The UK Highway Code is being revised to incorporate a hierarchy of vehicles where bigger vehicles have to look out for smaller, more vulnerable, road users such as motorcyclists.
Sounds like fair deal, right?
After all, big vehicles such as trucks have huge blind spots and drivers need to take care to ensure that small vehicles such as motorcycles, scooters and bicycles are not in the way before taking a turn or other manoeuvre.
And most riders would like to see road safety messages include an education component to make drivers more aware of them.
However, we are not so sure that legislating a hierarchy of vehicles is such a good idea, especially in Australia where our roads are shared by everything from bicycles t 50+m road trains.
For a start, how would police patrol for offences?
And if a law can’t be policed, it shouldn’t exist.
The only use for such a rule would be in the wake of a crash where the onus of driving innocence would then fall on the larger of the vehicles involved.
However, this onus of proof runs contrary to our justice system where people are innocent until proven guilty.
It would also apply to motorcyclists if they were involved in a crash with a cyclist.
It’s quite ridiculous and an example of safety Nazis getting in the way of a commonsense approach.
The Australian bicycle lobby has been arguing for something similar for some years.
However, road safety signalling should be about sharing the road, taking responsibility for your own actions and penalising those who operate outside the road rules.
The UK Highway Code does require drivers and riders of all vehicles to be responsible for looking out for more vulnerable road users, but the concern is the implied guilt simply because a vehicle is simply bigger.
Let’s face facts, despite the best preparations, defensive habits on the road, and not pushing beyond one’s own skill limits, there are times when fate steps in and things just happen. They are called accidents for a reason. It can be a small patch of gravel, a car pulling out without looking, or a hundred and one other things.
The biggest part of going through insurance is filing a claim. Often, there are documents you need to fill out, police reports or DMV reports you need to gather, things to sign, calls you need to make, and the like. Often, you will need to know your insurance policy number, file number for your police report or DMV report, but one thing that is often not explained very well is that you may also need what is known as the NAIC number for your insurance.
What Is An NAIC Number?
There are a couple of ways to explain it, but the simplest is by pure definition. NAIC stands for National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This association has 150 years of history, being the de facto standard setting and regulatory commission for the insurance industry. Every major insurance company in the US is part of the NAIC, and almost 95% of the minor insurers are also members.
Each one of these insurance companies, when they become members, is issued an identification number. This number is unique, and is made up of five characters currently. There are provisions to make it six numbers if enough insurance companies come into existence that a six character identifier is needed.
The NAIC number is also used by the regulatory and competition committees of the NAIC itself to promote competition within the industry in a fair environment for both policyholders (i.e. you and me) and the policy providers. This prevents one insurance company from monopolizing a sector of a certain industry, from production insurance for a movie studio to automotive and motorcycle insurance for the common layman.
It also binds those insurance companies in each sector to a standardized set of rules and regulations that must be adhered to. For example, in the automotive and motorcycle insurance sector, insurers are, at minimum, bound by regulations to provide liability insurance and comprehensive insurance. This ensures that any insured party will have at least the correct coverage for incidents outside of their control (“Acts of God”) as well as against property, personal, or medical damages.
Why Is An NAIC Number Important?
In many other nations around the world, insurance is bound either by a provincial standard such as in Canada, or by a base set of federalized rules. In both these cases, while there are anti-monopoly measures in place, some insurance has been mandated to be from one provider, and one provider only. This can be seen in the province of British Columbia in Canada, where the provincial government has a Crown Corporation (what we call a Federal Corporation here in America) known as the Insurance Company of British Columbia, and there are no alternatives for automotive or motorcycle insurance.
As pointed out earlier, the NAIC, and the number assigned to each insurance company, means that this kind of state-level monopoly cannot exist in the USA. While there can be only one or two companies in a specialized sector of insurance, the NAIC Number identifies them and the policies, rules, and regulations they must adhere to. To think of it in a different way, it’s insurance against the insurance company doing what they want to.
However, the biggest reason that an NAIC Number is vital is that it is used nationwide to quickly process the start of an insurance claim. When filing for a DMV report, or filling out an insurance claim, it may be a requirement to provide your insurance company’s NAIC number. In very few, select cases, it is not needed, but 90% of the time you will be using the number to identify who you are insured through.
This allows any legal authority involved in the claim, namely the police, the DMV, the other party’s insurance company, and the like to simply enter a number into the files for the proceedings to gather all relevant information about that insurer. In a nation with over 360 million citizens, if every claim had to be filled out in triplicate, faxed/email/snail-mailed, found out that there is a typo in the name, have it come back, refilled out, and on and on, it would slow things down to an absolute crawl.
With the NAIC number, it’s entered into the filings, all relevant names, addresses, main counsel, et al are listed, what rules and regulations they are bound by, and off to the courts you go with your claim. This isn’t to say that the insurance claims process cannot be dragged out for months or even years, but getting the whole thing going in the first place allows for at least the initial phase to be done quickly.
