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winter motorcycle safety, San Jose motorcycle accident attorneyCalifornia is well known for extended seasons of tropical weather—an ideal location for year-round motorcycling. There are several reasons why to choose a motorcycle as the primary means of transportation. Along with the thrill of the ride comes the added financial benefit and increased mobility through traffic jams. However, one disadvantage is apparent when it comes to their physical size in comparison to other vehicles in a collision. Precautions must be taken at all times for motorcycle safety. Moreover, there are additional precautions that should be considered during winter months to prevent motorcycle accidents

Safety Tips for All Driving Conditions

Motorcyclists must follow the same laws of the road as any other vehicle. Additionally, the state has mandated requirements and suggestions that are in place to protect these riders. These safety measures for riders include the following:

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motorcycle, lane-splitting, Santa Clara County motorcycle accident lawyerLane-splitting has long been a heated debate when it comes to the subject of motorcycle accidents. The topic has been so controversial, in fact, that just last year The Wall Street Journal reported that the state of California has been the only state in the U.S. to legalize the action thus far, setting a new precedent for the rest of the country. Other states have been following in California’s footsteps to push legislation that will allow motorcyclists to drive between lanes on the open road—an agenda not likely to disappear any time soon. Oregon, Texas, and Tennessee are just a few states aiming to make lane-splitting legal, and many others are close behind.

A Dangerous or Efficient Trend?

The idea behind the practice of lane-splitting is that it allows motorcyclists to reach their destinations faster while contributing to a smoother, less congested commute on the highway. This is considered especially helpful during rush-hour commute times. The drawbacks, of course, have been the largest source of opposition for those against the legislation. Lane-splitting can be dangerous for both the motorcyclist and nearby automobile drivers, as visibility is further limited and the space in which the motorcyclist must navigate is narrow, restricted, and at times obstructed.

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motorcycle accident, San Jose Personal Injury AttorneyBuses, cars, bikes, and our own two feet: on a daily basis, we are on the move. Luckily, we get to decide what moves us in most occasions. For many, their chosen mode of transportation is by motorcycle. There is just something about the breeze in your hair and against your face and the rumble of a motorcycle rolling on the pavement that gets pulses racing for millions of riders every day. For some, it is a pastime, something that can be enjoyed for long cruises on the weekend. For many others, it is their daily transportation. Who can blame them with the gas mileage? One thing is for sure; motorcycles are everywhere, and it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent motorcycle accidents.

When You Are the Motorcyclist

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), among the many contributing factors for motorcycle accidents are breaking speed limits and not knowing how to appropriately operate a motorcycle. This is not to say that these are the only factors that lead to accidents; the list is extensive. However, a few tips that you can use to potentially prevent a fatal accident are:

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Recently, the California Highway Patrol released safety tips for motorcycle riders in response to rising fatality and injury rates in motorcycle accidents. In a joint effort with the Office of Traffic Safety, May has been deemed Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.

There are more than 830,000 registered motorcycles in California alone, and 1.4 million motorcyclists. Data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that motorcycle fatalities increased from 9 percent to 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatality accidents from 2004 to 2013.

During 2013, 475 motorcyclists died in collisions, while another 13,143 were seriously injured. This is of concern in California, as the state has the largest number of motorcycle riders and owners. One of the CHP's safety tips is that motorcyclists should always wear their safety gear and helmets. Motorcyclists should additionally follow the speed limits and never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. They should also know their own driving limits and abilities and not fall to peer pressure to push themselves. Motorcyclists should also always drive defensively with the clear understanding that others may not be able to see them.

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California residents may be interested in an emerging technology that one day might prevent accidents involving motorcycles. The vehicle-to-vehicle communication system is being tested now on some automobiles, but the time may come when it could be used to prevent motorcycle accidents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation began a pilot test of the communications technology with 3,000 Michigan vehicles in August 2012. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration is now doing paperwork to extend this technology to sport utility vehicles, cars and pickups. This technology allows a vehicle's on-board sensors to communicate with other vehicles equipped with the same technology. Information the two vehicles share can include speed of the vehicles and distance between them, and whether one car is about to change lanes or make a left turn. Drivers are then alerted and can take action to avoid an accident.

One of the major causes of motorcycle accidents is motorists not seeing motorcycles until it is too late to avoid an accident. If the new technology can be applied to motorcycles, experts say it could dramatically reduce the number of motorcycle accidents, especially those involving left turns at intersections, multi-vehicle crashes and rear-end collisions. The sensors could warn inattentive drivers that a motorcycle is nearby.

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California motorcyclists should make road safety their absolute highest priority. Although motorcycles are fuel efficient and enjoyable, motorcyclists are also nearly thirty times more likely to experience a fatal accident than automobile drivers.

Statistics indicate that 42 percent of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol intoxication in some way. Nearly half of the fatalities listed speeding as a factor in the accident. Simply refusing to partake in either behavior will have the effect of reducing risk by an enormous degree. Antilock brakes have also been shown to have a large effect on fatality statistics. Riders with ABS brakes saw a 37 percent reduction in the fatality rate. Helmets also have a dramatic impact on the chances of a fatal result. They have been estimated to reduce the risk of death between 21 and 31 percent.

Riders over 60 years of age are at more risk. Older riders have been shown to be three times more likely to require hospitalization after an accident. Experts also speculate that issues such as poor proficiency and wrongly-fitted equipment increase the odds of an accident or fatality. They point out that modern motorcycles are much faster than the older models and may take some riders by surprise.

