Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

In a hit and run accident, the driver leaves the scene without stopping to assess damage or injury, call the police, or provide his or her contact information. While leaving the scene of an accident is illegal almost everywhere, it still happens all too often. In fact, over 2,500 people died in hit and run crashes in the U.S. in 2020. In Massachusetts, nearly 10% of fatal pedestrian accidents in 2022 involved hit and run drivers.

Sometimes drivers flee the scene because they are intoxicated, don’t have a license or insurance, or simply panic and keep driving. Even if the driver is never identified, victims of hit and run accidents in Massachusetts can still make a claim with their insurance company. If the driver is later identified, he or she may face criminal charges or a lawsuit in civil court.

Recent MA Hit and Run Accidents

After a long, cold winter, spring invites Massachusetts cyclists outside again. Unfortunately, as the warm weather increases, so do bike-related accidents. The number of incidents involving bicycles in Boston tends to jump up in May and remain high into the fall.

In addition to increasing in summer, bicycle ridership appears to be increasing year to year. According to the City of Boston, participation in the Bluebikes bike share program rose 17% from 2019 to 2021. September 2021 was the busiest month ever, with nearly 435,000 bike trips that month alone.

With more cyclists on the road, it seems more bike accidents are inevitable. And the dangers multiply in cities: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that nearly 80% of bicyclist deaths occur in urban areas.

Motorcycles can be an exhilarating way to get around and see the world. Over 13 million people ride a motorcycle in the United States, according to recent data, which also unfortunately means that motorcycle accidents occur every single day. Injuries that occur to motorcyclists can be among the most serious, and road rash is among the most common type of injury suffered. If you or a loved one were injured following a motorcycle accident, contact the personal injury experts at Altman & Altman LLP today.

When riding a motorcycle, the margin for error is very slim. User error and bad decisions can contribute to serious injuries, but outside factors beyond the operator’s control can also lead to horrific accidents. Negligence or reckless behavior of other motorists, malfunctioning equipment and other factors can cause a motorcycle rider to crash or fall off their bike, leading to injuries such as road rash.

In cases where your injury were caused by factors outside your control, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the responsible party or parties, which could result in financial compensation that enables you to fix your bike, heal from your injuries and recover lost wages that you were unable to collect due to being out of work during your injury.

What is road rash?

A road rash injury occurs when an unprotected layer of skin comes into contact with pavement or another type of ground surface while traveling at high speeds. The friction that is created between the surface of the ground and the body causes the skin to tear away, causing significant damage to the soft tissue and, in severe cases, to the muscles all the way down to bone.

A common misconception with road rash is that it can only happen to exposes skin. While road rash is essentially a guarantee if you crash while traveling on a motorcycle while your extremities are without any clothing to protect them, road rash can also occur through various types of clothing. This is why there is a market for specialized motorcycle gear – such as leather jackets and pants – that are supposed to reduce the severity of road rash.

At its worst, road rash injuries can cover large areas of the body. Aside from the obvious pain and suffering that will result from these injuries – sometimes permanent injuries, if they are deep enough to damage nerves – road rash injuries are also ripe grounds for infections afterwards, as they leave large portions of your body exposed to bacteria and other contaminants.

What caused your motorcycle accident?

Motorcycle crashes can happen for many reasons, however if your motorcycle crash was caused by the reckless actions of somebody else, you may be entitled to compensation. A few examples can include:

  • A motorist fails to signal a turn, traveling into your lane on the highway and causing an accident
  • A motorist crashes into you while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
  • A distracted driver is using their cell phone and fails to see you, causing an accident
  • A driver fails to obey traffic signals or travels at a recklessly excessive speed, causing an accident
  • Mechanics from the body shop that you just picked up your bike from failed to properly secure one of your wheels, causing instability and a wreck once you gained speed
  • Construction crews spilled debris or left loose gravel/dirt on a street without cleaning it up, leading you to lose control while riding

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For many people, nothing beats riding a motorcycle during early autumn in New England. The mild weather and vibrant foliage are perfect for long, weekend rides through the countryside. But riding a motorcycle comes with inherent dangers. In fact, you are six times more likely to die in a motorcycle crash than in a car crash.

But it’s not all bad news. The vast majority of these accidents are easily preventable. Don’t become a statistic. By following the tips below, you can dramatically reduce your risk of being seriously injured or killed in a motorcycle accident.

Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • If you ride, wear a helmet. The argument for helmets is water-tight. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), of the more than 4,000 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2011, approximately 40 percent of the riders were not wearing a helmet. That same year, NHTSA estimates that the lives of 1,617 riders were saved by wearing a helmet. And those figures don’t even take into account the statistics on injury accidents. Countless riders have avoided traumatic brain injuries and other serious injuries by wearing a helmet.
  • Never use drugs or alcohol when you ride. Drugs and alcohol are a no-no when you get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle, but the issue becomes even more dire when a motorcycle is involved. Operating any vehicle takes focus and attention, but riding a motorcycle comes with added responsibilities. The ability to maintain balance – which is of utmost importance on a motorcycle – is negatively impacted by drugs and alcohol. You should also use caution if you are currently on prescription or over-the-counter medications. Even something as seemingly benign as Benadryl can affect your ability to ride safely.
  • Do not speed…ever. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 33 percent of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2015 involved excessive speed. Even on open stretches of road, speeding is dangerous; uneven pavement, loose gravel, and other debris can cause you to lose control of the bike. And losing control at high speeds is often deadly. A Boston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.
  • Keep your bike in good shape. As with any motor vehicle, it is extremely important to maintain your motorcycle. Frequently check tires, turn signals, and lights to ensure that they are in proper working order, and have your bike’s engine and brakes checked at least annually.
  • Remember that cars and trucks may not see you. Due to a motorcycle’s small size, it is easy for a bike – and its rider – to disappear in a driver’s blind spot. Never assume that a driver can see you. Avoid making sudden lane changes in close proximity to other vehicles, and never ride between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic (called lane splitting). A MA injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
  • Whenever possible, avoid road hazards and riding in inclement weather. Especially during summer and fall months, road construction is a major hazard for motorcyclists. Use extreme caution when riding through these areas which are often riddled with loose gravel, uneven pavement, pot holes, and other debris. And don’t ride when weather is bad. Heavy rains, and icy or snow-covered roads can be deadly.