How To Find Your NAIC Number
As the NAIC Number is both a legal requirement for almost all insurance companies, and a vital bit of information for a policyholder, we contacted 4AutoInsuranceQuote, one of the main quote search engines in the USA, to help define the main ways to find your specific Geico NAIC number.
The most common way to find your NAIC number is to look at your policy card, or more correctly the proof of vehicular insurance card that your insurance company sends you. Where it lists your policy number, there will either be a five character code before or after it, depending on your state and insurer. Otherwise, the code is either beside the insurer’s name, or on the reverse side of the card in the “what to do if you’re in an accident” guidelines.
If you have the full, detailed policy documents on hand, you will know that there are multiple pages in it that seem to make no sense, or have complicated codes and listings on them. However, almost all insurers will also include a Declarations of Insurance Coverage page, or simply a Declarations page. On this page, you will find the NAIC number in the section covering the name and address of the Insurer.
The third way to find the NAIC number is to quite simply Google search for it. Use the layout of “(Insurer’s name without brackets) NAIC number.” For example, if you’re with the insurance company XYZ Insurers, you’d simply Google “XYZ Insurers NAIC number.” It will always appear as a separate box above the search results.
The fourth way to find the NAIC number is, quite simply, to ask your insurer. On all the proof of coverage cards, there is a 1-800 number to call your company directly. If you have your insurance through a brokerage, you can also call the broker and they will know, or can find out for you very quickly.
The final way to find an NAIC number is to visit the NAIC webpage at NAIC.org. Enter your insurer’s name, the type of coverage you have (in this case vehicular), and press “Search.” 99% of the time, it will give you a result.
If none of the above mentioned methods work, then it is likely that either your insurer is very new to the NAIC, or has not joined the association and is therefore not bound by the policies, rules and regulations of it. This is not to say that your insurer is bad or corrupt or anything nasty, it’s just that they have decided to not join the association.
When it comes to mandatory riding gear, most places require you to wear an approved helmet, but nothing else is required. It’s actually pretty weird when you think about it. A rider can go out on the bike sporting just about as much or as little protective gear they prefer.
Most riders raise the bar to wear an approved helmet, jacket, gloves, and in most cases riding boots/shoes but they have the choice – but they have the choice.
What about riding without gloves? Personally, I don’t leave the house without them, but that could be just me. Again, the choice is yours.
For our French friends across the pond – it’s been mandatory to wear approved motorcycle gloves for quite a while now. But they are about to be joined by Spain when it comes to mandatory riding gloves.
There was recently a meeting with the DGT (Directorate-General for Traffic) and additional stakeholders surrounding the proposed increase use of air-vests – which are most commonly found to be used on racetracks. The meeting ended up spreading the fear of mandatory use of air-bag vests on or off of the racetrack and was adjourned.
The meeting wasn’t completely wasted as it also pointed out that it would be following in France’s footsteps when it comes to riders wearing approved gloves. There was no specific time for the rule to take effect but it is sure to happen soon.
For me, this wouldn’t be big deal whatsoever. But how about you? What are your thoughts on mandatory gear laws?
Riding a motorcycle is an activity that comes with a fair amount of risk. That risk is rewarded by the unparalleled experience of tossing a leg over a bike and going for a ride, but it’s there nonetheless.
In many areas of the world, local governments have decided it’s in the rider’s (and the community’s) best interests to enact helmet laws and enforce them. With helmets being such an important part of motorcycling in general, I thought I’d take a closer look at motorcycle helmet laws and identify some things that every rider should know.
You Should Always Wear A Helmet Regardless Of The Law
The first thing I want to touch on is the fact that you should always wear a helmet no matter what the law says. Personally, I’m a bit of an ATGATT (all the gear, all the time) fan, but if you’re not, at the very least, you should put on a helmet each and every time you get on a motorcycle.
You’ll hear people ask, “Are motorcycle helmet laws effective?” The simple fact of the matter is that motorcycle helmets save lives. The number of studies that show the effectiveness of helmets on reducing injury and death are too numerous to list here.
With that said, I will point you towards this handy list of studies compiled by the Skilled Motorcyclist Association organization, which shows how effective helmets really are.
According to the association, motorcycle helmets actually reduce the risk of death by 42 percent and head injury by 69 percent. With all of the data available to motorcyclists, the real question is why the heck would you even ride without a helmet?
Not All Helmets Will Satisfy The Law
Now that I’ve reiterated how important motorcycle helmets are to rider safety, I want to talk about the fact that not all helmets are created equal, and not all helmets are treated equally in the eyes of the law.
When you ride in the United States, for example, only helmets that have Department of Transportation (DOT) approval will satisfy the law in the states that have motorcycle helmet laws on the books. It’s worth noting that not all states have helmet laws on the books either. This means that you won’t be required by law to wear one, but I still strongly recommend that you do.
