There are over 30 million registered motorcycles in the United States. This includes only those bikes that have been registered for use on public roadways. There are even more bikes that are not registered and theoretically are being used only for off-road purposes.
No matter the exact number of registered motorcycles in the United States, bikes are popular. Indeed, in California alone, the number of registered motorcycles is approaching 1 million. There is no sign that the love affair a segment of the U.S. population has with motorcycles is going to abate any time soon.
Motorcycle Accident Law
Motorcyclists are required to follow the same laws on the books that apply to drivers of automobiles. However, there also exists a set of laws in addition to those that are to be followed by all motorcyclists. These additional requirements make up what can be called motorcycle accident law in the event of a roadway incident. In other words, motorcycle accident law requires a review of whether a motorcyclist not only followed the traffic laws that apply to all motorists, but also whether a biker was in compliance with the statutes and regulations that apply specifically to operating a motorcycle.
Some of the additional requirements for motorcyclists that are part of the overall motorcycle accident law scheme include special licensing requirements, as well as the need to utilize certain types of safety equipment. For example, many states maintain helmet laws not only for passengers on motorcycles, but for operators as well.
Motorcyclist Licensing Requirements
The laws governing the licensing of a motorcyclist are established on a state-by-state basis. However, there are some general licensing requirements that are found in most states in the nation.
Many of the licensing requirements are the same for a biker and a motorcar driver. However, when it comes to the written examination, some differences exist. When it comes to the motorcyclist written examination, special attention is focused on safety issues that are unique to operating a motorcycle.
There also exist in some states laws pertaining to the age a person must be to obtain a motorcycle license. The commonly accepted age at which a person is able to get a standard driver’s license is 16. However, in some states, there are restrictions on what someone between the ages of 16 and 18 must do to get a motorcycle license.
Requirements include not only completing a general driver’s education program, but also obtaining certification upon the conclusion of a motorcycle rider training course.
A growing number of states are requiring motorcyclists to complete specific training programs for bike operators or submit to an over-the-road test conducted by the department of motor vehicles. Again, as with the written test, a special focus of this training is on safety related issues unique to the operation of a motorcycle on a public roadway.
Frequency of Motorcycle Accidents
Although the number varies from year to year, between 4,000 and 5,000 motorcyclists are killed on roadways in the United States annually, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Thousands more bikers are injured in accidents each year, and oftentimes seriously so.
The NHTSA also reports that when it comes to accidents between motorcycles and automobiles, the motorcyclist is more often at fault in causing the accident. In addition, a higher percentage of motorcyclists are legally intoxicated at the time of an accident than is the case with drivers of automobiles.
Motorcycle Accident Liability
Some states have enacted laws that place added liability on the driver of an automobile who is involved in an accident with a motorcycle, in certain circumstances. These additional motorcycle accident liability laws are in place based on the desire to increase awareness of motorcyclists on roadways.
Overall, these laws have not really resulted in any notable success. In addition, as mentioned previously, a majority of motorcycle accidents are caused because of an error made by the biker and not the driver of the automobile involved in a collision.
Types of Compensation in the Event of a Motorcycle Accident
A person injured in a motorcycle accident, either on a bike or in another vehicle involved in the incident, may be entitled to different types of compensation. The facts and circumstances dictate how a claim or lawsuit in the aftermath of an accident is pursued.
Typically, an injured person may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and expenses. This can include not only those bills currently accumulated, but also future medical costs that are reasonably expected to be incurred in the future.
An injured person may also be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and lost wages. As is the case with medical bills, a person injured in a motorcycle accident may be entitled to compensation not only for current pain and suffering and lost wages, but also for these types of damages that reasonably can be expected to occur in the future.