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Mens Rea in Motorcycling

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Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC
5001 Seminary Road, Suite 110
Alexandria, VA 22311
Phone: 703-370-8088
Fax: 703-370-1714

With its mild year-round weather, beautiful countryside, and historic urban scenery, the streets and roadways in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area host a large number of motorcycles. While motorcycling can be a very relaxing and enjoyable activity, it also poses a great threat. These vehicles present a heightened level of danger to riders and passengers because of the lack of protections afforded by cars, such as a four-wheeled base providing inherent stability and a protective compartment coupled with seatbelts. In the case of crash, this lack of protection leaves flesh and bone defenseless and at the mercy of pavement and other swiftly moving vehicles.

Danger engenders caution

Under most circumstances, this increased level of danger elicits the same behavior among riders as the principle of cost and demand that is found in economic theory; the more costly something is, the lower demand is for that thing. In other words, since the price of an accident is so high in terms of personal injury, riders are usually extra vigilant and take strict measures to prevent the occurrence of one. The inverse of this same principle proved true decades ago when most states implemented seatbelt laws. The mandatory wearing of seatbelts raised the number of accidents on roadways because drivers felt safer, and therefore, the cost of an accident (in terms of personal injury) went down, raising the demand for accidents (in terms of relaxed vigilance against their occurrence and a resultant higher frequency of accidents.)

Risk takers

Despite this, there is a small minority of motorcyclists who are risk takers. These riders disregard the dangers and push their rides to the limits of safety. The usual bike of choice for these riders belongs to a class of motorcycles known as sport bikes. Characterized by an aggressive forward-leaning riding position, these vehicles are designed for speed and agility and are capable of frighteningly high levels of speed and acceleration.

Stunt riders

This small faction of motorcyclists create danger by performing dangerous stunts on public roadways including riding at speeds well in excess of 100 miles per hour and by performing both front wheelies and rear wheelies. Often, these thrill seekers ride in large groups.

While the brunt of the danger is borne by these stunt riders, the danger they create poses an insidious threat to all motorists sharing the roadway and pedestrians on nearby walkways because when a motorcycle loses control it becomes a projectile capable of causing severe damage and personal injury. Also, an errant motorcycle that strikes a car can cause the car to lose control, becoming a threat to others.

While most of these thrill-seekers are simply out for a fun ride and never mean to harm anyone, the choice to ride in a dangerous fashion constitutes recklessness, and therefore involves mens rea, which is defined as criminal intent.

Get legal assistance to fully recover for personal injury and property damage

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or property damage as a result of a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced accident attorney to properly demonstrate the fault, negligence and liability of others and to ensure that none becomes assigned to you. Contact the experienced accident attorneys at The Kamerow Law Firm, PLLC, for a free and confidential consultation by calling 703-370-8088.