Alternatively, DOT-approved helmets are not legal in places like the UK and Australia, which call for Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)-approved motorcycle helmets.
ECE and DOT are different standards. They’re the two that matter the most in terms of helmet laws, though there are other helmet standards like Snell and Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) that take helmet safety even further than ECE and DOT do.
The best advice I can give here is to get a helmet that will satisfy your local laws. Look them up wherever you live. If you can’t find them, then contact the authorities to find out what type of helmet will satisfy the laws in your area. It should be an easy thing to do and will help keep you legal and safe on the road.
A Helmet Can’t Guarantee You Won’t Get Hurt In A Motorcycle Accident
A motorcycle helmet will greatly reduce the risk of death or injury due to you hitting your head in a motorcycle accident. However, it cannot guarantee that you won’t sustain a head injury. As I discussed at the beginning of this article, motorcycling comes with risks involved. Even if you wear all of the protective gear you can, there’s still a risk.
A lot can go into determining whether or not you will sustain an injury or be killed in an accident. The number of variables is endless. There’s your position on the road, your speed, the terrain and landscape around, the road surface, the other motorists on the road, and so, so much more. No helmet can protect you from every scenario.
With that said, I would say that buying a high-quality motorcycle helmet from a reputable company that is modern and up-to-date in terms of construction and features will help give you the best chance at surviving a motorcycle accident unscathed.
If you need to find yourself a good motorcycle helmet. Our sister site Web Bike World has some of the most comprehensive helmet information available anywhere in the world. The reviews you’ll find there are in-depth and thorough, and you should be able to find a helmet that satisfies your needs.
If You Do Get Hurt While Riding, Seek Advice From A Professional
One of the most common questions I get from riders is: what do you do if you’re injured as a result of a motorcycle accident? The first thing I’d say is to reach out to a motorcycle collision lawyer.
The next question I get is: what can the lawyer really do for me? That question is a lot harder to answer because just about every motorcycle accident is different. However, in many cases, having a lawyer on your side can help.
I’ll let Heidi Wickstrom of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. explain from the point of view of a lawyer in the video below:
This is especially true with a head injury. You’ll have medical bills to pay, likely have a busted-up motorcycle to deal with, and who knows what else. You could even have repercussions for the rest of your life. Having someone there like a medical malpractice lawyer to help you understand everything and ensure you get the correct compensation can really make a difference.
Motorcycling can never be done risk-free. With that said, you can decrease your chance of experiencing an accident or getting into a motorcycle collision if you make an effort to do so. While some things will always be beyond your control, you should always do everything within your power to stay safe.
With that in mind, I wanted to take a closer look at some of the things you can do to stay safe while riding your motorcycle. These tips and techniques won’t ensure you’ll avoid a collision, but they should help.
Check the Weather Before You Ride
Weather can play a significant role in your safety when riding. If you’re out during heavy precipitation, then visibility for both you and other motorists decreases dramatically. This can greatly increase your likelihood of getting into an accident or collision.
A simple check of the weather before you ride is all you need. If there’s a chance of rain, it doesn’t mean you can’t ride, but it might impact the gear you wear on that ride.
If, however, you see some severe weather conditions coming up, then it would be in your best interest to stay home.
Scan for Potential Hazards
Hazards are everywhere on the road. Even things that might not seem like hazards for any other motorist can spell disaster for motorcyclists. Here’s a look at some of the most common road hazards for motorcycle riders:
One type of road debris that has received a lot of attention lately is grass clippings. It might seem silly, but freshly cut grass clippings can wreak havoc on your motorcycle’s tires’ ability to get proper grip on the road. This can lead to you going down when you least expect it.
Usually, grass clippings are just left by a careless homeowner or lawn-care service, but that doesn’t stop these grass clippings from being a serious hazard. This has led a lot of motorcyclists to ask, “Is it illegal to leave grass clippings on the road?” The answer depends on the laws in your particular area. I’ll let a member of Spaulding Injury Law describe how this pertains to the law in the video below:
In short, some places have laws that prohibit homeowners and law service personnel from depositing grass clippings on the road. Other places don’t. I urge you to check your local laws so you know for sure.
Make Sure You’re Seen
Most motorcycle accidents aren’t the rider’s fault. Quite often, a driver of a car, SUV, or truck simply doesn’t see the motorcyclist. While this is their fault, there are also some things a motorcycle rider can do about it.
Focus on being seen. This can start with your gear and your bike itself. You want your bike to get noticed. Lights and reflectors are very good things. When it comes to gear, you need to have reflective material on your gear and preferably bright, easy-to-see colors. Neon colors work best.
Also, when riding, think about your lane position. There is no one lane position that is right all of the time. You need to choose the correct lane position for the situation, and the correct lane position is the one where other motorists can easily see you.
