A common riding safety viewpoint often expressed to motorcyclists over the past decades has been to tell them to ride like they are a target for everyone. It is almost like saying to bikers that they should assume that other vehicles are out to get them (even thought that is not remotely true). The point of all of this kind of talk is to try to make bikers remember to always drive defensively. This advice is not new, but even with all of the technological advances in motor vehicles, it is still very relevant.
Motorcycle riders on today’s highways and roadways are always vulnerable to potentially serious injuries. Motorcycles are frequently said to be difficult to see by other vehicles on the road. That is true under even the best driving conditions. If you throw in the reality that there are many distracted drivers on the roads, the chances of a distracted drive not seeing a motorcycle on the road can are very high. Distracted driving has become a major problem in the United States, and it has put bikers at a higher risk than ever before. Motorcyclists must be prepared to drive defensively.
The Problems on the Roads
Most people haven driven distracted at one time or another. Cell phones are one of the most obvious distractions for drivers, but they aren’t the only problem. People have conversations with other passengers in their vehicles, use their rearview mirror to check their appearance and eat, all while they should be completely focused on their driving. . All of these distractions can take a driver’s focus away from the task at hand, and all are potentially dangerous things to do while driving.
Folks that ride (bikes) and people with family members and friends who also ride tend to be some of the most attentive drivers on the road. Even when paying attention, drivers don’t always hear or see riders. Now imagine how much more hazardous it is for the person on a motorcycle when the people around them are performing a variety of other tasks behind the wheel while driving…It is so dangerous and not just for the bikers, but for everyone!
Knowing how to spot distracted driving can help you make important decisions. Getting ahead of a vehicle or hanging far back could be what saves your life. Here are some warning signs that may suggest a driver is distracted:
Keeping Yourself Safe
Sometimes noticing that a driver is distracted isn’t enough. Additionally you may need to be able to make maneuvers to keep yourself safe. Some of these things may come naturally to you, and others may require some practice. Either way, consider the following:
Distracted Driving Statistics.
While distracted driving is a problem for everyone, motorcyclists may be at a higher risk of fatality due to their lack of protection. Learning how to spot and stay away from a distracted driver can go a long way in keeping you safer on your journey.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas that was caused by a distracted driver, reach out to our team. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation, and let us help you discover the options and rights that you have.
Do you think you know everything there is to know about riding motorcycles? Even if you are a seasoned rider, there may still be things you are not aware of regarding motorcycle safety. There is no shortage of myth and misconception surrounding bikes, their riders and their safe operation.
Here are 10 of those myths and misconceptions, many of which you may have believed in at one point or another.
Many people believe that a louder exhaust pipe on a bike leads to more safety for the rider. When you think about it, it makes sense. If you can make your motorcycle as loud as possible, other drivers on the road are more likely to notice you.
Research has shown that this actually isn’t the case. In fact, bikes with modified exhaust systems are involved in more crashes. If you want to be noticed, wear a bright helmet and light-colored clothing.
Some people don’t wear a helmet because they believe head protection does more harm than good. People believe that the added weight on their head makes it more likely for them to break their neck in an accident.
This isn’t true. People who wear helmets sustain fewer head and neck injuries than those who don’t. This is because a helmet is made to absorb the force of an accident.
This one may have some basis in truth. A helmet that doesn’t fit properly could potentially make it more difficult for you to see, if it slips and slides. On the other hand, a properly-fitting helmet will not hinder your vision or your hearing.
The simple fact is that a rider is more likely to survive a crash if they are wearing a helmet, no matter the speed.
Some riders believe that if they have enough skill, they can handle anything. Of course, the more experienced you are, the safer you are, but it doesn’t mean you are invincible.
Do not believe the lie your experience will keep you out of harm’s way. An enhanced sense of skill may have you operating your bike more recklessly than you would otherwise.
Out of all motorcycle deaths, nearly half occur in the over-40 age bracket. In the last decade, fatalities among riders over 50 years old have risen by 400 percent. Researchers attribute this fact to inexperience and more powerful motorcycles on the market.
