Common Causes of New Jersey Motorcycle AccidentsNew Jersey Legal News
Motorcycle crashes are some of the most devastating vehicular collisions that take place on American roadways. Motorcycles are not just smaller than passenger vehicles, but they lack the protective passenger cabins of motor vehicles. Without the metal casing between the rider and the road — not to mention the other vehicle — the only buffer from injury a rider has is the helmet or protective gear he or she wears. Helmets are known to save lives, but it’s no surprise that motorcyclists are dramatically more likely to be killed or severely injured in an accident than those traveling in a passenger car. Due to this fact, every rider should be wary of the primary causes of motorcycle collisions, how those risks can be avoided or mitigated, and the options that may be available following a collision.
By far, the leading cause of motorcycle deaths is when the motorcycle makes physical contact with a four-wheeled vehicle, accounting for nearly 85 percent of deadly motorcycle accidents. In accidents involving motorcycles and another vehicle, the rider is overwhelmingly more likely to suffer severe or deadly injuries than passengers in a sedan. This is made even more frustrating when you consider that, in many cases, the driver of the passenger vehicle is at fault for the crash. Around 45 percent of motorcycle accidents are caused by one of two kinds of mistakes made by passenger vehicle drivers.
Failure to Yield
Traffic laws mandate that one vehicle has to yield the right of way to another car under certain circumstances. Failing to do so can result in a hazardous situation in which two vehicles try to occupy the same space at the same time. This is nearly always a disaster, especially when one of the vehicles is a motorcycle. Neglecting to yield the right of way to a motorcycle is a key factor in around 35 percent of two-vehicle motorcycle collisions. According to drivers involved, one of the main reasons that they fail to yield is that the driver failed to notice the motorcycle. In some cases, this may seem a little more than a convenient excuse, but there are many reasons that a motorcycle may be difficult to spot from a passenger vehicle. Generally, motorcycles are much smaller and narrower than cars. They don’t occupy the entire width of the lane and often change position within the lane to respond to traffic and roadway conditions. Another reason is merely psychological. Expectations are influenced by what people notice. Drivers in passenger cars expect to see other cars on the road, so that’s what they look out for. A driver may see a motorcycle, but it may not register to his brain properly. Regardless of the reason, those driving passenger vehicles have a duty to remain vigilant and aware of motorcyclists and yield to them when appropriate, just like any other car on the road.
Failure to Stay in Their Lane
When a passenger vehicle traveling near a motorcycle starts to drift from its lane without warning, the rider is left with no choice but to make an unexpected maneuver in order to avoid an accident — and this isn’t always successful. Between two vehicles, a sideswipe like this can cause cosmetic damage to the side of the car. When a motorcycle is involved, a severe accident is much more likely. Nearly 10 percent of motorcycle collisions are due to sideswipes caused by a careless driver.
Not all two-vehicle motorcycle crashes are the fault of the passenger-vehicle driver. The practice of lane-splitting, or navigating a motorcycle between two cars in adjacent lanes and briefly sharing a lane with a larger vehicle, is extremely dangerous and controversial. Like most states, New Jersey has made lane splitting illegal due to the potential risks of the maneuver, though there are advocates who claim that lane splitting can actually be safer in some situations. The maneuver does have a very slight margin for error, and if a motorist changes lanes without noticing the motorcycle sharing the lane, it can result in a devastating accident. Because lane splitting is illegal in the state, motorcycle injury cases involving lane splitting can be complex, even when the other driver is liable.
Hazardous roadway conditions can impact motorcycles much more severely than other vehicles due to their smaller size and less contact with the ground. Poorly maintained streets and potholes are a clear threat, but road construction can leave behind uneven road surfaces and loose gravel, which becomes more hazardous if proper signage is not in place to provide a warning.
Some motorcycle manufacturers prioritize weight rection, improving performance, or cutting costs over safety and reliability. If any part of your motorcycle fails unexpectedly during your ride, it could cause a severe collision. In such a case, a product liability case could be your best option to recover lost compensation because the parties responsible for your injuries are those who cut corners and sold you a defective or poorly-manufactured vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a serious motorcycle crash, please contact a qualified New Jersey motorcycle crash attorney for a consultation.
Motorcycle Accidents in New Jersey
There were 2,200 motorcyclists involved in car accidents in New Jersey in 2016, with 62 reported fatalities. Motorcyclists in the state have an 82 percent chance of suffering injuries in the event of an accident. Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable when involved in a crash with a motor vehicle.
Nationwide, 5,172 motorcyclists were killed in collisions in 2017. The aftermath of a motorcycle crash can be devastating and leave victims with life-threatening injuries. In some cases, injured parties can contact a qualified New Jersey motorcycle crash attorney to discuss possible compensation.
At Brady, Brady, & Reilly, LLC, we can help you fight for your legal rights after an accident. We’ve successfully helped countless victims obtain fair compensation after an accident. Give us a call at (201) 997- 0030 if you or a loved one has been unfairly injured in a sudden motorcycle accident.