Ride Responsibly and Appropriately
This one is a bit obvious, but never, ever under any circumstance, ride while intoxicated or under the influence. It’s a recipe for disaster and could lead to your death or the death of others.
Riding responsibly is not just about not riding under the influence. It’s also about riding within the speed limit, avoiding silly stunts, or generally acting like an idiot on the road.
Also, make sure to ride appropriately for a specific situation. If it’s raining or traffic is heavy, avoid any aggressive maneuvers. Take things slow and easy while you’re out there. Assess the roads and your surroundings, and then respond appropriately.
Always Have an Escape Route
One thing you should always do no matter where you ride is to always have an escape route. This means you should be able to exit your lane or position at a moment’s notice. It’s your go-to if a car cuts you off or brakes unexpectedly.
Plan your escape routes as you ride. Look for wide shoulders or a middle lane that you could pull into if needed. Also, keep an eye on gaps between cars and between other bikes. These can be how you can get to your escape routes when things are tight.
Keep a Cushion
Having a cushion when riding is key. This applies not only to the car in front of you but the vehicles and obstacles on all sides of you. It’s best to have at least a two-second cushion in front of you (usually a little longer).
When it comes to either side of your bike, just make sure you’re not pinned in by motorists on either side of you. Remember, you want to keep your escape routes open. Sometimes, this will mean speeding up. Other times this will mean you need to slow down.
By keeping your distance and always having a cushion between you and the cars and motorcycles around you, you’ll have time to react quickly to the unexpected.
Keep Up on Your Riding Skills
I’d advise every single person on a motorcycle to take a motorcycle safety course. In these courses, professionals teach you the best tricks they’ve learned over thousands of miles traveled.
While an initial safety course is important, it’s equally important to keep up on your riding skills. I’d urge you to take an intermediate or advanced rider’s course. These courses go beyond what instructors can teach you in a beginner class, and the tips and techniques you’ll learn will help you not only to be safe but become a better and smoother rider overall.
Finally, nothing makes up for practice. The issue with a lot of riders is that they never practice their panic stops or tight cornering or obstacle avoidance. If you don’t practice your skills, you’ll never perfect them.
Get Help If You Need It
If you do have a motorcycle collision or an accident of some kind when riding, then you may need legal representation.
Spaulding Injury Law notes that it’s always a good idea to consult with a lawyer if you’re involved in a motorcycle accident. This is especially true if you or someone else was injured in the accident.
Consultations with lawyers are often free, and that means you can find out if you need a lawyer without much of a hassle at all. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to motorcycle collisions and accidents.
Motorcycle accidents have been one of the major problems on the road in California. Motorcyclists don’t have a steel or sturdy material to protect them when accidents happen- as cars do. Hence, there’s a high chance they’ll be thrown away during any vehicular collision.
Motorcyclists are less visible and conspicuous to other vehicle drivers and pedestrians. The two-wheel vehicles are also less stable than the land vehicles with four or more wheels. The driver must be both mentally and physically aware when driving a motorcycle.
Many factors affect the drivers’ safety and focus while on the road. It could be because of a problem with the motorcycle, bad weather, or something wrong with the driver themselves. However, most motorcycle accidents occur because of road violations committed by these drivers. Here are some of the most common violations committed by motorcyclists in California.
The speed limit in California varies. Most highways have a maximum speed of 65 mph, while some have 55 mph. Hence, driving beyond these speed limits is considered “speeding,” which is against the law. Drivers must slow down their speed depending on essential contributory factors.
All drivers should maintain a safe driving speed when the weather is bad, or the road is poor. Heavy traffic and pedestrians are also contributing factors. However, despite these, many drivers still exceed posted speed limits while on the streets.
You might have been driving a motorcycle for many years, but others haven’t. Hence, you tend to drive at high speed because you’re equipped with excellent driving skills. However, some inexperienced drivers don’t have the skills you have.
Most of the time, these experienced drivers lane split. All states in the US consider lane splitting illegal. However, the California Vehicle Code doesn’t explicitly express if it’s illegal in the state of California.
Technically, vehicle drivers in California can split lanes, but they must not exceed 30 mph. If the traffic is heavy, speeding and lane splitting, at the same time, aren’t allowed to avoid a serious accident.
Under the Influence of Alcohol
Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal. Many have already died because of this, and the law in California upholds penalties for violators. If it’s your first time getting caught with this violation, you might end up with a suspended driver’s license, pay fines in thousands, and, worse, end up in jail.
If motorcyclists continue violating this California Vehicle Code, penalties will also continue to increase. California gives the violator up to ten years to cleanse their record from prior violations. However, many vehicle drivers, including the motorcyclists, continue to disobey the law resulting in numerous cases of road accidents.
