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How Do Motorcycle Accidents Differ from Those Involving Cars?

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Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 703-370-8088
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Motorcycles are widely known to be dangerous for those who ride them. Though not always effective, the passenger compartment coupled with seatbelts in a car acts as a protective cage and restraint to shield occupants from impact with the pavement and other vehicles. The lacks of these protections mean that riders and passengers on motorcycles face unmitigated impact with speeding cars and asphalt—a losing proposition for flesh and bone. A collision pattern involving two cars resulting in minor property damage and no injury can cause total destruction of the motorcycle and great bodily injury or death to the rider. Further, some might not consider the danger motorcycles pose to motorists in cars as well. In any case, motorcycle accidents should not be taken lightly. 

High Side Crash

Since a motorcycle has only two wheels, front to back stability stands alone, without the side to side stability inherent in four-wheel configuration. This means that bikes can easily fall to one side if not properly managed by the rider.

Abrupt braking or slippery road conditions might cause a car to fishtail, and they achieve the same effect with a motorcycle. However, when the angle between the direction of travel and orientation of the bike becomes too great, the friction of the tires on pavement slows the tires yet the rest of the bike and rider above the ground continue to move forward. This results in the bike and its rider being slammed to the ground.

Low Side Crash

When motorcycles take corners or curves, they lean. The lean offsets the force pulling the bike and rider toward the outside of the curve, and the amount of the lean increases with speed. When a rider is leaning into a curve and either leans too far for the speed or the bike rolls over slippery surfaces such as oil of gravel, the tires slide toward the outside of the curve instead of gripping the pavement, and the bike goes down. A low side crash is usually the least catastrophic type of accident involving a motorcycle.

As with any type of traffic accident, one crash can spawn another. Regardless of type of accident, motorcycle riders crashing on the roadway become vulnerable to being run over or hit by cars not even involved in the initial accident even moments after the initial incident. Furthermore, downed riders, wrecked motorcycles, and pieces thereof become instant hazards on the roadway and force other motorists to avoid them, often with little time or space within which to react. This can cause secondary crashes.

Motorcycles in the sport bike class are designed for extreme speed, acceleration, and cornering agility. At times, those who wish not merely to commute between points, but rather those who wish to stunt and achieve thrills ride these bikes. Excessive speed on stunts performed on the public roadway along other motorists’ amount to reckless behavior and gives rise to civil liability.

Contact A Legal Representative

Traffic crashes can be devastating in terms of both property damage and personal injury for anybody involved, even those in passenger cars. Riding a motorcycle requires a special endorsement on the rider’s driver license, without which, the rider is riding both illegally and negligently. If you or a loved one has been involved in a traffic crash involving a motorcycle, learn your rights. Contact the Kamerow Law Firm for assistance with your case by calling 703-370-8088.