Just because someone is young doesn’t mean they are more dangerous. Someone’s age doesn’t relate to their probability of getting into an accident.
Some riders stick to side streets, believing that they are safer than highways. In some instances, this could be true, but in most, it isn’t.
Think about your nearest highway. All drivers are traveling in the same direction and there are no added dangers of cyclists, pedestrians, stop signs and other objects on the side of the road. If you look at the statistics, motorcyclists are much safer on the highway than they are on a neighborhood street.
You may not feel intoxicated after one drink and think you are okay to hop on your bike and ride wherever you like. This isn’t the case. Even one drink can slow down your reaction time.
The faster you react to a situation, the better off you are — perhaps even more so on a motorcycle than in a car or truck. If you are out on your motorcycle, you should not consume any alcohol under any circumstances.
This is simply untrue. If you ride your motorcycle, try not to get a chip on your shoulder about drivers in cars and trucks. They do care about you; it’s just that many may not understand how to treat a motorcycle rider safely.
It’s often easy to tell the drivers who are riders themselves or who have riders in their family. They will stop further behind you, give you wider berth and look over both shoulders before turning lanes. Be sure to give a wave of thanks to these people. They may be the ones to educate others.
Yes, there are some bad and selfish drivers out there that act like they own the road. However, no one wants to be in an accident. As more and more people use motorcycles for transportation, the general driving public is becoming more accustomed to driving with more and more bikes on the road. Just continue to be a safe driver that is focused on the road!
Speak with a North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
The aftermath of a motorcycle collision can be very serious. You may suffer head trauma, broken bones or even spinal injuries. If you are one of the lucky ones, you’ll walk away with a bit of road rash and live to tell the tale. If you are involved in a catastrophic accident, you could lose your life. Knowing the facts about motorcycles, their riders and how to safely use them can help you avoid some of the most common collisions.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte, you have legal rights. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation. If another driver is responsible for causing your accident, we will help you hold them accountable. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Reach out to our team today to schedule your consultation and get the help you need.
The pull of the open road is something that motorcyclists understand. Riding a motorcycle is a freeing feeling and a way to relax for hundreds of thousands of people. For others, it’s also a way to commute, saving money on gas they would otherwise be putting into their more traditional vehicle.
In North Carolina, there are approximately 200,000 registered bikers. While motorcycles can be found on the road at any time of year, they are more prevalent in the warmer months because more bikers are on the road. These accidents aren’t always fatal, but most do result in at least some type of injury. There’s just not much protection when you are on a motorcycle, even if you are wearing all of the right safety gear.
The state requires that all motorcyclists wear a helmet in order to protect riders from some of the most serious injuries. Even though wearing a helmet may protect your head, it doesn’t stop accidents from happening. You can protect yourself better by knowing which accidents are the most common, and what you can do to try and prevent them.
A vehicle driver turning left is one of the top causes of motorcycle accidents. A driver may not see you or could judge your speed incorrectly. They then turn in front of you, essentially cutting off your path, giving you no choice but to either lay your bike down or hit the vehicle.
To avoid this type of accident, you need to see it coming. You should look for any indicators that a vehicle in front of you may turn left. Be cautious at intersections, near driveways and close to parking lots. Be ready to take action if you need to.
You’re out riding the curves and, without warning, you round a bend and find a patch of loose debris in your path. It may be sand, gravel or leaves. It doesn’t really matter what it is, because it causes you to lose control and wipe out.
You can avoid this type of accident by avoiding the situation altogether. Ride at speeds that are right for the road conditions and your range of vision. Enter turns slowly and accelerate as you ride out of them.
The general rule of thumb for curves is slow in, fast out. If you enter a curve at high speeds, you may find that you lose control of your bike. Once you’ve figured out that you aren’t going to be able to make the corner, it’s usually too late to do anything about it.