At the end of the day, it’s always better to be safe at all times than to be sorry. If you got involved in a DUI-caused vehicular accident, say in San Diego, you should find a San Diego personal injury lawyer right away to help you with your case. However, if you got in trouble while in Los Angeles, it’s best to find a lawyer in that area. That way, it would be easier to access your attorney.
The state of California provided a California Motorcycle Handbook for the motorcyclists to know the do’s and don’ts while driving on the road. One important thing included in the handbook is the proper motorcyclist attire while driving.
The United States Department of Transportation implemented the use of compliant safety helmets. Manufacturers should follow the guidelines set in producing helmets to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard. Helmets with this certification are high-quality and durable.
With the quality and durability of these helmets, your chance of survival will increase when involved in an accident. Moreover, the handbook suggests that the riders and passengers of a motorcycle should put on face and eye protection.
Motorcyclists shouldn’t cover both of their ears with headsets, earplugs, or earphones unless due to a medical condition. This is so a driver can hear if an emergency vehicle is near or other drivers are calling their attention using horns.
These are just some of the simple guidelines stated in the handbook about what a motorcyclist should wear while driving. However, many drivers aren’t still following it. A motorcyclist might get involved in a severe accident simply because of not wearing eye protection.
Incomplete Motorcycle Equipment
The California Motorcycle Handbook also includes guidelines of what the motorcycle should have before a driver can use it. There are specific equipment requirements needed to be met. The tires should have enough tread and air pressure for safe driving. Brakes for both front and rear parts of the motorcycle should be functional.
The same goes for the horns and side mirrors. These should be present and in good condition. Moreover, motorcyclists should turn the headlight both day and night, especially for vehicles manufactured in or after the year of 1978. The front and rear turn signal lights must be working at all times. The motorcycle should also have a muffler and footrest.
Additionally, when you’re holding the handlebars, your hands shouldn’t be six inches above your shoulders. It’ll be difficult to maneuver the handlebars if it’s too high, and swerving will be hard for your arms and shoulders to keep the balance. Secure one handbook to check that you’re not missing anything when using your motorcycle.
These are the guidelines in the handbook about what your motorcycle should have before driving it. However, many drivers still don’t follow these guidelines. They still use their motorcycles when the signal lights aren’t functional.
Many accidents occur because of signal light malfunction or not using the signal lights at all. That’s something that you don’t want to happen. Hence, remember what’s stated in the handbook to avoid getting involved in an accident in the future.
Driving a motorcycle is fun, but, keep in mind the things discussed above to avoid any possible accident in the future. Although a motorcycle offers convenience, especially in heavy traffic, it’s also very dangerous if you’re reckless. Hence, simply follow the road rules and guidelines for your safety.
There were 122,360 motorcyclesregistered in Kentucky as of 2018, according to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts, 2018 Report (Collision Report). And while motorcycles are part of less than 1% of all collisions, they amount to 7% of fatal accidents. Riders need to be aware that though the risk of a crash is low, the likelihood of being seriously injured or killed in a collision isn’t negligible.
One of the factors that can determine whether a collision results in a fatality is whether riders wear helmets. Kentucky doesn’t have a universal helmet law. A vast majority of riders can decide not to wear a helmet—and many do. But what is the consequence of this choice? Many could argue the outcome is unnecessary injuries and deaths.
Kentucky Helmet Laws
As of 1998, Kentucky has limited helmet laws, according to Kentucky Safety Facts, published by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. Previously, Kentucky had a universal helmet law in place, which was originally enacted in 1968.
Have held an operator’s license for less than one year.
In general, young and inexperienced riders must have helmets. But riders who have held a license for over one year and are older than 21 years old can forgo this safety equipment.
The real question is, are Kentuckians wearing helmets? The answer appears to be that a little over half of riders are using helmets. In 2017, 60% of riders surveyed wore helmets, according to the Collision Report. (Kentucky didn’t gather data for 2018.) This figure was down from 68% in 2015.
Motorcycle Crashes in Kentucky
The Kentucky State Police reported 1,494 motorcycles were involved in collisions in the state in 2018, according to the Collision Report. This amounted to only 0.61% of all collisions—a negligent amount. Passenger cars and trucks were far more likely to be involved in a crash at 90.98 percent, followed by large trucks at 4.35 percent.
Fatal Motorcycle Crashes: Do Helmets Matter?
When it came to fatal collisions, motorcycles played a bigger role. In 2018, 86 motorcycles were involved in deadly crashes, amounting to 7.47% of all fatal collisions and 88 deaths, according to the Collision Report.
Riders might wonder whether helmets play a significant role in preventing motorcycle fatalities. The numbers suggest they do. In 2018, 54 motorcycle riders were killed when they weren’t using a helmet, while 34 riders who used a helmet were killed.
There also was a difference between the number of motorcyclists injured while wearing a helmet vs. not. The same year, 536 motorcycle riders were injured while not using a helmet, while 496 were injured while wearing a helmet.
