Although cars and trucks share the road with motorcycles, bikers all around Maryland and Washington, D.C., should understand that when it comes to a roadway accident, being injured while riding a bike is not exactly the same as being hurt in while riding in an automobile or commercial vehicle.
As Maryland personal injury attorneys, I and my staff have in-depth knowledge of the state laws and statutes covering traffic accidents, cost recovery following various types of personal injury, as well as the legal rules and guidelines that govern the insurance industry’s coverage of drivers, riders and passengers of various motor vehicles. As we mentioned above, the insurance laws governing individuals hurt while riding a Harley-Davidson, Honda, Ducati or any other kind of motor bike are somewhat different than those that apply to persons injured while riding in a car or truck.
Because of our experience in handling motorcycle-related personal injury cases, we know that most non-riders (that is, drivers of four-wheelers) are usually surprised to learn that the majority of car-bike and truck-bike collisions are caused by negligence on the part of the automobile or truck driver, not the motorcyclist as many tend to believe. Perhaps it’s the rough and tumble, so-called bad-boy image of the biker typically portrayed in movies and on TV; but the fact remains, most riders are conscientious and safety-oriented individuals.
That said, this doesn’t mean that every biker avoids becoming caught in some rather horrendous traffic accidents; they do, and the results can be serious if not down right deadly. This is unfortunately what makes riding a motorcycle both highly exhilarating, as well as very dangerous at the same time. When it comes to the typical car-bike crash, studies have shown that more than 80 percent of multi-vehicle accidents involving motorcyclists are the result of negligence on the part of the car or truck driver.
One of the reasons for this is likely the fact that motorcycles can come to a stop much quicker than a typical passenger car, and therefore those riding bikes are far more likely to be rear-ended by a car than the other way around. This is especially true when the person operating the car or truck is tailgating or following much too close to allow for the shorter stopping distance of a typical motorcycle.
Another cause of car-bike crashes is the result of an automobile or commercial truck not yielding the right-of-way to a biker. This may be due to the typical and all-too-common statement that the driver of the four-wheeler never saw the cycle and rider until it was much too late to avoid the collision.
While it may be said that automobile and truck drivers are more than likely the negligent party in a traffic accident with a motorcyclist, the more painful truth is that — regardless of who is at fault — a biker is reportedly more than 20 times as likely to be killed in a roadway collision than any occupant in a passenger car. Based on this sad, but widely understood statistic, it is understandable that more than 150,000 riders are sent to the emergency room every year in this country; and thousands of motorcyclists die annually in the U.S. as a result of car-bike collisions.
Following a motorcycle accident, and the medical treatment and rehabilitation that may be required as a result, one must consider recovering those costs from the responsible party or parties. We’ll cover that here in the future in one of our next installments. Meanwhile, ride safe and keep the shiny side up.