When you think of New York City, you might not necessarily think of riding a motorcycle. But there are many people do ride in the city. It’s easier to ride here with a motorcycle than a car, parking may be easier, and there are now motorcycle-only garages. You can even take guided motorcycle tours of New York City. But from 2010 to 2014, 14% of traffic fatalities in NYC were from motorcycle riders.
The most obvious difference between motorcycle accidents and a car accidents, is, of course, the vehicle involved in the accident. A car is designed with safety features like airbags, crumple zones, and seat belts. Cars have a steel chassis, doors, frames and other components that can absorb at least some of the impact. A motorcycle rider has a helmet, and frequently, not much else, to protect him or her from the impact of a crash with a car.
New York Helmet Laws
Unlike many states, New York does have a helmet law. While a helmet can’t prevent an accident, it can (and has been proven) to prevent traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in motorcycle accident victims.
The state of New York requires all drivers and passengers of motorcycles to wear a helmet that’s approved under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, Section 571.218. Drivers are also required to wear safety goggles under New York State’s Vehicle & Traffic Law, Section 381.
Myth: Motorcycle Riders Are Always Dangerous
Despite the many riders who exercise safety on two wheels, there are a few riders who don’t ride safely, giving everyone a bad name. But among drivers, this fallacy exists, creating an anti-cycle bias that can carry over to insurers, police officers, jurors and others that will assume you’re at fault no matter what you did. Drivers don’t always look for or see any two-wheeled vehicles, especially in NYC. This is especially true in the spring when riders bring their bikes out after they’ve been stored for the winter.
For an attorney representing a driver, the “dangerous rider” is usually their preferred defense. But it’s different for the attorney representing the rider. If they’re not familiar with not only these prejudices, but the laws that address motorcycle accidents, the rider may find themselves without good representation. This stereotyping makes it more difficult to prove your case in court, but you’ll have to prove it in order to receive compensation.
An attorney who understands these things about motorcycle accidents will be able to overcome the prejudices by looking for and presenting facts. Namely, that another driver was negligent in operating their vehicle, and caused your injuries that have led to financial and other losses. Should the case go to court, an experienced motorcycle attorney will also be able to help with jury selection to eliminate jurors with a bias against motorcyclists. An attorney will also show to the court and jurors the rider’s previous record of safety, and what he or she did to avoid the accident.
Your Injuries Are More Severe
Car accident injuries from a light fender-bender can range from bumps and bruises to a mild concussion. Injuries from that same fender-bender on two wheels can mean broken bones, brain or other organ damage, and multiple surgeries to correct this damage are common. Disabling injuries may be permanent and affect your ability to earn an income at a time when you’re dealing with high medical bills and repair costs.
Insurers know that this kind of case may have a higher payout than a two-car accident, and will work to reduce or eliminate your settlement. This is why you should never give a statement of any kind to any insurance company, including your own. Let your attorney handle the administrative side of the accident while you concentrate on healing.
New York’s Motorcycle Accident Law Firm
NYC can be a dangerous place for anyone on two wheels, with more severe injuries than if you were in a car. Need help dealing with the other party, or their insurance company? You can reach someone at Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier today at (212) 777-9400, or you can use our website contact form. We’re a family-owned NYC personal injury law firm with more than 26 years of experience helping injured people after a life-changing accident. Our contingency fee arrangement means we don’t get paid until you do, whether we settle your case or take it to court.