Kentucky lawmakers know helmet laws matter. When legislators repealed Kentucky’s universal helmet law in 1998, motorcycle facilities increased over 50%, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets reduce motorcycle rider fatalities up to 37% and brain injuries up to 65%.
Additionally, in May 2020, motorcycle safety awareness month, Kentucky Office of Highway Safety Acting Executive Director Jason Siwulaencouraged motorcyclists to wear protective gear, including helmets, according to ABC 13 WBKO.
Motorcyclists Follow Universal Helmet Laws
There’s little debate about it: universal helmet laws that require all or nearly all riders to wear helmets are effective. The U.S. General Accounting Officereviewed nine separate studies and found between 92% and 100% helmet use in states with universal helmet laws. When helmets are required, a vast majority of riders wear them. They obey the law.
In contrast, between 42% and 59% of riders use helmets in states with limited helmet laws. When helmets become optional, many riders choose not to wear them despite their clear safety benefit.
Should Kentucky Motorcyclists Wear Helmets?
Though most motorcycle riders in Kentucky aren’t required to wear helmets, they should. Studies have confirmed that wearing a helmet reduces the risk of head injury and death.
Wearing a helmet is even more important when riders consider minimum auto insurance requirements vs. the average cost of a head injury. Motorists in Kentucky are required to carryminimum liability insurance of $25,000 for bodily injuries per person, $50,000 for all bodily injuries per crash, and $25,000 for property damage.
Serious injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), will cost much more than a minimum auto insurance policy will cover, even if the rider has health insurance. Victims of a motorcycle crash will need to work with amotorcycle accident lawyer to recover as much compensation as possible from the negligent driver.
Treating a TBI is expensive, and a rider who sustained a moderate-to-severe TBI might need years of treatment or even lifelong care. The cost of a TBI is exasperated by the likelihood of unemployment in the years following. Thelifetime cost of treating a TBI can vary between $85,000 and $3 million, according to Dr. Chandi Edmonds, previously the director of clinical education in the Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science Department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
By wearing helmets, despite the legal requirement to do so, motorcyclists reduce the risk of suffering a head injury that could lead to pain and suffering, physical and cognitive disability, unemployment, and extensive medical debt.
Choosing the Right Helmet
TheKentucky Motorcycle Manual provides more information on choosing the right helmet. Whether the rider chooses a full-face or three-quarter helmet style, it should be designed to meet the U.S. Department of Transportation’s standards.
The helmet should fit snugly and have no visible defects, like loose padding or cracks. Riders should wear the helmet firmly secured to prevent it from coming off during a collision. They also should also consider a brightly colored helmet or a helmet with reflectors to help other motorists see them at night.
So why aren’t they used more for these offences, rather than just speeding offences?
We asked police and transport departments in several states for statistics on offences from TruCAM II units and were either told the figures were not available or would take days/weeks to acquire.
We will update this article if they ever arrive.
Many police departments now have TruCAM II devices but some don’t divulge their technology.
Victoria Police said they do not use the devices which cost about $A36,000 (£20,000, $US25,000) per unit.
While the units could be a friend to riders, more often than not they seem to be their foe.
Some of their abilities specifically target riders including its “rear-plate mode” which measures the speed of an approaching motorcycle (or other vehicle with a missing or obscured front plate) and tracks it as it passes so that it captures the number plate.
The images are highly accurate to 150m and at speeds up to 320km/h.
Manufacturers Laser Technology Inc (LTI) say the device will detect any vehicle, capturing its make, model and registration plate.
LTI claim the cost of the device is justified by providing better proof of an offence so officers are not required to front court when a fine is challenged.
Other features include:
Differentiating speeding motorcycles and other vehicles in heavy traffic, including when lane filtering/splitting;
Automatically capturing images in a fixed distance, such as school and construction zones;
Auto focus, iris and shutter speed for clear number plate images up to 150m away;
Enforcing multiple speed limits on the same highway and distinguishing between commercial and private vehicles;
Allowing enforcement at night or within tunnels;
Capturing vehicles misusing bus, transit or car pool lanes;
Detecting vehicles obstructing traffic;
Measuring the speed, traveling time and distance between two vehicles for “Following Too Closely” or “tailgating” violations; and
Detecting drivers and passengers not wearing seat belts.
Since the system’s clarity can detect seat belt infringements it may also pick up riders who have not done up their helmet chin strap.
LTI say TruCAM II also has built-in detection algorithms to combat laser jammers. (Western Australia is the only state in Australia that allows radar detectors.)
LTI have sold more than 6000 photo/video lasers to more than 90 countries.
However, while you may be prepared foraggressive sales tactics, some dealers also engage in blatantly fraudulent behavior that may catch you by surprise.