Avoid this by entering corners slowly. If you do enter a corner too fast, take as much lean off the bike as you can and let it do its job. Don’t slam on your brakes, and don’t hit the accelerator. Do your best to maintain control of your bike and coast through the corner.
Another common reason for accidents are cars changing lanes in front of you. Keep in mind that if you are riding next to a car, you may be in their blind spot. As far as they know, the way is clear to move over into your lane.
Keep yourself safe by not riding next to a vehicle if you can help it. Always look for signs that a vehicle may be getting ready to change lanes, and be extra vigilant in slow-moving traffic where people may be getting impatient.
You stop like you should at an intersection, but the car behind you isn’t paying attention. You are plowed into from behind at a high speed and thrown from your bike. There isn’t much you can do about other driver’s attention spans, but you can make sure that you are positioning yourself in such a way that a rear-end accident will have less impact.
If you can stop to the side of the lane instead of the center, especially with the front part of your bike next to another car, you’re better off.
No matter how experienced a rider you are, you can’t speak for the people in your riding group. When people don’t understand proper riding etiquette, they are more likely to cause an accident within their own group.
Avoid accidents by ensuring that everyone you are riding with is aware of how to ride in a group. Staggered formation is the way to go. It gives everyone a better line of site and can prevent one bike from crashing into another. If you find that one of your friends just can’t get it together when you all ride together, don’t ride with them.
Sometimes we just aren’t paying attention. We’ve all been guilty of it. You may see something in the road or along the side and squeeze your front brake without really realizing what you are doing. The next thing you know, you’re on the pavement.
Before you use your front brake, you need how to use it. Practice makes perfect in this case. Know what your front brake will do to your bike at different speeds. You can practice in an open parking lot without posing a threat to yourself or other people.
This is a problem for people pedaling a bike and those riding motorcycle. You are moving down the road when a car door suddenly opens. This is actually an easy accident to avoid if you just stay out of the lane that is next to parked cars.
It’s raining or snowing and the road is slippery. If you knew that it was raining and your motorcycle doesn’t have the best tires, stay off of slick pavement.
If you run into inclement weather suddenly, slow down and be prepared to make evasive maneuvers if necessary. Know that the visibility of other drivers on the road may be limited and drive accordingly.
In 2016, about 26 percent of riders killed in fatal motorcycle accidents had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher — in other words, they were legally drunk. This one is simple: Don’t drink and ride.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or elsewhere and are interested in pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver, reach out to our team for a free consultation. We will discuss your accident with you and advise you as to your best course of action.
Whether it’s the freedom of the open road calling your name or just something you’ve always wanted to do, you have decided to by a motorcycle. You’re going to have a great time once you finally choose one, but the important part is choosing the right one. Not only that, but picking out all of the right gear.
There is more than purchasing a bike than a make and then there’s the necessary safety gear that comes with it. Here are some tips on buying your first motorcycle, and everything else you need, in the hopes of helping you stay safe.
As important as choosing the right motorcycle is choosing the right protective equipment. At a minimum, you’ll need:
Wearing the right gear is going to help keep you safe while riding, but it could also save your life should you be involved in an accident.
The motorcycle you choose will depend on your wants and needs. Most experts recommend that someone just starting out looks for a bike with a single or twin cylinder engine. These are the commonly recommended makes for beginners:
If you do happen to be involved in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or the surrounding area, you have rights. Reach out to our team today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation. We will review the details of your accident and talk to you more about your legal options. Call our office today or browse our website at your convenience to learn more about our firm and the types of cases we handle.
Driving a car requires little physical fitness. You get behind the wheel, you start your engine and you go where you need to go. Driving a motorcycle isn’t so simple. A motorcycle requires balance, and balance requires strength. A person who can’t control their bike is a danger to themselves and others on the road.
Picture this scenario: You are driving your motorcycle and feel it begin to tip. You plant your foot and do what you can to stabilize your bike. You lack the physical strength to hold it up, and you lay it down. Could it have been avoided? Quite possibly.
