like full-sized vehicles, motorcycles must be inspected yearly.
If you don’t follow these rules while riding, a motorcycle vs. car accident that initially wasn’t your fault could quickly become more complicated. You could become partially liable if you were breaking the law by driving without a license, road splitting, or something else. Make sure you follow all regulations so that the results of your case are not negatively affected in the event of a motorcycle crash.
Injuries and Statistics
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 3,275 motorcycles were involved in collisions in 2017. 3,052 of those crashes resulted in injuries, and 185 were fatal. Most motorcycle accidents involved rear-ending and side-swiping another vehicle or a fixed object. These wrecks can easily throw a rider off of their motorcycle, which usually results in injuries on the serious end.
When you’re in a car, there’s numerous safety features like air bags, seat belts, and the body of the vehicle. Motorcycles have minimal to no safety features, so accidents are more dangerous when riding one. Even if you are wearing a helmet, any accident could quickly become deadly, especially if you are thrown from your motorcycle. Whether minor or severe, here are common injuries from a motorcycle crash:
- Road rash
- Broken Bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neck or spinal cord injury
- Loss of limb
Along with any of these injuries, death is a real possibility following an accident.
All that being said, it’s important to always ride defensively and assume drivers don’t see you. Airing on the side of caution while riding your motorcycle could save your life.
After any accident resulting in a personal injury, your top priority should be recovery. No matter how minor, accident injuries can impact you for the rest of your life, so it’s important to focus on healing before taking on a legal case. After evaluation and treatment, our law firm will be there to represent you when you’re ready.
Your Claim and Compensation
Immediately after an accident, there are some first steps you should take so that your claim can be stronger later. These steps can help prove that you are not at fault. You’ll want to be as diligent as possible when following these points.
- Assess your situation. You’ll want to stay calm following a car accident. This will help you evaluate yourself and others for injuries. Staying calm will also make any 911 call you make more productive because you will be able to relay more information. If you have any injuries, make sure to seek medical help right away when emergency services arrive.
- Take pictures. Photographs are great for proof later in your case. This way, you have documentation of any property damage, the accident scene, and your own injuries.
- Don’t apologize. Apologizing in any way, even if you know you are not at fault, could make you partially liable in the eyes of insurance companies. Don’t apologize to anyone at the scene, including other victims and law enforcement.
When you’ve gotten into a collision on a motorcycle, recovery could be expensive. After building your claim, you’ll need to start thinking about compensation. Your restitution could include all of the extra costs you accumulated from the accident, like injuries or other damages. In the event of a motorcycle crash, you could file to be compensated for damages, which include:
- Medical bills
- Physical or emotional therapy
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
If you were not at fault for your motorcycle accident, your settlement could cover all of these costs. But if you are found even partially liable, your settlement could reduce significantly.
Call for Your Free Consultation
A motorcycle accident can be devastating. Not only do you have to worry about healing physically, but you’ll probably need time to heal mentally as well. On top of that, you could have unexpected medical bills, doctors’ appointments far away, and lost wages from time off work.
At Shrager & Sachs, our law firm is dedicated to working for you so that you can receive compensation for all of your bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Our Philadelphia motorcycle accident lawyers are on your side. Contact us for a free consultation so that we can help you fight for what you deserve and defend you against the bias opposing motorcyclists in collisions.