Motorcycles On The Road
Motorcyclists know better than anyone the risks of operating a motorcycle as a primary means of transportation. Motorcycles are, by design, a particularly unsafe place to be in the event of a wreck. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), motorcyclists are almost 29 times more likely than occupants of passenger cars to die in accidents. Every driver—not just motorcyclists—must know the driving laws that apply to motorcyclists.
Knowing the driving laws for motorcyclists means that riders can avoid endangering themselves or breaking the law. It also means that they can fully understand their rights as motorcyclists.
If another motor vehicle does not respect your legal right to the road or any other similar matter, you may be entitled to pursue financial compensation. If you get hurt while operating a motorcycle, you should get in touch with a motorcycle accident lawyer to see whether you have a case or not. If you don’t know whether it is worth it to consult an attorney in your case, you need to know when to talk to a lawyer.
What Is the Right of Way?
The right of way is one of the most fundamental concepts related to operating a vehicle legally. That is because doing so incorrectly puts drivers at a greatly increased risk of injury or fatality, especially motorcyclists. According to an article published by the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention, “The most typical automobile—motorcycle collision takes place when an automobile maneuvers into the path of an approaching motorcycle by violating the motorcycle’s right of way.”
Unfortunately, despite its evident importance, the concept of the right of way can also be difficult to comprehend because “The law never really grants the right of way. The law simply states when the right of way must be yielded.”
Car accidents often occur because one driver fails to properly yield to another.
How Do You Yield the Right of Way?
Even if you understand the concept of yielding the right of way but don’t know how to do it in practice, you can get injured in a car accident. Properly yielding is a basic principle of driving. One way to think of a yield is as a mini stop. When stopping, you bring the vehicle to a complete halt. You only have to come to a complete halt when yielding if there is oncoming traffic.
When yielding, slow down to ensure there is no oncoming traffic. If you are unsure of whether there is oncoming traffic or not, you should always come to a complete stop and wait until you feel comfortable driving. Yielding can take place in a wide variety of situations, but there is no point in knowing when to yield if you do not first know how to yield.
When Should You Yield the Right of Way?
The failure to properly yield is a common cause of car accidents, you need to know the specific instances when you, as a driver, should yield. As a driver, you are responsible for maintaining the safety of others on the road. One of the most important ways of doing that is knowing when you have the responsibility to yield.
As the law only states when the right of way must be yielded and not when drivers have the right of way, you must know exactly when to yield.
You should yield the right of way:
- For people with seeing-eye dogs
- For people using any white cane, whether it has a red tip or not
- For pedestrians at a crosswalk
- At a yield sign
- At an uncontrolled intersection already inhabited by vehicles
- When turning left
- When driving on an unpaved road that leads to a paved road
- At “T” intersections
- When returning to the road after having parked the ca
In these situations, you have a responsibility to yield. Failing to yield at these moments puts you and others at an increased risk of being in a car accident. There are even legal penalties for breaking the law and failing to yield.
Failure to Yield
A person who fails to yield can be held legally responsible for their actions. Depending on the severity of the injury caused by the failure to yield, drivers found responsible may be subject to a heavy financial penalty and potential imprisonment.
The reason for the variety of potential punishments is that the law has different designations for different severities of misconduct. A failure to yield is considered egregious because of factors like exceptionally high speeds, ignoring an obvious stop, or drunkenness. Drivers who practice these behaviors can face charges of reckless driving, endangerment, and other high-penalty crimes.
Aside from the potential legal repercussions, there are other serious risks of failing to yield properly. Failing to yield can result in many different kinds of high-fatality accidents. As the Insurance Information Institute reports, fatal accidents are more probable when a motorcycle is involved.
Motorcycles and the Right of Way
For motorcyclists, collisions with other vehicles are extremely dangerous. In a motorcycle, there is no protection from the vehicle itself and no restraint keeping a rider from being thrown. For this reason, motorcyclists should be incredibly vigilant drivers and always maintain a safety-first mindset.
Like other drivers, motorcyclists can reduce their risk by familiarizing themselves with the concept of the right of way. Just because motorcyclists take up less road space than conventional vehicles does not mean they have less of a right to the road.
When Do Motorcycles Have the Right of Way?
Even though motorcycles are smaller than most other vehicles, they still are granted the right of way in every situation that any other car would be. In every instance a driver would yield to another car, they must also yield to a motorcycle.