Getting into better shape can help keep you on two wheels longer. For many people, age-related declines in physical fitness have them giving up riding before they are ready. By staying fit, you will be able to enjoy the open road for years to come.
How and when you workout is up to you. Some people find that they don’t have the time or desire to join a gym. The good news is that there are DVDs and even apps that can help you develop your fitness. If you don’t want to workout in your living room, hop on a bike and take a ride. Put the leash on the dog and go for a walk. There are a variety of ways that you can put a workout routine together.
Building endurance will allow you to ride your motorcycle for longer periods of time. How you develop that endurance depends on your current state of health, but it should include increasing your heart rate. Start slow and increase your exercise over a period of weeks and months. Take your pulse and count your heartbeats per minute. A good goal is between 65 and 75 percent of your resting rate. Try to maintain this range for 10 minutes during your first workouts and longer in your subsequent ones.
You want to build the strength in your core, thighs and forearms. Weight training is the easiest way to build muscle, but any resistance activity will do. Yard work, swimming and even playing sports will help to build your strength. Here’s a good rule of thumb: When you take on resistance training, you will feel it in your muscles. It’s time to increase your weights when you don’t feel the burn any longer.
Anyone who has not been involved in any type of fitness program should speak with their doctor before undertaking a new regimen. Your medical provider can help you determine the healthiest amount of exercise for your age, body type and current state of health.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte, reach out to our team of experienced accident attorneys. We will review the details of your accident at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options. Call today to schedule your free case evaluation.
When you are out riding your motorcycle, chances are that you are paying close attention to the behaviors of others around you. You worry about other vehicles seeing you, and you stay out of the blind spots of truckers. Do you worry about road hazards?
Most motorcyclists know to avoid potholes and loose gravel, but those who are less experienced might not consider other hazards that are on the roads. Read on to discover how to stay safe on your bike when out on the open road.
When rain or snow falls, it makes sense that the roads may be slick. Some don’t consider that slick roads can also be caused by heavy fog or even early-morning dew. Regardless of the reason for the slippery roadway, there are things you can do to maneuver safely.
The first thing you want to do on slick surfaces is reduce your speed. It will take you longer to stop when the roads are slick so slow down. Your front brake is responsible for most of the braking power of your motorcycle, but on slick surfaces you should use both brakes equally.
As far as your path of driving, stick to the areas that are most clear. Water tends to build up on the side of the road and, in many areas, the center of the lane can be just as dangerous. Keep this in mind when you are deciding where to drive.
Strong winds can come up suddenly and be difficult to drive through. A strong gust of wind can push your bike over faster than you can react. When the winds are high, follow these tips to stay upright.
Stick to the side of the lane that allows you the most room to maneuver. Stay far enough behind and away from other vehicles that you can steer safely should you be pushed by the wind. Sit upright on your motorcycle, hold onto both hand grips, and keep your feet firmly planted on the pegs. If you have the ability to do so, steer into the wind.
You may find yourself in a situation where you have no choice but to ride over an object in the road. If this is the case, hold onto the hand grips, keep your front wheel straight, and rise up slightly. These things will help you absorb the shock of driving over the object.
There are some things that you cannot prepare for when you are driving a motorcycle. Weather can change quickly and hazards can appear seemingly out of nowhere. You will be better prepared for these things if you know how to react ahead of time.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in Charlotte or the surrounding areas, reach out to our team of experienced motorcycle accident attorneys for a free case evaluation. We will advise you of your legal options and help you make the best decisions for your unique situation.
Even as summer has come to a close, motorcycles are still all over the roads of North Carolina. The weather has cooled off just a bit, making it that much more enjoyable for this state’s nearly 200,000 registered bikers to hit the open roads. But, as more choppers flood the roads, motorcycle accidents become much more prevalent. While these aren’t always fatal, they do generally result in injury, as there’s not much protecting a rider from other vehicles — and the road itself.
