If you are a motorcyclist in the state of California, the importance of having adequate motorcycle insurance cannot be emphasized strongly enough. Keep reading to learn more about:
1. the risks that motorcyclists face in this state
2. the minimum insurance requirements for California motorcyclists
3. your legal rights if you are injured by a negligent driver while motorcycling in California
What risks do motorcyclists face when riding in this state? The statistics are quite disturbing.
WHAT ARE THE NUMBERS ON MOTORCYCLE INJURIES AND DEATHS?
In 2015, out of 3,176 traffic deaths in California, 462 of the fatalities – almost fifteen percent – were motorcyclists.
Thirty-five motorcyclists died in accidents in San Bernardino County in 2015; another 35 died in collisions in Riverside County that year.
Apart from the fatal injuries, 822 motorcyclists in San Bernardino County sustained serious injuries in 2015; another 905 motorcyclists suffered serious injuries in Riverside County in 2015.
Injury statistics indicate just how important it is for motorcyclists to carry sufficient insurance coverage, and the law in California makes some of that insurance coverage mandatory.
WHAT ARE CALIFORNIA’S MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS?
Listed here is the minimum motorcycle liability insurance coverage required by the state of California – the same minimum coverage that is required for an automobile:
1. $5,000 for property damage
2. $15,000 for injury or death to one person
3. $30,000 for injury or death to multiple persons
WHY DO MOTORCYCLISTS NEED UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE?
This is the minimum legal insurance coverage for motorcycles, but if it’s all you have, you will not be covered if you are injured by a negligent, uninsured motorist in this state.
In 2015, the Insurance Information Institute reported that 15.2 percent of the drivers in California – almost one in six – are driving with no auto insurance whatsoever.
A motorcyclist in California really should carry uninsured motorist coverage – in case he or she is injured by an uninsured driver.
With uninsured motorist coverage, your own insurance company will pay for your injuries and lost wages, just as an at-fault driver’s company would pay if that driver were insured.
Some states do not require motorcyclists to wear a helmet if they carry a particular amount of insurance coverage, but California is not one of those states.
All motorcyclists and their passengers are required by California law to wear an approved safety helmet at all times while riding a motorcycle.
WHAT ARE THE TOP REASONS FOR MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS?
Motorcycles are popular and fun. They are also economical transportation. However, motorcycles are also a serious responsibility, and they can be quite dangerous in many situations.
While motorcyclists in California face a variety of safety challenges, listed here are the leading reasons for motorcycle accidents in our state:
1. Vehicles turning left: When a vehicle makes a left turn in front of an oncoming motorcycle, it is the riskiest situation that motorcyclists face. Forty-two percent of auto-motorcycle collisions involve either the motorcyclist or the driver making a left turn.
2. Blinded drivers: When a driver’s line of vision is blocked by parked cars, buildings, or any other obstruction, the driver may inch the vehicle out slowly and blindly into a lane of traffic, which can be calamitous for an oncoming motorcyclist.
3. Debris in the road: Oil on the pavement, potholes, and all kinds of objects on the road put motorcyclists at risk.
4. Inexperienced riders: It takes a lot of riding hours to be an experienced motorcycle operator. Until you have put in those hours, try to avoid highways and busy streets. If you ride a motorcycle and you have never taken any formal safety training, you should.
5. Negligent drivers and motorcyclists: Negligence – which includes speeding, reckless driving, and driving under the influence – is the cause of all sorts of traffic collisions, but the injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash are likely to be catastrophic or even fatal.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THOSE INJURED BY NEGLIGENCE?
Motorcyclists in California who are injured by another driver’s negligence are entitled by California law to complete compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and all other injury-related losses and damages.
In southern California, an experienced San Bernardino personal injury attorney can safeguard your legal rights and fight for the maximum compensation available to a motorcyclist injured by a negligent motorist.
If you are injured by another driver while you are operating a motorcycle in California, a good personal injury lawyer will work diligently to ensure that the at-fault driver fulfills his or her full legal obligation to you.
WHAT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS CAN MOTORCYCLISTS TAKE?
Veteran motorcyclists know the safety precautions, but if you are just starting as a motorcycle rider, consider these recommendations that can help you avoid serious accidents and injuries:
1. Wear a helmet. Dr. Terence O’Keeffe, a surgeon at the University of Arizona Medical Center, works with motorcycle injury victims. “There’s not a single study that suggests motorcycle helmets are a bad thing when it comes to motorcyclists,” he told Reuters.
2. Helmet use is the law in California, but a helmet is not the only important piece of safety gear for a motorcyclist. Gloves, boots, and a motorcycle jacket are essential for every motorcycle rider.
3. When a traffic light changes, take a moment to be sure that all of the crossing vehicles have stopped before you proceed. Never assume that drivers will stop. Negligent drivers run through red lights all the time in southern California.
4. Blind spots are still the cause of far too many collisions. The safest assumption is that drivers cannot see you unless and until they indicate that they can.
HOW CAN AN INJURY LAWYER HELP?
After you suffer a motorcycling injury, your health and your future must be your priorities. If you are injured by a negligent driver in a southern California motorcycle accident, take your case at once to an experienced San Bernardino personal injury attorney.
A personal injury lawyer will review your case for free and determine if you have an injury claim. If you take legal action, you’ll owe no attorney fees until and unless your attorney wins a settlement or verdict on your behalf.
If you survive a motorcycle accident, you may be catastrophically injured or permanently disabled. Seek medical help first, and then seek legal advice immediately. A good personal injury lawyer will fight aggressively for compensation – and justice – on your behalf.