by George W. Ilchert
Riding on a bike or a motorcycle gives the rider a kind of freedom that you can’t get while driving. The wind in your hair, the feeling of control, and the thrill of the ride. But all benefits must come at a cost. You are more vulnerable on a bicycle or a motorcycle than in a car. Bike accidents all too often come with serious injuries.
In today’s world, people are more likely than ever to choose a form of transportation that doesn’t involve public transit. Whether it be a car, motorcycle, or bike, we can expect to see more vehicles on the road as the train cars go empty. Of course, not everyone can afford a motorcycle. And they may not have the space to store a bicycle. In those cases, vehicle-sharing services are on the rise, especially in the crowded boroughs of New York City. We can expect Citibikes and other bicycle renting services to be more popular than ever. There are even motorized scooter services like Revel for those looking for more power. (Were you involved in an accident with a Revel scooter? Read more here).
Look Out for Inexperienced Riders
Accidents are bound to happen with the sudden surge of cars, scooters, motorcycles, and bicycles on the road. As renting services do not require any training, be on the lookout for inexperienced riders. Injuries could be as simple as scraped knees, but with the crowded roads, they could be as serious as totaled cars, broken bones, and worse. To make matters worse, rental riders are likely to flaunt the rules of the road, speeding across lanes and riding on sidewalks, causing danger for other drivers and pedestrians alike.
As one vehicle is operated solely by peddling and the other with a powerful motor, the rules for bicycles and motorcycles are different. The most important danger of riding either a motorcycle or a bicycle is twofold: the rider is not paying attention to the traffic around them, or a motor vehicle is not paying attention to the bicycles and motorcycles around them. In this article, we’ll review the differences and the important facts to note when in an accident involving a bicycle or a motorcycle.
Rules for Bicycles
Though bicycles are not motor vehicles, they still have to follow the rules of the road, though modified. This may surprise you, as bicycle riders often ride with utter abandon and ignore all posted signs and traffic patterns.
The following is a summary of regulations that bicycle riders must follow, according to the nyc.gov website:
- Ride in the street, not on the sidewalks (unless the rider is 12 or younger and the bicycle’s wheels are less than 26 inches in diameter).
- Ride with traffic, not against it.
- Stop at red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic signals, signs, and pavement markings, and exercise due care to avoid colliding with pedestrians, motor vehicles, or other cyclists.
- Use marked bike lanes or paths when available, except when making turns or when it is unsafe to do so.
- Use a white headlight, a red taillight, a bell or horn, and reflectors.
Most bike accidents are caused by motor vehicles not allowing the bike rider enough room to maneuver. However, they can also be caused by road damage, like a pothole or other road defect, that may not severely affect a motor vehicle but could mean serious damage to a bicycle and its operator.
There is one very important distinction between bicycle accidents and motorcycle accidents. When struck by a motor vehicle, bicycle riders are entitled to no-fault benefits, and motorcycle riders are not. Article 51 of the New York State Insurance Law, often called the “No-Fault Law,” excludes motorcycles from being defined as “motor vehicles” to determine coverage requirements. The motorcycle operator cannot obtain no-fault insurance coverage for their damages in an accident.
Rules for Motorcycles
Motorcycles must follow all rules that a motor vehicle must obey, including insurance with at least the minimum amount of coverage. Motorcycles must drive in the normal car lanes and cannot utilize the bicycle lanes. Because of the engine’s power in a motorcycle, it is not safe or legal for them to share the bicycle lane with non-motorized vehicles.
Accidents are always dangerous for anyone on the road, but there is increased danger for motorcycles. Though they can reach the same speeds as a car, the rider has much less protection than the driver or passenger in a car. With no seatbelts, airbags, or other safety features, motorcycles expose their riders extremely. A collision for a person riding a motorcycle is much more likely to have more serious injuries than the same collision involving a passenger in a car.
Injured In a Bike Accident? Call Hach & Rose, LLP
The attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP are extremely knowledgeable about the ins and outs of bicycle and motorcycle accidents. You should not enter settlements regarding your accident without contacting an experienced attorney first. To be sure you are getting the compensation you deserve, you must contact a personal injury attorney who will fight for your rights. Partner Michael Rose achieved an $8,000,000 jury verdict for a passenger on a motorcycle involved in a collision with a car, which is just one of the impressive results the Hach & Rose, LLP team has achieved for their clients. Ready for an attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights? Call us at (212) 779-0057 to set up a free consultation today.
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