North Carolina has taken measures to prevent some of the most serious injuries by requiring all riders to wear a helmet. However much protection helmets and other equipment provide, however, they do not prevent accidents from happening. Here are the most common causes of wrecks, caused by both other drivers and motorcyclists themselves, and how to prevent them.
Whether on your bike or in a car, few nuisances are more aggravating than the vehicle in front of you stopping to make a left turn. If you are traveling at a relatively high speed, you may not have time to slow down, and end up crashing into stopped car. You can blame any number of factors, but at the end of the day, the accident will almost always be considered your fault. To avoid this accident, always be attentive to your surroundings. On single-lane roads with many left-hand turns, leave plenty of room between yourself and the car ahead of you.
Imperfect surface conditions are especially prevalent on back roads. When the roads are winding, you may suddenly find yourself hitting a corner where you find gravel, sand, fallen leaves or any other obstacles. The moment you run into it, you lose control and wipe out. To avoid this kind of crash, remember: slow in, fast out. Don’t take turns so quickly that you can’t react to whatever is in the road. Your survival may depend on your reaction time. If you are going to go into turns at higher speeds, be sure to incorporate trail braking into your riding.
You’re enjoying time on your bike, speeding down the road and enjoying the fresh air. All the sudden a curve comes up in the road. You try to slow down, but it’s not enough; you wipe out. This is one of the easiest accidents to prevent. You should never ride faster than your reaction time. Even if you are on a highway or on a road you have traveled a thousand times, conditions can change in an instant. If you are in this situation, don’t slam on the brakes, which can cause you to flip. Instead, use trail braking and other techniques to safely slow down and maintain control.
Highway traffic is usually a mess. Drivers are weaving in and out of lanes, trying to get to their destination seconds earlier than the cars in front of them. While this is often little more than an aggravation for car drivers, motorcyclists are potentially in danger on the highway. If you are on the highway or any multi-lane road, watch out for cars suddenly changing lanes. Stay out of blind spots, and look for signs like turning signals and wheels turning to avoid being collided with. If one lane is moving faster, be careful if you are driving in it, as that’s where other drivers will try to be as well.
Whether you are stopped at a traffic light or a deer ran in front of you, causing you to suddenly stop, there is always the chance of you being rear-ended. Unlike other causes of wrecks on this list, there simply aren’t many things you can do to prevent this from happening, since you usually aren’t at fault. However, there are a few preventative steps you can take. If you can, stop in front of another car is that already slowing down. It allows you to have a buffer if someone comes speeding along behind you. If you can’t, pull over to the side of the lane; don’t stop in the center. Be prepared to move if danger approaches.
If you can avoid it, don’t ride during foul weather. It’s not always avoidable; rain and storms can pop up at any time. If you have decent brakes and good tires, you can make it through. However, if it is raining when you leave, simply find another way to get where you’re going. There is no need to purposefully going out on your bike when the roads are going to be slippery.
The number one cause of motorcycle wrecks is alcohol use. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about one third of all motorcycle accident fatalities involve a rider with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher. Though the most common, these accidents are also the easiest to prevent. If you’ve been driving, do not get on your motorcycle.
Every time you get on your bike, you take your life, and potentially the lives of those around you, into your own hands. By driving safely and avoiding reckless driving, you have enjoy many wonderful years atop your motorcycle.
Pfc. Emmanuel Pickett, age 20, died from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. The soldier, originally from Smackover, Arkansas, was stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He was assigned to E Battery, 3rd Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade.
Pfc. Pickett’s accident occurred in his home state near the city of El Dorado. Details of his accident were not immediately released. It is known that he joined the army in 2013 and trained at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. He was assigned to Fort Bragg and his brigade in 2014.
While in the Army, Pfc. Pickett received several awards and decorations, including the Army Achievement Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service medal, the Parachutist Badge, and the National Defense Service Medal. He is survived by his wife, mother and stepfather.
