May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and a prime time for Maine motorists to commit to watching out for motorcyclists as the summer riding season begins.
Because, statistically speaking, an accident is likely to be a non-motorcyclist’s fault.
“When motorcycles and other vehicles collide, it is usually the other (non-motorcycle) driver who violates the motorcyclist’s right of way,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Most commonly, motorists violate a rider’s right of way because they don’t see the motorcycle, they don’t anticipate a motorcycle’s movements, or the driver is distracted or has an obstructed view of the rider.
Liability for Maine Motorcycle Accidents
Virtually all motorcycle accidents in Maine result in serious or fatal injury to riders. Experienced injury attorneys in Bangor know middle-aged men are at highest risk. In fact, the National Safety Council reports more than one-third of fatal motorcycle accidents involve a rider who is over the age of 50.
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include cars turning left in front of riders; a car changing lanes into a rider; and a car striking a motorcyclist from behind.
Federal statistics continue to show that riders are over 20 times more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a collision. At-fault motorists can be held responsible for the resulting damages, including medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Safe, Responsible Riding Prevents Accidents & Injuries
To be sure, riders can do many things to protect themselves and to reduce the chances of an accident. Rider safety training, proper riding attire, responsible riding and helmet use are all critical to staying safe.
Maine law requires all riders to complete a hands-on rider education program before earning a motorcycle permit. Maine helmet law requires riders under age 18 to wear a helmet. Others required to wear a helmet include those operating on a learning permit, those riding within the first year of passing the riding test, and passengers of operators who are required to wear a helmet.
However, for the most part, riders know and accept the risks and do whatever they can to ride safely and mitigate the dangers of being involved in a collision. In some cases, riders are also unfairly blamed for a collision or are involved in a collision with a vehicle that flees the scene.
Consulting an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Bangor can help determine your legal rights. In some cases, an independent accident investigation and review of the facts and circumstances of a collision can identify responsible parties.
In other cases, pursuing an uninsured motorist claim against your own insurance carrier may be the best course of action.
Maine law, Title 14, §156, uses a system of modified comparative negligence. What this means is that even in cases where a rider is found to be partially at fault, he or she can still collect damages against a negligent party, so long as the rider was less than 50 percent at fault for causing a collision.
If you are injured in a Maine motorcycle accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
Obtaining a Motorcycle License, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, State of Maine
More Blog Entries
Report: More Fatal Motorcycle Accidents in Maine So Far Than in All of 2016, Peter Thompson & Associates, Oct. 18, 2017.