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Many California residents own and enjoy riding motorcycles. Many motorcycle enthusiasts argue that is no better way to enjoy our region's mild climate and scenic byways than from the back of a motorcycle. While riding a motorcycle is often considered by many to be the ideal way to enjoy many of Santa Clara County's beautiful mountain and canyon roads, motorcycles can also be dangerous and result in riders being seriously injured and even killed.

First responders were recently called to the scene of a serious motorcycle accident in which the body of the motorcyclist was pinned between his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and an SUV. Unfortunately, the man's injuries were too numerous and serious and he was pronounced dead at the accident scene.

According to the police report, the fatal accident occurred as the motorcyclist was attempting to navigate a curvy and winding mountain road. Upon encountering a turn in the road, the motorcyclist appears to have been driving too fast. His motorcycle crossed the center line and into the direct path of an oncoming SUV. The two vehicles collided head-on. The force of the collision resulted in the motorcyclist being thrown from him Harley and pinned between the two vehicles.

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California is one of a handful of states to have what is commonly referred to as lane splitting. The practice of lane splitting pertains to a manuever made by an individual on a motorcycle in which they effectively drive down the center of two lanes of traffic. Motorcyclists are allowed to engage in lane splitting when certain traffic conditions apply that warrant the use of the maneuver.

While considered safe and effective when enacted properly, the manuever is not without risks. Some motorists have been guilty of trying to prevent or obstruct a motorcyclist from passing. Not only is blocking a motorcyclist who is attempting to lane split illegal, it's also extremely dangerous and can result in serious motorcycle accidents.

A 20-year-old California woman was recently killed in a fatal motorcycle accident when the 21-year-old driver of the motorcycle on which she was a passenger was forced to suddenly stop. The accident occurred as the motorcycle was traveling about 30 MPH through standstill traffic. As the motorcycle approached an intersection, a truck that was hauling a trailer was blocking the motorcycle's passage.

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Highway driving may be stressful for some, due to the high speeds, especially when trying to make a left turn across traffic. Adding difficult-to-see vehicles, such as motorcycles, can increase the risk of becoming involved in San Jose car accidents.

A California Highway Patrol officer was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident recently. The officer was riding a motorcycle, when he was struck by a man in an SUV attempting to make a turn, across several lanes of traffic, into a residential area. The SUV was in the process of turning when the driver saw the motorcycle; the driver attempted to accelerate to clear the lane, but not able to do so before the motorcycle clipped his car. The motorcyclist was thrown from his motorcycle because of that impact, and was then hit by an SUV. The officer died at the scene.

Accidents involving a motorcycle and an automobile can be especially dangerous for the motorcyclist. Motorcycle riders are 26 times more likely to die in an accident than someone who is in an automobile, due in large part to the exposure of the rider. Motorcycles, being lighter and smaller than cars, are more difficult to see and can easily be obscured by other vehicles on the road, and lack safety features like airbags that protect car passengers.

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Owning and riding a motorcycle is the dream for many people. Particularly in cities like San Jose, where the weather is temperate for most of the year, people may want to take advantage a longer riding season. However, with the increase in motorcycle riders, there is also an increase in risk for a motorcycle rider to be involved in a car accident.

A motorcyclist from Sunnyvale recently crashed into the back of a car on the highway and was killed. The rider was thrown from the motorcycle, and then the bike caught fire. Officials believe that the rider was lane splitting on the highway when the accident occurred.

Lane splitting, which is legal in California, is when a motorcycle straddles the dividing line between lanes for the purpose of moving though slow traffic. At the time of the motorcycle accident early in the evening, traffic had been slow moving.

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In the blink of an eye, an automobile accident changes lives. It usually raises questions regarding our own liability (responsibility for the accident), liability of other drivers and the effects on the people peripherally involved.

A recent California motor vehicle accident raised some interesting liability questions; questions about who was responsible and to what extent the at-fault driver was responsible. An undercover San Jose police officer drove his van in front of a retired Sunnyvale police captain's motorcycle, causing a crash that severely injured the motorcycle driver.

The motorcyclist sued the city that employed the police officer driving the van for $1.4 million and was awarded over $600,000 by the jury. During the trial, the retired officer claimed that there had been an organized attempt on behalf of the city to minimize the blame on the San Jose police officer.

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A California motorcyclist recently lost his life in a motor vehicle accident in a Livermore neighborhood. Speed appears to be a factor but there is speculation that he may have been simply avoiding a small animal. Friends and family are grieving the loss of a good man, a victim of an unfortunate accident.

Studies have shown that there are plenty of reasons for motorcycle accidents. Often, someone else is at fault (such as another driver) and the injured motorcyclist (or that person's family in the case of a fatality) seeks compensation from the other party involved in the accident.

Three-fourths of the accidents that occur where a motorcycle is involved also include another vehicle, most often a passenger car. Two-thirds of those accidents are the fault of the driver of the car, not the motorcycle.

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Recently, unsafe left-turns contributed to two deadly motorcycle accidents in the Los Angeles area. Both accidents occurred on the Pacific Coast Highway near Long Beach. All users of the road should remember that motorcyclists have the same rights as other drivers and that motorcyclists are often overlooked because of their smaller size.

Two weekends ago a motorcyclist fatally crashed with a pickup truck on the Pacific Coast Highway north of the busy Seventh Street intersection. The 33-year-old motorcyclist was traveling at a high rate of speed and slammed into a truck that was completing a left-hand turn. The motorcyclist was rushed to a nearby hospital where he later passed away. The driver of the truck was cited for making an unsafe left turn.

Another deadly motorcycle accident occurred in the same area four months ago. The motorcyclist was traveling over the speed limit when the motorcyclist crashed into a vehicle that was completing a left-hand turn. The accident also occurred on the Pacific Coast Highway near Channel Drive.

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