Motorcycle accidents are extremely dangerous because the level of protection on a motorcycle is minimal. Many motorcycle accidents result in serious injury or even death.
Investigating a motorcycle accident is especially difficult because there are a variety of factors that could have contributed to the motorcycle accident.
Since cyclists are more exposed than other drivers on the road, automobile accidents involving motorcycles tend to result in more severe injuries. Our results speak for themselves. If you’ve been in an auto accident in West Virginia, call our Lacy Law motorcycle accident attorneys! Contact Lacy Law today.
WEST VIRGINIA MOTORCYCLE LAWS
Thousands of motorcyclists are injured or killed every year in collisions, and there are over 18,000 motorcycles registered in West Virginia alone. Motorcycle owners in West Virginia need to be aware of the laws our state holds concerning motorcycles, to not only avoid fines or other penalties for violating those laws but also to stay as safe as possible on the road.
LAWS REGARDING PROTECTIVE GEAR
In West Virginia, motorcycle riders must wear the appropriate safety gear. While on the road, motorcyclists must wear eye protection, such as goggles, shatter-resistant safety glasses, or a face shield that complies with the American National Standards Institute for Head, Eye, and Respiratory Protection.
Windscreens and windshields on motorcycles must also be shatter-resistant. West Virginia follows a universal helmet law, so every person driving or riding a motorcycle must wear a helmet. Some states do not have such a restriction, but research has proven that helmets save lives and reduce the damage riders suffer from accidents.
Some motorcyclists take advantage of the small size and heightened maneuverability of their motorcycles to perform dangerous actions on the road. One common example is lane-splitting or sharing a single lane with another vehicle. This practice is permissible in some states, but illegal in West Virginia. Lane-splitting is dangerous, but some motorcyclists choose to do this to get around slower traffic. If you’re from another state or are accustomed to lane-splitting, be sure you cease this practice as soon as you cross into West Virginia.
Despite lane-splitting being illegal in West Virginia, you are legally permitted to share a lane with another motorcycle rider. Two motorcycle riders can ride side-by-side in the same lane, and this is common when motorcycle enthusiasts ride together or during motorcycle events. However, make sure if you choose to share a lane with another rider that you do so safely. Always use your turn signals and stay aware of your spacing between yourself and the other rider.
MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE LAWS
One more area of legal consideration motorcyclists should remember is West Virginia’s minimum insurance requirements. Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than typical passenger vehicles due to their size and the rider’s exposure to external elements, so insurance policies for motorcycles tend to be more expensive than typical car insurance. A motorcycle insurance policy needs to have the following amounts of liability coverage:
- $10,000 coverage for property damage
- $40,000 accident coverage
- $20,000 bodily injury coverage per person
West Virginia follows a comparative negligence law. This means if a plaintiff is found to be partially responsible for an accident, the amount of compensation he or she may receive will be reduced by a proportionate amount. For example, if you would have won $100,000 in damages for an accident, but a judge deems you 10% at fault for it, he or she would reduce your damages by 10%, leaving you with $90,000. For additional information regarding comparative negligence, speak with a qualified West Virginia motorcycle accident attorney.
RISKS OF RIDING A MOTORCYCLE
When you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re already subject to unique risks compared to driving a typical car. The most obvious is that there’s no protection between you and the road. There are no seatbelts or airbags to keep you safe during collisions. You’re also less visible to other vehicles which makes them more likely to hit you accidentally.
Even small road hazards are more of a threat to bikers than they are car drivers. This can vary from things like small debris to something as trivial as wet pavement. This is due to the motorcycle’s decreased stability which makes emergency braking and swerving incredibly difficult to handle.
CAUSES OF MOTORCYCLE COLLISIONS
When an individual makes the decision to ride a motorcycle, they are instantly put at an increased risk of injury and death. Thus, riders must obtain the proper license to operate these vehicles safely. Of course, even with the correct licenses, these riders may be involved in an accident either due to their negligence, or the negligent actions of another driver.
Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Adverse weather conditions
- Blind spots
- Distracted drivers
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Inexperienced riders
- Motorcycle malfunction
- Not abiding by traffic laws
- Roadway hazards
- Vehicle failed to see motorcycle
Unfortunately, these causes of accidents may result in injuries to the motorcyclists involved, as they have little protection to the outside environment.
Lacy Law’s personal injury attorneys will go the distance with insurance companies to ensure optimal recovery of funds. Our successful trial record and attentive team will fight every step of the way to achieve the best possible award as your motorcycle accident attorneys.
You have a right to the road – and Lacy Law never gives up. Contact Us today.