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Motorcyclist fatalities span all generations

If you are one of the many avid motorcyclists in California, you are likely aware that some people hold a lot of stereotypes about bikers. These stereotypes include thoughts that motorcycle riders may be a bit rough around the edges and also that people on these bikes frequently operate them negligently. The fact of the matter is that people of all walks of life enjoy riding motorcycles and most bikers take safety very seriously. Some believe that the impetuous of youth may be to blame for many accidents and, while that may be true in some cases, it is far from the full truth.

Fatalities among bikers happen across all age groups and for many reasons. Motorists in passenger cars pose several hazards to riders such as driver doors opening on cars parked on the right side of the road. Another problem situation that bikers must face is when drivers fail to yield the right of way, especially when making left turns.

Do older drivers have more accidents?

There has always been a concern that the older people get, the less able they are to drive safely. Elderly drivers are all over California roadways. Many may not be equipped to drive without getting into an accident or a near accident. There are many reasons why older adults may be more dangerous behind the wheel.

AAA explains that with age comes some driving limitations. Older drivers may not be able to see as well after the sun goes down. They may have mobility issues or even mental conditions that slow movement and reaction times. They are also more fragile than younger people, so if they are in an accident, the chances of severe or fatal injuries increase.

What are California's distracted driving laws?

If you are a California driver, then you know better than most that the state has some of the strictest distracted driving laws in all the country. This may be in large part because of the state's high accident rates as well as its vast population.

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, distracted drivers claimed the lives of 3,450 individuals in 2016 and caused more than 420,000 injuries in 2013. To prevent distracted driving fatalities and injuries, California lawmakers banned the use of handheld electronic devices under most circumstances. Though lawmakers banned the use of handheld devices across the board, they did make exceptions for certain non-commercial drivers. However, all novice drivers and school bus operators must refrain from using any type of mobile device—hands-free or not—while behind the wheel of a vehicle.

A bicycle collision does not have to stop you in your tracks

You enjoy bicycling when the weather is nice out. Unfortunately, though, if you happen to be pedaling in the vicinity of a careless motor vehicle driver, you might end up becoming involved in a car crash.

Your car collision may sadly result in serious, even fatal, injuries. However, it is within your rights to seek compensation for your injuries in such a situation in California.

Lane splitting guidelines in California

California is the only state that has seen a marked improvement in traffic congestion by allowing motorcycles to split lanes. Consequently, it is the only state that has passed legislation to allow lane splitting, though a few other states have tried. However, despite the benefits lane splitting has on traffic, many find the practice unnerving and many more feel as if it is the number one contributing cause of California’s high number of motorcycle fatalities.

According to the Los Angeles Times, though unnerving to many drivers, lane splitting, when done intelligently, is actually safer than not-splitting. This is because it reduces the risk of a passenger vehicle hitting a motorcycle operator from behind, which could result in potentially more severe injuries than those sustained in a side-swipe motorcycle accident. That said, lane splitting can be dangerous, and it often is when both rider and other drivers fail to exercise extreme caution.

When you are hurt while riding in a sidecar

It is vital for motorcyclists and those who drive any vehicle on the road to be aware of the different ways in which these accidents can happen. Some people may forget about the risks associated with riding in a sidecar and careless drivers may collide with a sidecar for a number of reasons. Sadly, those who ride on motorcycles and in sidecars are especially vulnerable when involved in a collision on the road, and many have either lost their lives or sustained major injuries. Across the state of California, it is pivotal for motorcycle accident victims to know about their legal right afterward.

While riding in a sidecar, you may be struck by a vehicle or by another motorcyclist. A car may hit you while trying to switch lanes or you could be struck from behind. Or, the person operating the motorcycle you are in may ride recklessly, whether they are drunk or decide to go too fast. There are many dangers you face while riding in a sidecar and these accidents can change your life forever. Whether you have to take time off of work to recover from an injury or you cannot afford to pay medical bills, many problems can arise in the days and weeks following an accident.

Reviewing federal hours-of-service regulations

Who has not started to feel a little drowsy after several hours behind the wheel? When most drivers start to become fatigued, they can pull off the road and get some rest. Unfortunately, that may not be an option for truckers who are expected to meet delivery deadlines. Yet no one wants the truck drivers traveling in and around Van Nuys to literally be falling asleep at the wheel (indeed, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists fatigue as being one of the 10 most common causes of truck accidents). How, then, are drivers to balance the need to do their jobs while still remaining attentive and alert at all times? 

They are assisted by the federal government, which has created strict hours-of-service guidelines to keep truckers from becoming fatigued. Per the FMCSA, these regulations are: 

  • A truck driver can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after taking 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • A truck driver cannot drive past the fourteenth hour after having commenced driving following 10 consecutive hours off-duty
  • A truck driver must take a 30-minute break or sleeper berth rest period every eight hours
  • A truck driver's work week cannot exceed 60/70 hours cover 7/8 consecutive days

Stand up and fight back legally following a pedestrian crash

A leisurely stroll may leave you battling serious injuries or even fighting for your life if you become involved in a pedestrian crash. In some cases, pedestrian crashes happen as a result of car driver's negligent driving.

A pedestrian accident can certainly take a toll on you physically, but it can be just as traumatizing financially, mentally and emotionally. Fortunately, you have the right to pursue monetary compensation following these types of accidents.

Does California limit damages awarded in car accident cases?

Many states have caps on the amount of damages car accident victims may recover via their car accident claims. California, however, is not one of them. If you or a loved one has been severely injured in a California car accident, you may worry about how you will cover the cost of medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation and other expenses. Fortunately, this may not be an issue. With the lack of damage caps, you may recoup the amount necessary to cover your losses and then some.

That said, FindLaw warns California drivers that just because there is no limit on damages courts award in car accident cases, that does not mean there are no limits in general. California, like most states, has a time limit in which car accident victims may file their cases. That time limit, or statute of limitations, is two years. If you plan to file a property damage claim, that time limit extends to three years. However, if you wish to file a complaint against a government entity — local or federal — the statute of limitations is drastically reduced to just six months.

Job responsibilities and motor vehicle wrecks

Some drivers have a lot on their plate, whether they are going through emotional hurdles such as depression or they are driving in an area that they are not familiar with. Moreover, some people have demanding jobs, and are different reasons why this can be concerning when it comes to traffic safety. For example, a demanding job may cause a driver to become fatigued, falling asleep at the wheel or dozing off and veering into another lane. Moreover, some job responsibilities directly get in the way of driving.

From those who operate a vehicle as part of their job to people who have to answer important calls while they are on the road, some job duties can increase the chances of a worker finding themselves in a motor vehicle collision. People in this position may also pose a threat to the safety of others and if you have been hit by a driver who was fatigued or distracted, pursuing legal action may be a good idea. Each situation is unique, and you may need to review the individual details of a crash you were involved in before making any decisions.

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