Even though the facts surrounding the accident have not been released, the accident should serve as a reminder to everyone. The weather is heating up and motorcycles will be on the road in greater numbers. If you are behind the wheel of a car, stay extra vigilant for these two-wheeled vehicles. Here are just a few safety tips:
Keep your windows rolled down at least part of the way when you can. This makes it easier to hear motorcycles that you may not be able to see.
Keep your radio turned down. This not only allows you to hear motorcycles, but emergency vehicles as well.
Stay aware of your surroundings. Don’t rely on your mirrors when switching lanes or backing up. Always turn your head to look. Even though most are loud, you may not be aware that a motorcycle is nearby unless you look.
Do not tailgate a motorcycle. If the rider in front of you has an accident or falls off their bike, riding too closely could mean disaster.
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident in North Carolina, you may be entitled to compensation for property damage and injury. Call our office today and let us provide you with a free case evaluation. We will tell you what compensation you may file a claim for. Call now.
The first few weeks after a brain injury can be worrisome. Victims often experience swelling, bleeding or changes in brain chemistry. These issues can affect the way that brain tissue functions. While many people improve from brain injuries, some do not. How a person recovers depends on the injury and the individual.
Despite the difficulty in determining exactly how a patient will recover, there are generalities that can be considered. Typically, people experience the greatest amount of recovery within two years of the injury. After this, recovery may halt or slow dramatically. It is not to say that a person cannot return to full function, but that they may be very slow to do so.
When a person is recovering from a traumatic brain injury after a motorcycle or any other type of accident, medical professionals rate their recovery using the Rancho Los Amigos Levels of Cognitive Functioning. This scale is as follows:
Level 1: No response.
Level 2: Responses are not consistent and not directly in response to stimuli.
Level 3: Responses are inconsistent but in response to stimuli.
Level 4: Patient experiences agitation and confusion.
Level 5: Patient is confused and inaccurately responds to commands.
Level 6: Patient is confused but responds accurately to given commands.
Level 7: Person can go about day with minimal confusion.
Level 8: Memory is functioning and patient is responsive to environment.
Level 9: Patient can function but is aware of need for assistance.
Level 10: Patient can function but may need extended time or compensatory strategies.
After two years, most people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury show decreases in disability. Many live in private residences and are employed. It is not unusual for people to require some type of supervision during the day or night.
This is not intended to be legal advice or indicative of all patients. If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, the best source of health information is a medical professional.
If you need a personal injury lawyer in North Carolina due to a traumatic brain injury, call our office today. A member of our team will review the details of your case at no cost to you and advise you of your options. Call now or browse our website for more information about our firm and how we can assist you.
ATVs, or all-terrain vehicles, are popular in North Carolina. People use ATVs for recreation, sport and even work. If you own one of these machines, it is important that you are familiar with the laws surrounding them to keep yourself both safe and out of trouble with the law. Here is a general explanation of ATV laws in the state.
According to NC ATV age laws, Children under the age of eight years old are not permitted to operate an ATV. Children between the ages of 8 and 12 are not permitted to operate an ATV with an engine larger than 70 cubic centimeters. Larger ATVs are permissible for children between the ages of 12 and 16, but the engine must still be smaller than 90 cubic centimeters.
While children are permitted to operate these vehicles, they must do so under constant supervision. Any child under the age of 16 must be supervised by someone 18 or over.
Carrying a passenger is a great time. That said, you are legally not allowed to ride with a passenger if your ATV was not built to do so. Do not ride with someone on the handlebars, in front of you on the seat or otherwise on the ATV if it is not designed for two people.
The ATV that you drive must have a working brake system. It must also have a muffler system that is in proper working condition. Be sure that your vehicle is equipped with a spark arrester that is working properly. This is a requirement of the United States Forest Service.
According to NC ATV laws, you may not:
Additionally, if you were born after 1990, you are required to have passed a safety training class and possess a certificate of completion. Should you violate any of these laws, you may be subject to a fine of not more than $200.
If you are involved in an ATV accident in North Carolina, call our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys. We will provide you with a free case evaluation and advise you of your options. Call now.