Fatalities and injuries are common in motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in a single recent year, 4,668 people died and 88,000 were injured in motorcycle collisions in the U.S.
The first inclination in any motorcycle accident case may be to assume that blame lies with the motorcycle rider. He or she must have been speeding, reckless or intoxicated. Police officers, insurance adjusters, witnesses and jury members often make the same blame-the-victim assumption and have the same prejudice and bias against motorcyclists in many cases.
This bias has little basis in fact. According to a NHTSA study conducted at the University of Southern California, the most common motorcycle accidents are those in which another driver causes the collision by violating the motorcyclist’s right-of-way in an intersection. This often occurs when the other vehicle turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle.
New York Motorcycle Laws
The Long Island motorcycle accident lawyers at Cohen & Jaffe can offer you dedicated legal help after an accident. A motorcycle crash can cause devastating injuries to a Long Island, New York rider. Even experienced and attentive drivers are at risk of being involved in a motorcycle crash in Long Island and may incur thousands of dollars in medical expenses, lost wages and property damage costs when these crashes happen. Learn more below about safe motorcycle riding in New York, and speak with the professional and dedicated Long Island motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe if you’ve been involved in a crash.
Updated 2019 NYC Motorcycle Injury Laws
Many motorcycle models have the ability to achieve high speeds in a very brief amount of time, while lacking the protection of the four walls of a car or truck. These two facts alone increase the risk of injury accidents among motorcyclists in Long Island, but there are even more factors that put motorcycle riders in danger on the road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcyclists in Long Island and the US, in general, have a fatality rate that is 28 times higher than that of passenger vehicle drivers. While the rates of motorcycle fatalities had long been going down, the rates of fatalities have trended upward in recent years. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that over 5,100 motorcyclists were killed on the road in 2017, accounting for 14% of all roadway deaths that year.
Experienced Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles are a smaller object in the visual field than cars or trucks, which can mean that inattentive passenger vehicle drivers fail to notice oncoming motorcycles when scanning the road ahead. This fact, coupled with the tendency of drivers to estimate the speed of oncoming motorcycles inaccurately, often leads to passenger vehicle drivers turning left in front of or into oncoming riders or causing sideswipe accidents when they fail to check their blind spots before merging into a neighboring lane.
Common Causes of Motorcycle Crashes in NYC
Research shows that a disproportionate number of victims of fatal motorcycle accidents had been drinking prior to the crash. Not all these victims were above the legal limit at the time of the crash, however; in fact, only a third of those tested had a blood-alcohol level at .08 or higher.
What is the likelihood of Motorcyclists Wrecking While Riding?
Since motorcyclists have a 90% risk of injury anytime they’re involved in a crash, compared to only 1/3 of passenger vehicle drivers, motorcyclists take a big risk by having any alcohol in their system when they ride.
Riders should choose a safe motorcycle helmet and wear it every time
New York law requires that all motorcyclists wear helmets that comply with federal DOT helmet requirements. Not only does the law require riders to wear helmets, but research shows that helmets are responsible for preventing hundreds of motorcyclist fatalities each year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, research shows that helmets reduce the risk of death in a motorcycle crash by 37% and reduce the risk of potentially life-altering head injuries by 69%.
Why Should You Wear a Helmet?
When buying a motorcycle helmet, make sure that it complies with the US Department of Transportation standards for helmet safety. New York law also requires that motorcyclists wear protection of their vision when riding, so consider choosing a helmet with a visor. Otherwise, you’ll need to find goggles or other protective eyewear to fulfill this requirement. Other helmet features that provide improved safety include:
- Helmets with thermoplastic or reinforced composite shells. These material provide helmets with a strong outer shell, providing a robust first line of defense against a head injury in a crash.
- Full-face helmets. Full-face helmets offer riders the most protection for the face, head, and chin. Additionally, while some riders claim that full-face helmets provide dangerous obstructions to their peripheral vision, studies show that riders have enough visibility to keep them safe when wearing even full-face helmets.
- Snell Memorial Foundation certification. This organization conducts thorough safety testing on motorcycle helmets, including tests of the shell, chin bar, and face shield’s ability to withstand impact or penetration.
Your license to ride—getting a New York motorcycle license
Riding a motorcycle safely requires that riders develop certain skills that drivers of passenger vehicles don’t have or need, and earning a license (and the skills required to get one) can mean a life-or-death difference for riders. On average, unlicensed motorcyclists account for about 30% of the nation’s motorcycle fatalities each year. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles won’t allow motorcyclists on the road who haven’t proven that they have the necessary skills to ride by completing certain practice and testing requirements. Only then will the DMV grant an applicant their Class M or Class MJ license (the type of license required for an adult or an under-18 motorcycle rider, respectively).
