San Diego Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
While we can’t undo the accident, our San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys can help ease your financial stress. Motorcyclists are some of the most vulnerable drivers on the road- and there’s no shortage of them in California. This vulnerability, unfortunately, can lead to devastating and life-altering injuries if involved in a crash.
As a San Diego motorcycle accident lawyer, Scott Liljegren recently helped an injured motorcyclist recover a total of $675,000 after a negligent driver cut him off, resulting in a fractured spinal injury for the biker.
Motorcycle riders must be aware of their legal rights and remedies if they are involved in a traffic accident. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle wreck it is important to consult with an attorney. Contact the motorcycle accident lawyers at the Liljegren Law Group today to speak to an experienced San Diego personal injury attorney.
San Diego, CA Motorcycle Laws
You might be contemplating buying a bike for the first time, or perhaps you’re a seasoned motorcycle veteran. Either way, it’s helpful to understand which motorcycle laws apply to you in San Diego. These requirements evolve and might even change each year, so it’s important to keep abreast of the rules that might affect you.
Here’s what you need to know about owning and operating a motorcycle in California:
Do You Have the Right License?
California law stipulates that anyone who owns or operates a motorcycle in the state must have a special license. California has two types of motorcycle licenses: an M1 and an M2. An M1 gives you the authority to ride a scooter or a moped, while an M2 allows you to ride any motorcycle. If you want to ride a motorcycle, you can obtain your M2 by taking a written test and passing a road exam. Upon passing the road test and written examination, you’ll receive a permanent M2 motorcycle license.
Are You Following Safety Laws?
The state of California takes motorcycle safety very seriously. Motorcycle riders are vulnerable to severe injuries in accidents, because they lack adequate protective devices like seat belts and airbags. One of the best ways you can reduce your risk of serious injury is by following California’s motorcycle safety laws. For example, you must wear a helmet at all times while operating your motorcycle – this applies to every California citizen and visitor, regardless of experience or age. Secondly, you must use your daytime headlights to alert others to your presence on the road – unless your vehicle was manufactured prior to 1978 and doesn’t have them.
Are You Properly Insured?
California sets certain minimum insurance requirements in case of an accident. Motorcycle coverage is like other vehicle coverage in California – you must carry at least $15,000 in coverage for death or injury to one person and $30,000 in coverage to two or more people. Additionally, you must carry at least $5,000 in property damage. While these are the minimums required by state law, it’s also a good idea to obtain additional and optional coverage if you can afford it. This shields you from liability in an accident and will prevent you from paying out of pocket for your own medical bills. An uninsured and underinsured policy is an essential part of any insurance plan. This coverage kicks in when an at-fault driver does not have enough coverage to pay for the full extent of your injuries (which is certainly possible in a serious motorcycle accident).
How Does California’s Lane Splitting Law Work?
California is one of the only states to allow a controversial practice called “lane splitting.” This practice occurs when you go in between two cars in separate lanes – in other words, you drive your motorcycle between two lanes. This practice makes many drivers nervous, but the state does not specifically outlaw it.
However, lane splitters must practice safety and prudence when lane splitting. It would not be advisable, for example, to lane split when highway traffic is moving at a 70 mph. However, lane splitting might be reasonable and allowed when moving at slow speeds (which is common in rush hour in the San Diego area).
Lane splitting laws continuously evolve and can be the subject of controversy in California. If you were acting recklessly while lane splitting, you could be partially at fault for an accident. Use caution and common sense while splitting lanes.
Knowing the basic motorcycle laws and regulations in California can help you avoid liability and maximize your safety while operating these vehicles on San Diego roadways. If you have further questions about your rights as a motorcyclist, contact a motorcycle injury attorney.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the Department of Transportation, Motorcycle riders are 4 times more likely than other motorists to be seriously injured or killed in a traffic related accident. Even further, per mile driven, they are 16 times more likely to be killed that a driver of an automobile is. Motorcyclists are at an increased risk for serious or even fatal injuries because of the lack of protection when traveling. There is rarely any protection between the rider and the road. Riders enjoy their freedom on the road, but with that freedom comes the exposure of increased danger.
Some added risks San Diego motorcyclists face include:
- Motorcyclists are about 26 times more likely to die in a crash than someone riding in a passenger car, and are 5 times as likely to be injured.
- About half of all motorcycles involved in a fatal crash collided with another vehicle.
- A little over one third of motorcycle riders that died in a crash were speeding, approximately twice the rate for drivers of passenger vehicles or light trucks.
- More than 80 percent of all reported motorcycle accidents result in injury or death to the motorcyclist.
- Each year, more than 2,200 people are killed and 55,000 injured in motorcycle accidents.
