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Legal Rights of Motorcyclists

Posted on November 30, 2016

Motorcycle AccidentA motorcycle driver has to abide by the laws of California, but has a slightly different environment. A driver has a few extra laws to follow including helmet and equipment laws. If a motorcycle driver doesn’t abide by these laws and is involved in a motorcycle accident, he or she may “forfeit” part of a settlement or award because he or she may be considered partially negligent in the crash.

To learn if you have a case if you were in a motorcycle accident, contact a San Bernardino motorcycle accident lawyer.

California and San Bernardino Motorcycle Accident Statistics

In 2013, 272 people were injured or killed in accidents involving motorcycles in San Bernardino. Of those, 35 were fatal accidents. In the entire state of California, 463 people were injured or killed. Of those, 417 were wearing helmets and 35 were not wearing helmets, and is is unknown whether 11 were wearing a helmet.

Motorcyclists are more apt to be in an accident because car and truck drivers just do not see the motorcycles.

Protecting Yourself While Riding Your Motorcycle

Motorcycle SafetyYou can reduce the risk of being a statistic by making sure you follow all of the rules pertaining to motorcyclists, including wearing a helmet and making sure your bike meets California’s code for the size of the bike. For example, your feet must be able to touch the ground and the handlebars must be within the state’s height requirements.

San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorneys at iAccident Lawyer are able to get a better award or settlement if the court does not find you partially negligent in the crash. As with a car or truck, if you have a light out, you could be fined. However, this is more dangerous on a motorcycle since the lights help others see you, even in the daytime. Always ride with your high beams on, even during the day, when it’s legal to do so.

In addition to a DOT approved helmet, ride with the appropriate clothing, which includes long sleeves, pants – not shorts, “hard shoes” as opposed to sneakers or open-toed sandals, and fingerless gloves to protect your knuckles and hands.

Laws Specific to Motorcycles

California defines a motorcycle as a “motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the rider designed to travel on not more than three wheels. It also defines a motor-driven cycle as a two-wheeled vehicle that has a motor with less than 150 cc. Motor-driven cycles are not allowed on freeways or expressways if there are signs that prohibit it. It’s probably not a good idea to drive anything that cannot keep up with traffic as people are not looking for a small vehicle that is going slower than the average speed of traffic.

California also has specific licensing requirements for motorcyclists. You must have a Class M1 license to drive a motorcycle. You may have to take and pass a safety course before you can get your motorcycle license. If you are under 21 years of age, the course is required before you can receive a motorcycle instruction permit. The course is not mandatory is you are over 21 years of age; however, it is recommended.

If you are driving a motorcycle with a trailer, you cannot exceed 55 mph and must stay in the right lane on any highway with less than four lanes. On four lane highways, you must stay in the right two lanes. You may go into the left lanes if you need to pass someone. While motorcycles are allowed in the carpool lane, you cannot take a motorcycle with a trailer in the carpool lane.

Splitting Lanes

Motorcyclists are allowed to split lanes in California, but there are some restrictions. While it is not advisable to split lanes, if you do, make sure you know the rules for lane splitting. And, of course, since drivers are not expecting you to split lanes – many Californians do not realize that it’s legal – watch for people unexpectedly changing lanes, sticking their hands out the window or opening their doors.

Contact iAccident Attorney

Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer at iAccident Lawyer if you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle crash by calling (800) 920-0810.

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