Some drivers may be unaware of this and therefore be more likely to cut off a motorcycle in traffic than they would a bigger vehicle. Cutting off motorcycles is just as illegal as cutting off anyone else. If a driver is responsible for yielding, they must yield no matter the vehicle.
When Should Motorcyclists Yield the Right of Way?
Motorcyclists have the right of way as much as any other vehicle does. However, this also means motorcyclists must yield whenever a larger vehicle would. Just because motorcycles are typically faster and smaller than other vehicles does not mean riders have to yield less often. Motorcyclists share the same responsibilities to yield that drivers of other vehicles have.
Yielding in appropriate situations keeps every driver safer. Safety should be of the utmost importance for motorcyclists, so they should always be prepared to yield whenever appropriate.
What Should You Do if Someone Fails to Yield the Right of Way?
When another vehicle fails to yield the right of way, it can be scary. It is already difficult to ensure that you are doing everything right as a driver, so you might feel overwhelmed when another driver risks their safety and yours. In these moments, it is crucial to remain calm. Try focusing on your breathing or some other calming exercise. Whatever you do, try not to overreact. Many accidents are made worse or happen entirely because one of the drivers overcorrected their vehicle.
Overcorrecting while trying to avoid an accident can happen in several different ways. According to the International Association of Traffic and Safety Sciences, “overcorrection or oversteering is ranked 7th among the factors associated with fatal crashes.”
Stomping on the brakes while going at high speed is an example of an overcorrection. Attempting to avoid accidents by jerking the wheel hard in one direction to get away from another car can have terrible repercussions and may increase your risk of fatality.
If a driver fails to yield and you are in an accident, establish your safety and contact emergency services. Next, attempt to get the information of the person who hit you. If the person flees, try to get their license plate number.
However, if you need immediate medical attention, do not worry about getting the driver’s information. Safety should always be your top priority as a driver. There are often traffic cameras in areas where yields are common to ensure that those who leave the scene are still held responsible.
Your Legal Right to Compensation
Motorcyclists who get injured when another driver fails to yield may be entitled to seek financial compensation. According to the III, motorcycle crashes carry a much higher fatality risk and grievous bodily harm than car-on-car crashes.
The recovery process for victims of motorcycle crashes can be prolonged and expensive. The medical bills that pile up can seem impossible to handle and can even lead to serious debt. No motorcyclist deserves this fate simply for choosing to drive a motorcycle.
You are responsible for driving correctly and maximizing your safety as a motorcyclist. You are not responsible for ensuring that other drivers follow the law. If another driver’s failure to yield causes you personal injury, you should not pay for the fallout. Thankfully, a motorcycle accident lawyer can represent you.
A motorcycle accident lawyer will be very familiar with the specific ins and outs of the legal system as it relates to motorcyclists in their state. The particular laws for obtaining compensation differ greatly from state to state, find a motorcycle accident lawyer who works primarily in your area.
Can You Get Compensation Without a Lawyer?
Obtaining a motorcycle accident lawyer requires an investment on the victim’s part. Sometimes, finding the right motorcycle accident attorney while recovering physically from an accident can be overwhelming. This stress might lead some to consider representing themselves in court, which is never a good idea. A study published by the Virginia State Bar found that “both plaintiffs and defendants have substantially higher success rates when represented than when they are unrepresented.”
You should not be asking yourself, “Can I try to get compensation without a motorcycle accident attorney?” but instead, “Should I try to get compensation without a motorcycle accident attorney?” The answer to the latter question is a definitive “no.”
The laws regarding pursuing compensation following a motorcycle accident vary greatly from state to state. They are also full of complex legal jargon, meaning they can be difficult to comprehend without years of training.
If you want the highest chance of succeeding and receiving compensation for your injuries, you should contact a professional motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible.
Choosing the Right Legal Representation
Choosing the most qualified legal representation is one of the wisest ways to ensure that your case has the greatest chance of succeeding. That is why you need a lawyer with experience in motorcycle accidents.
It is always best for the attorney to be based in the state where the accident occurred. If you are injured while traveling out of state, it is wise to work with a motorcycle accident attorney who resides in the area of the crash.
Professional legal counsel will always give you better odds of success than representing yourself, so contact a lawyer to pursue your case.