Sharing the Road with Motorcycles Requires Extra Precautions
As any motorcyclist can tell you, there’s nothing like the feeling of exhilaration and freedom as you zip along the road, not to mention the satisfaction of getting better gas mileage. And as any New Jersey personal injury lawyer can tell you, all that fun has a potentially disastrous flip side.
Motorcycles are much more prone to accidents that result in devastating injury or death. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that, while crash-related deaths involving cars and light trucks reached an all-time low in 2008, motorcyclist deaths in the same time period actually reached an all-time high, more than doubling since 1999.
One high-profile 2011 New Jersey motorcycle crash instituted a step toward resolution this week with a proposed $2.5 million settlement from New Jersey Transit to Keith Nystrom. Mr. Nystrom suffered two broken legs and a severely fractured arm in an accident involving New Jersey Transit buses. He lost the use of his left hand.
Nystrom was in the bus lane of the Lincoln Tunnel when a New Jersey Transit bus rear-ended him, pushing him into, and pinning him under, the bus in front of him. The bus driver who hit him was distracted and failed to brake, and despite the fact that Nystrom was in the wrong lane, the negligence of the distracted bus driver was found to be the primary cause.
The accident spotlights some important considerations about sharing the road with motorcycles:
- All drivers need to remember that motorcycles have the same rights as any other vehicle on the road. They must yield to motorcycles under the same circumstances that they would to other cars.
- Motorcyclists need to remember that they also have the same responsibilities as other drivers, including staying in designated lanes, signaling turns and lane changes, traveling at safe speeds, and maintaining safe distances from other vehicles.
- Protective clothing, including approved helmets and brightly colored, reflective jackets, can mean the difference between life and death.
If you’re involved in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for reliable representation.