- In 2011, 35 percent of motorcycle fatalities were a direct result of the rider speeding.
- That same year, 42 percent of motorcycle accident fatalities involved 2 or more vehicles. A large portion of those crashes (38 percent) were a direct result of another vehicle turning left in front of the motorcycle that was either going straight, passing or overtaking another vehicle.
San Diego County Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
Motorcycle accidents result in more injuries than auto accidents. The motorcycle itself provides no head injury protection to the rider or passenger. Only a helmet worn by the rider can help protect the head from injury. In fact, in a study of motorcycle accidents between 1984 and 1995, helmets use saved the lives of 7,400 riders. However, had all riders involved in crashes been wearing helmets, an additional 6,300 fatalities could have been prevented. Ejection often occurs in motorcycle accidents and is a common injury pathway. If a motorcycle comes to a sudden stop and the rider is ejected from the motorcycle, the rider will forcibly strike objects in the path as well as the ground.
California has strict laws in place requiring drivers and passengers on motorcycles to wear a helmet at all times while moving. It’s also illegal for a helmeted passenger to ride along with a driver not wearing a helmet. In the above graph, all deceased riders were wearing helmets; however, helmets also saved many lives in other accidents. Head over to our San Diego car accident page for detailed directions on what to do if you’re involved in or witness a motorcycle-involved crash.
How to Hire a San Diego Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced with motorcycle injury cases. The San Diego motorcycle accident attorneys at the Liljegren Law Group have experience in litigating serious injury cases associated with motorcycle accident cases. Contact one of our attorneys today at 866-613-9906. Our offices are located throughout California and our attorneys have years of success in motorcycle accident cases.
The Liljegren Law Group has been recognized as one of the top motorcycle accident law firms in California. We represent motorcycle victims throughout Southern California. If you are wondering if you need a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney, chances are that you do. Let the Liljegren Law Group offer you legal advice and guidance to make an informed decision. Call us today at 866-613-9906. Our lawyers will help you and your family get the monetary compensation you deserve.
SAFETY TIPS: Most Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents and How to Avoid Them
Many Californians enjoy motorcycling, but it’s vital for every biker and motorcycle passenger to understand the inherent risks of motorcycling. Accidents happen for a number of reasons, and some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents are completely preventable with careful attention to the road, good judgment, and situational awareness.
Federal statistics indicate that head-on collisions with larger cars are the leading cause of motorcycle accidents. Crashes involving motorcycles and larger vehicles represent more than half of all motorcycle accident deaths. In almost 80% of these crashes, the other vehicle hits the motorcycle from the front. Motorcyclists have very little protection from these accidents and often suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries. The best thing motorcyclists can do to prevent head-on collisions is to drive safely, signal at appropriate times, and ride at safe speeds. Most head-on crashes happen very quickly and it can be very hard for a motorcyclist to anticipate such a crash.
Motorcycles are at a higher risk of crashing while making left-hand turns. More than 40% of all motorcycle accidents involve a left-turning car or motorcycle. If a motorcyclist makes a left turn on an open green light, he or she risks impact from a car traveling straight in the opposite direction. Similarly, a left-turning car can strike a motorcyclist traveling straight through an intersection. Motorcyclists should only turn when it is safe to do so and bear in mind they are much harder to spot than larger vehicles.
Lane-splitting, as previously discussed, is the act of moving between adjacent lanes of slower-moving traffic. While some states expressly prohibit lane-splitting, California has no such law. Lane-splitting in a safe manner using good judgment is perfectly legal, but it can still be dangerous. Motorcyclists should only resort to lane-splitting to avoid a collision or to aid the flow of traffic. Weaving between lanes of traffic simply to arrive at a destination faster is dangerous and can easily lead to accidents.
DUI and Unsafe Riding
Some motorcyclists cause accidents while riding under the influence or engaging in other risky behaviors on the road. Motorcycles are fast and very maneuverable, tempting some riders to speed or ride aggressively. Driving any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is extremely dangerous and illegal. Motorcyclists should never attempt to ride while intoxicated and always abide by the rules of the road.
Motorcycles are more susceptible to road hazards than other larger cars. Debris in the road can cause a motorcycle’s wheel to lose traction on the road, causing a crash. Dead animals, uneven lanes, icy roads, and other unexpected hazards are far more dangerous to motorcyclists than other drivers. Bikers need to pay close attention to the road ahead and always err on the side of caution to avoid obstacles in the road.
These are just a few ways motorcycle accidents happen. Victims of motorcycle crashes often sustain broken bones, lacerations, internal injuries, brain injuries, spinal cord wounds, and other serious injuries. While some crashes are unavoidable, California motorcyclists can limit their risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries with good judgment and knowing how to avoid these common causes of accidents.