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Motorcycle accidents can occur due to various factors and causes. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Michigan include:
- Motorist Negligence: Many motorcycle accidents are caused by the negligence of other drivers on the road. This can include cases where motorists fail to see motorcycles or misjudge their speed, leading to collisions. Common examples include drivers making unsafe lane changes, failing to yield right-of-way to motorcycles, or not maintaining a safe following distance.
- Left-Turn Accidents: A significant number of motorcycle accidents occur when a vehicle making a left turn collides with an oncoming motorcycle. This often happens when a driver fails to notice an approaching motorcycle or misjudges its speed, leading to a dangerous intersection collision.
- Lane Splitting: Lane splitting refers to the practice of riding between lanes of traffic, often in congested areas. While lane splitting is not legal in Michigan, some motorcyclists still engage in this behavior. It can be risky as it increases the likelihood of accidents due to reduced space, limited visibility, and drivers not expecting motorcycles to be passing between lanes.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions such as texting, talking on the phone, eating, or adjusting vehicle controls contribute to a significant number of motorcycle accidents. When drivers are distracted, their attention is diverted from the road, making it more likely for them to collide with a motorcycle.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving: Excessive speed and reckless driving behaviors, such as weaving in and out of traffic or tailgating, can increase the risk of motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are more vulnerable to accidents at high speeds due to their smaller size and reduced stability compared to other vehicles.
- Impaired Driving: Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs significantly impairs judgment, reaction time, and coordination, making it dangerous for both motorcyclists and other road users.
- Road Hazards: Motorcyclists are particularly susceptible to accidents caused by road hazards such as potholes, uneven pavement, debris, or slippery surfaces. These hazards can lead to loss of control, skidding, or collisions if the motorcyclist is unable to navigate them safely.
Many of these types of accidents could be prevented if motorists and motorcyclists alike exercised caution and maintained awareness of their surroundings while sharing the road. Unfortunately, acts of negligence still occur every day, resulting in serious injury.
How Motorcyclists Can Protect Themselves
Motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 33 in the United States, and motorcycle accidents account for approximately 3,000 deaths each year. Many others are seriously injured and undergo major life changes and disabilities due to motorcycle accidents. Injuries from motorcycle accidents are not the same as those in an enclosed passenger car with seat belts and airbags. Even pads and helmets do little to protect the motorcycle riders in a crash. This can leave the rider with a ruptured disc, a serious brain injury, or even result in wrongful death.
Here are a few motorcycle safety tips bikers can follow to help protect themselves on the road:
- Wear a helmet to reduce the risk of death by almost 40% and the risk of injury by over 70%.
- Never drive a motorcycle after you have been drinking.
- Don’t let friends and family drive after they have been drinking.
- Wear protective clothing, which can help provide protection from potential injury.
- Maintain a safe driving speed, especially on gravel or slippery surfaces.
Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents occur due to no fault of the biker. Even when motorcyclists take proper safety precautions, they may be hit by a distracted or drunk driver, sideswiped by a motorist illegally changing lanes, or injured by a car or truck driver that is acting carelessly, recklessly, or negligently in some way.
Michigan Motorcycle Helmet Law
In Michigan, anyone on a motorcycle – including the operator and passengers – must wear a helmet if they are under the age of 21.
There are also special rules for legal adult motorcyclists and passengers who do not wear a helmet:
- Motorcyclists must have at least a $20,000 first-party medical benefits coverage insurance policy.
- Passengers must have at least a $20,000 first-party medical benefits coverage insurance policy of their own, separate from the policy held by the operator.
- Motorcyclists must have at least a two-year motorcycle endorsement or have passed a state-recognized motorcycle safety course.
Additionally, helmets used by anyone under the age of 21 must match United States Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements. If you ride a motorcycle on a Michigan highway at speeds above 35 mph and your motorcycle does not have a built-in windshield, then you must also wear shatterproof protective goggles.
No matter what the law says, wearing a motorcycle helmet should be a requirement for yourself and any of your passengers. The protection provided by a helmet is invaluable.
Motorcycle Crash Compensation
The compensation you can demand in a motorcycle accident case will depend on the severity of your injuries and how your life has been affected by them. As your Michigan motorcycle crash attorneys, we can calculate the damages that you are owed, so you do not have to worry about that complicated step of the claim.
The compensation we can seek in your name might include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
Returning to the topic of motorcycle helmet use and safety, not wearing a helmet could hurt your chances of receiving a fair amount of compensation. Specifically, if you suffered a head injury in a crash and chose not to wear a helmet, then the liable party’s insurance company could argue that it should not have to pay for any damages related to that head injury.
We know how to build counterarguments to protect your case, but it remains true that wearing a motorcycle helmet is always a good idea.
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Grewal Law and our Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers are here to support and guide you after you have been in a crash that was not your fault. Leave the details and tough work of your case up to us, so you can focus on resting and recovering as best you can, just as you deserve.
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