Motorcycle Safety Protects You Legally as Well

May 04, 2012 View Comments by

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, an initiative supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we wanted to remind you that motorcycle safety has a direct correlation to preventing accidents, avoiding insurance and legal troubles, and protecting your financial security.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Course: Motorcycle safety courses can teach riders how to manage riding risks and remind them of basic safety standards. These course can help you avoid being involved in an accident and teach you to react correctly to hazards. That means you will be less likely to be found at fault for a collision—which ultimately protects your financial interests and helps you avoid the legal hassles of having a claim filed against you. Also, some insurance companies may offer a discount if you’ve taken a certified motorcycle safety course.

Identify Your Blind Spots: One of the most dangerous situations bikers can face is attempting to merge into a lane with a car, SUV, or truck in their blind spot. Remember, if you merge when you’re supposed to yield, and your actions cause an accident, the other driver(s) may file a claim against you for their injuries and pain and suffering.

Passengers: Only the owner of the motorcycle should operate it—allowing others to operate your bike could get you into a legal mess if they are in a collision. Also, any passenger that rides with you should have adequate insurance to cover their medical bills if they’re injured in an accident.

Know the Laws: Know your state’s licensing requirements so you have the certification necessary to safely operate a motorcycle. Also, motorcycle laws vary from state to state, so be sure to familiarize yourself with state helmet laws and state insurance laws. Riding without a license, and not having the required amount of motorcycle insurance, can get you into trouble both legally and financially.

After an Accident, Beware of the Insurance Company: Refer to our previous article on How to Protect Your Legal Rights (March 2012). Remember, filing an accident report is very important because it documents the situation that led to the collision and helps prevent falsified claims against you.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember: Never provide either insurance company with a recorded statement without speaking with an attorney first. The other party’s insurance company will likely try to offer you a quick settlement or ask you to sign papers. Do your research, and get a legal opinion before you accept an offer.

Staying safe on a motorcycle causes a chain reaction. If you take all the necessary steps to ride defensively and avoid accidents, you’ll be less likely to be in a collision. No collision means no insurance hassles, no need for you to file a claim against another motorist, and no need for another driver to file a claim against you. Learn more about motorcycle safety, and keep Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in mind.

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About the author

Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 20 years of experience helping bikers injured in motorcycle accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates. The Edgar Snyder & Associates Harley-Davidson makes appearances at bike nights and rallies throughout the riding season.