In order to obtain a Class M license in New York, applicants must:
- Obtain a permit: The first step in getting a Class M license is to obtain a motorcycle permit by passing a written test. Applicants should prepare by studying the New York State Motorcycle Operator’s Manual. Test-takers can expect questions on topics such as required equipment on every motorcycle, motorcycle controls and operation, and crash avoidance while on a bike.
- Practice with an experienced rider: Class M license applicants must spend at least ten hours riding a motorcycle while under the supervision of an adult aged 21 or older who has a motorcycle license themselves. While this is the minimum amount of practice required, 30+ hours of supervised practice is the recommended amount.
- Take the motorcycle road test or obtain a waiver: The final step in obtaining a Class M license is to take the road test issued by the DMV. Alternately, if you already have a valid driver’s license in another class (either A, B, C, D, DJ or E), you can take a Basic Rider Course or Basic Rider Course 2 and present the New York State Motorcycle Safety Foundation-issued completion card to the DMV to obtain a waiver of the road test requirement. Those attempting to waive the road test must be 16 years of age or older, have a valid motorcycle learner permit, and have taken the Basic Rider Course within two years of applying for their Class M license.
Insurance Options for New York Motorcycle Riders
New York is a no-fault state when it comes to insuring passenger vehicle drivers, but motorcyclists are excluded from no-fault laws. This means that motorcycle riders aren’t guaranteed the same lost wage and medical cost coverage that passenger vehicles are entitled to receive. That said, it does mean that motorcyclists don’t have to meet the “serious injury” threshold that drivers of passenger vehicles must surpass to file a lawsuit for damages against an at-fault driver. There are also certain no-fault aspects to New York motorcycle insurance coverage. For example, a pedestrian injured in an accident with a motorcycle can obtain no-fault coverage of their injuries through the motorcycle’s insurance coverage, as can a driver or passenger in another vehicle who was injured in a crash involving a motorcycle.
Minimum insurance coverage requirements may not be enough to offer full protection to motorcycle accident victims
As with insurance coverage for passenger vehicles, New York imposes certain minimum amounts of insurance that motorcycle riders must carry. Motorcyclists must carry coverage of at least $25,000 to cover another individual’s injuries in a crash, $50,000 in bodily injury costs per motorcycle accident, and $10,000 in coverage for damage to other people’s property. Riders must also carry an equivalent amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Carrying the bare minimum amount of insurance coverage may not pay off in the long run. Motorcyclists aren’t just more likely to be involved in an accident; they’re also more likely to be seriously hurt when they’re involved in a crash. Serious accident victims often incur well over $25,000 in injury-related expenses, leaving them with huge amounts of medical debt as they try to get back on their feet after an accident. For this reason, it often makes sense for motorcyclists to carry a greater amount of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to protect themselves after a crash.
Since motorcyclists aren’t prohibited from filing a lawsuit unless their injuries meet very specific requirements, it makes sense for a motorcyclist injured in an accident to speak with a skilled New York personal injury lawyer after a crash. The seasoned and knowledgeable Long Island motorcycle accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Cohen & Jaffe offer free consultations to motorcycle accident victims. Let the experienced New York motorcycle accident lawyer help you understand whether you’re a good candidate to file a claim for damages after a motorcycle crash, and what you stand to recover in money damages based on the unique facts of your claim.
For a free legal consultation with a Personal Injury lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900
A broadside accident is commonly referred to as a T-bone crash and involves the front end of one vehicle striking the side of another vehicle. Any broadside motorcycle accident is likely to involve serious injuries to the rider.
Motorcyclists have very limited protection. A collision in which the motorcycle is struck in the side by another vehicle puts the motorcyclist at risk of harm. Even when the motorcycle strikes another vehicle, the motorcycle rider may be thrown from the bike into the side of the vehicle or onto the pavement and sustain injuries.
If you suffered severe injuries or your loved one has been killed in a T-bone motorcycle accident in Long Island, you will want to consult with a Long Island motorcycle accident attorney about your legal rights. Insurance companies often try to blame motorcyclists for causing crashes, even when the other motorist was at fault. Insurers try to pay as little as possible to resolve injury claims.
Long Island Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Near Me 516-358-6900
Pursuing Justice, Two Wheels at a Time
The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP know how to counter the anti-motorcycle bias and stand up for your rights. We fight to pursue the maximum level of compensation for your suffering and financial hardships. Our firm has a successful track record handling all types of auto accidents.
We will help with every detail.