When you are anautomotive attorney, you reach the point where nothing surprises you anymore. From filing fraudulent loan applications to rebuilding salvage titles and hoisting them on unsuspecting consumers, some auto dealers have almost turned fraud into an art form. And their favorite victims are those with limited incomes and poor credit.
There are many federal and state laws that penalize fraudulent sales, marketing, and financing schemes. However, thousands of consumers still fall victim to fraud every year. Below, we review what attorneys have to say about some of the most common types of auto dealer fraud.
Knowingly Selling Bad Vehicles
When you think of auto fraud, one of the first things that probably comes to mind is dealers making false claims about a vehicle’s condition.
Thomas R. Breeden, a consumer rights attorney in Virginia explains, “One of the most common types of fraud is selling a vehicle without disclosing that it has a history of damage, such as a salvage title due to extensive body and frame destruction or other title blemishes.”
When you complain, the dealer may try to hide behind an “as-is” clause in your contract to avoid responsibility. However, this does not excuse them from failing to disclose known problems with a vehicle. In fact, some states prohibit “as-is” sales completely, and other states severely restrict them.
Even if the dealer claims you’re out of luck, you should consider consulting an attorney about the problem. They can advise you of any options you have for making an auto dealer fraud claim.
False Odometer Readings
Texas attorney Allen Stewart Odometer also points out that “odometer tampering is a common fraudulent scheme.” Used car dealers will roll back the odometer to make it look like it has fewer miles on it.
Stewart points to data from theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administrationstating that more than 450,000 vehicles with false odometer readings are sold each year. This fraud costs American consumers more than $1 billion yearly.
Another way cardealerscommit fraud is to inflate prices above sticker value. They can also add hidden charges without disclosing or explaining them to the customer. Sometimes they will even represent that certain upgrades or services are “required” to get the customer to pay for things they don’t need or want.
George O. West III has a law practice in Las Vegas that focuses on representing fraud victims. He observes that “[i]t is not uncommon for people to begin to realize they were the victim of auto fraud only after speaking with” an attorney. “Often people have a general feeling that something did not go quite right when they bought their car but may think it is part of the process.”
West explains that although “hidden charges or overcharging . . . may look suspicious, . . . the consumer may not understand exactly what or why they are being charged.” Consumers expect some degree of nickel and diming, so they may just overlook some of these charges. But in fact, many of these types of charges are blatantly fraudulent.
Bait & Switch
Another common type of fraud occurs when a dealer tells you one thing and then changes their tune later. When it comes to marketing, this often takes the form of a “bait and switch.”
A bait and switch occurs when the dealer advertises something to get you into the store, such as a particular price or a financing deal. However, when you actually try to take advantage of the deal, they tell you that the car is no longer available and sell you something similar—or even the same car advertised—at a higher price.
Pauliana Lara, an auto fraud attorney in Southern California, explains, “They get the client very excited, and the client is very emotional, and they end up buying the car.” Lara had a client who fell victim to this scheme and ended up paying $3,000 more than the advertised price for a Prius. When he checked the ad again after getting home with his new car, he realized the car he bought had the exact same VIN as the car in the advertisement.
“Yo-yo” sales also involve dealers changing their tune after you’re already on the hook. Missouri attorney Summer Masterson-Goethals explains that a yo-yo sale involves delivering the car to the consumer without finalizing the transaction: “The consumer believes they have a deal but later, the dealer informs the consumer that the transaction fell through for one reason or another and makes the consumer either return the car or agree to different terms than originally bargained for . . . .” Masterson-Goethals warns that sometimes the dealer will even sell the consumer’s trade-in vehicle before going back on the deal.
Credit Application Fraud
Credit application fraud is extremely common among car dealers. In fact, the Maryland firm of Whitney, LLP reports that 1 in 5 credit applications it reviews for clients reveals credit application fraud and sometimes even forgeries.
Common tactics used in credit application fraud include:
Falsely inflating the applicant’s income;
Misrepresenting a person’s job title or how long they have worked for an employer;
Falsely reporting that the applicant has a job they don’t have;
Faking a trade-in so it looks like the borrow has made a larger down payment;
Inflating the value of the vehicle so it looks like the borrower has made a down payment when they haven’t or so that the loan-to-value ratio appears greater;
Not reporting the applicant’s other financial obligations; and
Stating that the applicant’s rent or mortgage payments are lower than they are.
Georgia auto fraud attorney Michael Flinn relates the example of a retired truck driver he represented. Despite Flinn’s client making only $1,500 a month, a dealership sold him a $35,000 vehicle by falsifying his credit application. Eventually, employees at the dealership received federal fraud charges.
Flinn advises consumers to “[a]sk to see the credit application filled out before you sign it. Don’t let there be blanks for your income. Do not agree to providing false income information. . . . Be suspicious if you are being sold more car than you thought you could afford.”
