Archive for the ‘Motorcycle Accidents’ Category

Deadly Motorcycle Accident in Riverside Illustrates Winter Riding Risks

A 30-year-old motorcyclist was killed in Riverside recently when a driver allegedly pulled out of an elementary school into the biker’s path. Investigators are reportedly still attempting to determine who was to blame.  While the accident remains under investigation, it serves as an important reminder of the serious risks that bikers face. 

Victims of motorcycle accidents should consult with experienced personal injury lawyers in Riverside for help understanding their legal rights. The Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton represents motorcyclists harmed by driver negligence. Call today to speak with an attorney about your legal rights.

Motorcycle Accident Dangers in Riverside

The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that 46 motorcyclists were killed or injured in auto accidents in Riverside County in 2011.  When involved in a motor vehicle collision, motorcyclists are at significantly greater risk than those in passenger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that 4,612 motorcyclists died in 2011 in America, which was two percent more than the number who died in the prior year. Motorcyclists are 30 times as likely to die in a collision than occupants of passenger cars and are five times as likely to suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle collision.

The majority of motorcyclists die from head injuries, and alcohol plays a predominant role in serious and fatal injuries. In 2011, 42 percent of motorcycle riders involved in single-vehicle accidents had blood-alcohol contents exceeding the legal blood-alcohol concentration limit of .08. This is a higher percentage of intoxicated drivers than any other type of driver.

Still, not every accident is caused by intoxication and not every death or injury could be prevented with helmet use. To avoid being involved in collisions like the recent fatal Riverside crash, motorcyclists should follows some basic safety tips including:

  • Never driving when distracted or impaired.
  • Obeying all traffic laws.
  • Wearing protective gear, including a helmet that is DOT-complaint.
  • Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothing and accessories to be more visible, especially after dark.
  • Avoiding bad weather rides.
  • Always use turn signals any time you change lanes or make a turn, even if you don’t believe others will see.
  • Combine turn signals on your motorcycle and hand signals to ensure you are getting sufficient attention.
  • Carefully choose your lane, and ensure that you select the lane where your motorcycle is the most visible.

Drivers are also given advice by the NHTSA, some of which (like not driving distracted) is the same as the biker’s list. However, drivers were advised specifically to:

  • Leave a full lane width for motorcyclists, even if it seems you have enough space.
  • Check blind spots carefully before pulling into or out of traffic because motorcyclists can be missed more easily in a blind spot.
  • Understand  the unique features of motorcycles. For example, turn signals don’t turn off automatically on most bikes, so you cannot assume a turn signal always means that the motorcycle will turn. Furthermore, even a tiny bump or pothole on the road can be a big deal to a motorcyclist and could cause a loss of control.

Personal injury lawyers in Riverside can help after a collision. Contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton today at (949) 757-0707 or visit www.dancarlton.com to schedule a free consultation. 

SoCal Motorcycle Accidents a Summer Danger

Recently, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a disturbing news release regarding a dramatic increase in motorcycle accident deaths in 2012. 

Our Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys know that riding a motorcycle can be inherently dangerous for many reasons, including the fact that motorists in passenger cars are often unfamiliar with how to safely share the road with motorcycle riders. Unfortunately, the new GHSA release indicates that things are getting much worse and that motorcycle riders may be in more danger than ever before.

GHSA Report on Motorcycle Deaths

The GHSA’s news release indicated that the new report was the first state-by-state look at motorcycle fatalities that occurred during 2012. The report is based on projected numbers and not final data. But the information available is already sufficient to show that motorcycle accident deaths increased significantly.

According to the data, there are around 5,000 fatalities projected for 2012. This is a nine percent increase as compared with the number of deaths in 2011. It is also a larger increase than was projected by the federal government, and it is close to the all-time record high.

Unfortunately, this increase is not an isolated event either, but is instead part of a trend. The year 2012 marks the 14th year out of the past 15 years where the number of motorcycle accident deaths increased.  While California did not experience an increase and, in fact, had three fewer deaths than the prior year, the GHSA attributes this not to any particular safety laws in California but instead to a down economy in the state over the course of the year. This means California residents, too, ought to be concerned about the increasing number of deaths. In fact, California is routinely the deadliest state in the nation for these kinds of accidents.

