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San Jose motorcycle accident lawyerWhen we hear about motorcycle accidents on the roadways, the news often revolves around other drivers and how they are at fault for collisions with motorcyclists. While it is true that drivers must exercise special caution when operating vehicles around motorcyclists, those riding motorcycles can have just as much of an impact on highway safety. We all share the roadways, and we all have a part to play.

What You Can Do as a Motorcyclist

The California Highway Patrol reports that Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System data has shown a continual increase in motorcycle fatalities since 2011. The CHP’s motorcycle safety program exists to help equip riders with the education, skills, and tools they need to take responsibility for their part on the roads as they operate and interact with other drivers. 

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San Jose personal injury attorneyThe spring and summer months are upon us in beautiful California. The days get longer and of course warmer. With the change in weather comes the inevitable urge for motorcyclists to get out and ride. As always, motorists need to be cautious of each other and make a conscientious effort to watch for motorcycles. It may be easier for you to see a traditional four-wheeled vehicle and predict their driving habits because you may be more familiar with them. Yet, motorcycles are present and have traffic capabilities that other vehicles do not, such as lane splitting. While these actions are perfectly legal and have many benefits, there are driving habits that may make lane splitting hazardous for our motorcyclists.

What Is Lane Splitting?

Lane splitting is the name given to the act of a motorcyclist maneuvering their motorcycle between two lanes of traffic driving in the same direction. Its purpose is to overtake or pass slower moving or stopped traffic. It is also known as “lane sharing”, “white lining”, “filtering” or “stripe riding”. These names are indicative of the motorcycle actually driving on or near the painted white line that separates two lanes of traffic traveling in the same direction.

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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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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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The mild winters that many parts of the U.S. experienced this past winter may have already allowed motorcyclists to get in a few good rides. With springtime occurring in full force and summer just on the horizon, however, the roads will soon be full of all types of mopeds, scooters and motorcycles.

Now is a good time for all riders to review and practice safe operation of their two-wheeled motor vehicles.

More than 60 percent of accidents with motorcycles, mopeds and scooters also involve another type of motor vehicle. This is a scary prospect considering there are so few physical protections when riding. Wearing appropriate clothing and gear, however, can lessen the chances for severe injuries during minor accidents. Motorcycle helmets, protective or reflective jackets and pants, leather gloves and goggles or masks are all a must when riding.

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There are many reasons why a motorcycle accident can occur. Often it is the other motorist, not the motorcyclist, who is at fault. The main reason for an accident with a motorcycle is that the other driver simply does not see the motorcycle due to its relatively small size compared to the other cars and trucks on the road. Motorcyclist inexperience can also play a large part in an accident. Someone who is not familiar with the specifics of driving a motorcycle versus a car can have difficulty safely operating a motorcycle. Another risk factor is speed.

Motorcycle accidents, like any vehicular accidents, can have tragic and long-lasting effects. However, due to the significant power of a motorcycle and the lack of a protective barrier between a motorcyclist and the road or another vehicle, the consequences of an accident are frequently catastrophic. Only one out of every five riders escapes a motorcycle accident with minor injuries. In most occurrences, the motorcycle operator is at least seriously injured. Additionally, the chance of having an accident in the first place is magnified just through the operation of a motorcycle.

Simple Steps to Follow

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