West Virginia is a great place to ride a motorcycle. Scenic mountain rides are easily found, and we’re one of the best states for motorcycling. Fans of the road know MountainFest, the yearly motorcycle rally held in Morgantown (paused for 2020), which has had many as 60,000 visitors at one time.
But in 2013, one of those riders was involved in a fatal accident when his motorcycle slid on wet roads and collided with a vehicle.
Motorcycle accidents are more dangerous to the rider than a car accident. A rider is much more vulnerable because of the lightweight of the vehicle, as well as being much more exposed and less stable than a car. Consequently, accidents tend to be much more serious than a car crash.
What Causes Accidents?
Many people believe that a motorcycle accident is always the rider’s fault, even though it usually isn’t. This myth is particularly difficult for an attorney trying to defend a rider after an accident since a defendant’s attorney will be quick to bring it up.
In most cases, the rider is not at fault. Causes for a motorcycle accident include:
- Drivers who aren’t paying attention because they’re
- Operating a GPS
- Driving under the influence
- Opening the car door in the path of a motorcycle
- Drivers who are speeding and/or driving recklessly
- Right-of-way violations
- Vehicles taking turns in front of a motorcycle without looking especially left-hand turns
- Road hazards and conditions such as:
- Dead animals
- Uneven lanes
- Slick roadways
- Debris from a previous car accident
- Trees or other obstructions
- Construction zones
- Traffic signs and lights obscured by overgrown foliage
- Ice and snow
- Adverse weather conditions
West Virginia does have a helmet law, as do some surrounding states: Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and North Carolina. Kentucky, like a number of states, only has a law that covers riders under a certain age (in this case, 20.) Some states, like Ohio and Indiana, only require helmets for riders under 17. Iowa, New Hampshire, and Illinois have no mandatory helmet law.
But wearing a helmet decreases the risk of dying in a crash by 37%. Riders without helmets are three times more likely to experience a traumatic brain injury than riders who wear one. Helmets also reduce the risk of fatality by 37% to 42%.
While you may not be able to avoid every scenario, these safety tips can help you avoid as much calamity as you can:
- Wear your helmet, every time. A DOT-approved riding helmet that conforms to the federal standard can prevent serious head injuries in the event of a crash, and decrease your chances of serious injuries.
- Protective clothing and other equipment increase your visibility to other drivers and also helps protect the rest of your body from injuries.
- Take a rider-training course. This can help you learn (or re-learn) the basics of motorcycle operation, best practices when operating a motorcycle, and about dangerous areas such as intersections.
- Be extra cautious with passengers. Don’t consider taking passengers with you unless you’re an experienced rider yourself. It takes more skill to ride with a passenger than on your own.
- One of the biggest mistakes riders make is not leaving enough room for stopping. Observe the speed limit. Even a low-speed collision can cause serious injuries to a rider, and can even be fatal.
- Realize what you can handle safely. While you may want the biggest bike available for long-distance riding, it’s better to start with a smaller one you can handle better, such as a 125cc machine.
- Weather conditions. It’s important to watch out for bad weather, especially on two wheels. Never ride right after rain starts—oil and other slick substances surface on the road, greatly increasing your chances of crashing.
Call The Love Law Firm For West Virginia Motorcycle Accidents
The Love Law Firm is ready to help you through a motorcycle accident. Call us today at 304-344-5683, or use our online contact form to schedule your appointment with one of our attorneys. (You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.) We’ll discuss your case with you, explain your options, and what to expect in an accident settlement. Our contingency fee arrangement means that if we don’t win your case, you won’t owe us a fee.