Our Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Discusses Motorcycle Road Hazards
Road hazards, any Vancouver personal injury lawyer would say, are common causes of motorcycle mishaps. What has little effect on a car, like wet or uneven pavement or small objects, can make a motorcycle crash. Riders should recognize such hazards, watch for them, and avoid them. Negligence law determines liability for biker injuries in road hazard accidents.
Common Motorcycle Road Hazards
Motorcyclists encounter many more road hazards than do four-wheeled vehicles. Motorcycle beginners should not assume that after driving cars for years they know the dangers. It is essential to know before hitting the road what might amount to a motorcycle hazard:
- Rough, bumpy roads from disrepair, construction activity, or resurfacing efforts, can be treacherous.
- Gravel is especially troublesome while cornering and downshifting. Gravel tends to be common on winding roads, which require frequent cornering. Accidents on gravel often involve too much speed, which need not be high to be too fast for the surface.
- Expansion joints connect two road sections or a road section to a bridge for road expansion or contraction without cracking. The uneven surfaces, slick when wet, cause many motorcycle crashes.
- Some open bridge joints are wide and difficult for motorcycles.
- Animals that suddenly run across the roadway can be difficult to avoid without swerving and risking collisions with cars. Deer are dangers in areas with large herds.
- Slick road surfaces are much more hazardous for two-wheeled motorcycles than for more stable, four-wheeled cars. Slick surfaces are even more dangerous when the biker must turn or stop quickly. Leaves, painted crosswalk lines, streetcar tracks, and deposits of anti-freeze or oil can be quite slippery, especially when wet. When rain comes on a dry day, dirt and oil on the road combine with the water to form slippery mud. The first half hour of rain is always a dangerous time on the road.
- Snow and ice are riskier for motorcycles than for cars.
- Railway tracks and crossings sometimes railway crossing areas have metal or wood between the tracks, which become extremely slick when wet.
- Trash, debris, or litter in the road is more hazardous to motorcycles than to cars. As obstacles they can cause crashes, and as projectiles can strike and injure riders.
The best protective defenses when riding down the road on a motorcycle are training on safe bike handling, constant caution, and anticipation of hazards. A Vancouver personal injury lawyer has made some suggestions for safe riding:
- Avoid heavy traffic whenever possible, and travel when traffic is lighter with more room and time to maneuver. Use routes less-traveled with unobstructed vision.
- Never follow closely but stay at a safe distance in which the bike can stop in time to prevent trouble.
- Maintain constant surveillance of the road the roadside area. Watch for other cars, children playing, small animals, painted surfaces, and adjust accordingly.
- Think of ways to evade potential road hazards. Consider whether travel on a shoulder would be safe, or be aware of other cars nearby and what the drivers may do.
- Make notes of hazards on roads regularly used to anticipate dangerous problems.
- Ride slowly when necessary. Road speed should relate reasonably to visibility.
- If on the road when rain starts, stop and wait for it to end if possible. If not, wait for least a half hour before resuming the ride.
Liability for Road Hazard Accidents
Whether an injured motorcyclist can recover compensatory damages for injuries and losses depends on the type of road hazard, whether someone should have removed or eliminated it, the conduct of the motorcyclist, the conduct of other drivers, if any, and other factors.
Tort law of negligence governs these cases generally. When negligent, a party carelessly, irresponsibly, or thoughtlessly harms or injures another person in violation of a duty to do no such harm. In road hazard accidents, negligent parties might be:
- The state, county, or municipal government responsible for maintenance of the roadway might be negligent if it had actual or constructive notice of the hazard and could have acted by at least posting a warning to prevent it from causing the accident.
- Nongovernmental individuals, businesses, or enterprises might be negligent, if, as an example, a biker collides with a keg that rolls off a beer truck, the brewery might be liable for the biker’s injuries.
- Biker behavior might contribute causative negligence to the accident by speeding, weaving, or riding recklessly; if so, such contributory negligence may prevent recovery of some or perhaps all damages depending on comparative in a road hazard accident.
Get Help from a Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer
Motorcycle accident plaintiffs need counsel with specific legal knowledge and experience. Loren Etengoff knows how dangerous inattentive drivers can be to bikers. He knows how to confront adjusters who always blame the motorcycle. He knows how best to prove liability by negligence. Call (360) 693-2919 for the Etengoff Pak Law Group to speak with a premier Vancouver personal injury lawyer today for a free case consultation.