These continued national increases are especially upsetting in light of the fact that motorcycle fatalities are one of the few types of road fatalities that have shown no improvement over the past 10 years. In other words, while the number of deaths among all other categories of motorists are declining, the number of deaths among motorcycle riders continues to increase.

Protecting Motorcycle Riders

While sharing the bad news on motorcycle accident deaths, GHSA did have some suggestions that might be able to help improve things for the future. GHSA recommendations for states interested in reducing motorcycle fatalities included:

  • Increasing helmet use.
  • Reducing alcohol impairment.
  • Reducing speeding.
  • Providing training for all interested motorcycle operators.
  • Ensuring drivers of motorcycles are properly licensed.
  • Providing better education for drivers and encouraging them to better share the roads.

By conducting Share the Road educational campaigns, enforcing existing safety laws related to speeding and intoxicated driving, and perhaps instituting mandatory helmet laws, states might be able to do something to curb the rising tide of motorcycle accident deaths. It is clear something needs to be done to improve safety and prevent the number of deaths from going up year after year.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.

 

Motorcycle Accident Risk: Lane Splitting Legal But is it Smart?

Lane splitting occurs when motorcycle riders travel along in between two lanes of traffic. The practice allows motorcycle riders to avoid standing in long lines of cars and can help to keep traffic moving. It is a controversial behavior and one that some argue puts motorcycle riders and drivers at risk. We continue to highlight the risk of motorcycle accidents throughout May, which is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

Our Irvine CA motorcycle accident attorneys know that cars already have a difficult time sharing the road with motorcycle riders even when motorcyclists stay in one lane and follow all of the same rules as motorcars. Lane splitting is something that cars won’t necessarily expect motorcycles to do, so the practice could make things worse. However, the California Highway Patrol indicates that the practice of lane splitting may not be all bad.

Lane Splitting Safety Issues

According to the Los Angeles Times,  lane splitting is controversial, with critics arguing that it is inherently dangerous. Yet, proponents indicate that lane splitting can help to reduce traffic jams, which everyone would agree are a major problem in many parts of Southern California.

Despite the critics warnings about the dangers of lane splitting, the practice is not illegal in California, although there are some limitations. Agencies have been haggling for several years about how to set guidelines for making sure that lane splitting is done safely, and the California Highway Patrol finally posted some guidelines recently that address the issue of exactly how and when lane splitting should be used.

According to the new guidelines, the fundamental rule regarding when a motorcycle rider can split lanes is whether the motorcycle rider can safely pass between the cars. There are three components to a motorcycle rider “safely” passing:

  • The motorcycle can only split lanes at 10 miles per hour above the traffic speed or less.
  • The motorcycle can only split lanes when traffic is moving at less than 30 miles per hour.
  • The motorcycle rider should always split lanes by traveling in the space between the number one and the number two lanes.

The LA Times is careful to note that these guidelines, which came from the California Highway Patrol, are just guidelines. The guidelines are not laws and a motorcycle rider cannot be cited or receive a ticket for failure to follow the guidelines. However, motorcycle riders can be cited for reckless driving of any kind.

As such, if law enforcement believes that a motorcycle rider was acting in an unsafe way through lane splitting or as a result of any other behavior, the police officer could cite the rider for his or her recklessness.

Staying Safe

While lane splitting may not be illegal, it can still be dangerous. After all, a driver might not expect a motorcycle to go zooming past him as he sits in traffic, and an accident could result with cars and bikes in such close proximity.

Both motorcycle riders and the drivers of passenger cars, therefore, have an obligation to be smart when it comes to avoiding a lane splitting crash. Cars should be on the lookout and remain alert for motorcyclists even when sitting in traffic, and motorcycle riders shouldn’t split lanes when it is not safe to do so.

If you’ve been injured, or you lost a loved one, contact the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton at (949) 757-0707, or visit 19700 Fairchild, Suite 280, Irvine, CA 92612.