It’s never a good idea to obligate yourself on a loan you can’t afford to pay. This is especially true if the dealer talked you into a more expensive car by fraudulently securing your loan. If youcan’t afford to pay your loan, your car will be repossessed. This will affect your credit score and can even lead to bankruptcy.
When someone has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, they must determine liability if they want to pursue legal claims. Determining liability means figuring out which parties are responsible for causing the accident and the injuries. If another person or entity is responsible for causing your accident and injuries, you may be entitled to recover compensation for all of the losses that you have suffered as a result.
What are the most common causes of motorcycle accidents?
Motorcycle accidents can be caused by many different problems. Most accidents are caused by the negligent actions of motorists. However, some accidents can also be caused by the negligent actions of companies or other entities. Some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents include the following:
Motorists turning left onto a highway without seeing an oncoming motorcyclist
Failing to yield
Changing lanes in front of a motorcyclist without giving the cyclist enough room
Failing to check blind spots
Drunk or drugged driving
Driving too fast for weather conditions
Opening a door in the path of a motorcyclist when exiting cars parked along the road
Making sudden stops
Motorists failing to slow down in time to avoid rear-ending a motorcyclist
Objects or debris in the road
Poorly maintained roadways
Inadequate maintenance and repairs
Figuring out the causes of motorcycle accidents is important for determining who might be liable for causing them. In some cases, both the motorcyclist and the other driver will share fault. In others, either the motorist or the motorcyclist will be wholly to blame for the accident. Some cases might also involve several liable parties who contributed to the accident’s cause.
An experienced injury lawyer may work with an accident reconstruction expert to identify all of the causes and the responsible parties. Accident reconstruction experts take measurements at the accident scenes to recreate what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. They also get information from the vehicles that were involved and the damage caused to each of them. An attorney may also have investigators talk to people who witnessed the accidents to gain a better understanding of what happened.
Determining the responsible parties after a motorcycle accident
To pursue compensation in a motorcycle accident claim, you must first identify the parties holding legal liability for your accident. An experienced personal injury lawyer can conduct an in-depth investigation to help you to determine fault.
Some of the parties that can be responsible for causing a motorcycle accident include the following:
The driver of the vehicle that was involved
For motorcycle passengers, the motorcyclist
The motorcycle’s manufacturer
The manufacturer of a defective part
The entity that is responsible for maintaining the roadway
Motorcycle repair shop that negligently repaired the motorcycle
To hold a responsible party liable, the injured victim or the family of people who are killed in motorcycle accidents will need to prove that the defendants were negligent. In some cases, several parties may be at fault.
Proving negligence in a motorcycle accident
To prevail in a motorcycle accident claim, you must be able to prove that the defendant was negligent. The plaintiff has the burden to prove each of the elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, including the following:
The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
The defendant breached the duty of care.
The defendant’s breach caused the accident and injuries.
The plaintiff suffered harm.
All motorists owe a duty of care to people who are traveling on the roads around them to operate their vehicles with the same degree of safety that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. For example, a motorist is expected to avoid driving while distracted or drunk and to follow the posted speed limits. Breaching a duty of care occurs when a person’s conduct falls below the standard expected of him or her for the situation. The plaintiff will still need to show that the plaintiff’s breach of the standard of care was the direct or proximate cause of the motorcycle accident and that the plaintiff was harmed because of it.
In some cases, the driver and the motorcyclist will share fault. California allows plaintiffs to recover damages even when they are partially to blame under a legal principle called comparative fault. In this type of situation, the jury will the degree of fault that is held by each party. The plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault.
For example, if you are determined to have been 25% at fault for your accident and are awarded a gross verdict of $250,000, your damages will be reduced by 25% or $62,500 for a net award of $187,500.
If several parties contributed to the accident, the jury will determine the percentage of fault held by each party. The liable parties will be responsible for paying the percentages of damages that are attributed to them. For example, if one defendant is found to be 20% at fault while another defendant is found to be 80% at fault, the defendant that is 20% at fault will have to pay 20% of the total verdict award while the defendant who is 80% at fault will be responsible for paying 80% of the total.
Some American states have modified comparative fault rules. In those states, people who are found to be more at fault than the defendants will not be able to recover damages. For example, in a state with a modified comparative fault rule, a plaintiff will not be able to recover damages if the jury finds that he or she is 51% at fault or more. California has a pure comparative fault rule, however. This means that people who are injured in California can recover damages even if they have a greater degree of liability for their accidents than the defendants. For example, if you are 99% at fault for causing an accident, you could still technically file a personal injury lawsuit. However, any damages would be reduced by 99%.
Motorcycle accidents can be devastating for the victims and their families. Fortunately, the law provides families and victims with the ability to recover damages from the parties that caused their accidents and losses. Getting help from experienced personal injury lawyers might help motorcycle accident victims to determine the legal options that may be available to them. By determining liability, the attorneys might help their clients to maximize the compensation that they might be able to recover.