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When it comes to motorcycle accidents, myths and misconceptions abound. Those who ride motorcycles are often perceived as unlawful rule breakers with no respect for other motorists. Of course, these stereotypes are rarely accurate. Motorcycles provide an enjoyable and economical (when compared to cars and trucks) way to commute. Although daredevil motorcyclists certainly exist, the vast majority utilize safe riding practices at all times. Read on for more information about motorcycle accident myths and what to do if you’re involved in an accident involving a motorcycle.

Myth #1: When a motorcyclist crashes and no other vehicles are involved, it must be the motorcyclist’s fault.

Due to their “bad rep,” motorcyclists are often blamed for single-vehicle accidents. It’s assumed that they must have been speeding, driving recklessly, or maybe even that they were drunk. The reality is, single-vehicle accidents can happen for a variety of reasons that are not the fault of the rider. Potholes, loose gravel, a malfunctioning bike part, and animals darting in front of the bike can all lead to a single-vehicle motorcycle crash.

Myth #2: If you weren’t wearing a helmet, don’t even try to recover damages after an accident.

This is simply not true. Motorcycle helmets save lives, but not wearing one doesn’t exclude you from obtaining compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. For starters, helmets protect your head, not the rest of your body. But even if you sustain head injuries, you may still recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages if you were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. That being said, it’s always a good idea to wear your helmet. Helmets are approximately 67 percent effective at preventing injuries to the brain and 37 percent effective at preventing death. A Boston motorcycle accident lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.

Myth #3 – Lane splitting is safe if done correctly.

In some states, such as CA, lane splitting is now legal. But that doesn’t mean it’s safe. Lane splitting is the practice of maneuvering through narrow spaces to pass cars and trucks when stuck in congested traffic. While it may allow motorcyclists to pass through congested traffic and reduce travel time, it also reduces maneuvering space and the reaction time of passenger vehicles. Legal or not, lane splitting is dangerous. And FYI, in MA, it is not legal.

Fact: Motorcycles are more dangerous than cars.

Remember that motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than cars and trucks because of their small size (less visible to other motorists), and lack of stability. Further, when motorcyclists are involved in a crash, they don’t have the protection of four sides and a roof. As such, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than drivers of other motor vehicles. You can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death by always wearing a helmet and utilizing safe riding practices at all times. A MA motorcycle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident. Continue reading

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 88,000 people were injured in motorcycle accidents in the United States in 2015. Of course, motorcycle accidents can occur anywhere. But certain areas pose a much greater risk. Read on for more information about the most dangerous areas for motorcycles and how to reduce your risk if you find yourself in one of these places. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.

Busy intersections: Intersections are dangerous for motorcyclists, whether or not they are busy. And the heavier the traffic, the greater the risk. Intersections are often riddled with a confusing combination of motor vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other motorcyclists, all traveling in different directions and crossing each other’s paths. Five and six-way intersections are even more dangerous. A mix of complex traffic patterns and congested traffic can spell disaster for an inexperienced, distracted, or reckless motorcyclist.

Avoid busy intersections until you have completed adequate training and feel extremely comfortable on your bike. Practice safe riding practices and never allow yourself to be distracted when in, or approaching, a busy intersection. In addition to the risk faced by all motorists in an intersection, a motorcycle’s small size makes it harder for other motorists to see. Use extra caution in these situations.

Congested roads: If you find yourself on a heavily-congested roadway, it is crucial to employ safe riding practices and give your full focus and attention to your surroundings. Motorcyclists can find themselves boxed into small spaces with little room to safely maneuver their bike. In these situations, it can be tempting to squeeze through small spaces, weaving in and out between cars and trucks that are stopped or driving slowly. Avoid this temptation. For starters, the practice of “lane splitting” is illegal in MA. But more importantly, it’s extremely dangerous.

Drivers, who are also frustrated with the congested traffic, rarely expect a motorcyclist to suddenly appear beside them. For this reason, cars may quickly attempt to switch lanes when they see ample space in the next lane. This sudden movement could be disastrous for an unassuming motorcyclist zooming in and out of small spaces. A Boston injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.

Areas with low sight distance: When approaching sharp turns, or driving on curvy roads, it may be difficult to see what lies ahead. This inability to spot road hazards, stopped vehicles, animals in the road, and approaching cars and trucks can be deadly. When your sight distance is low, travel at a slower rate of speed, and avoid even the smallest distraction. Also, be prepared for whatever you may encounter on the other side of that sharp turn or curve.

Greater Risk Requires Greater Caution

It’s unfortunate but true – motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than other motor vehicles. This is mainly due to their small size and lack of a protective enclosure, but the “recreational” aspect of motorcycles also adds to the danger. We use cars and trucks to commute, not to have fun. Going for a ride, however, can be fun and exciting. It may be tempting to take the curvier roads with the breathtaking scenery, to weave in and out of congested traffic, and to speed on open stretches of road. But beware. These practices can be fun, but they can also be deadly (and often are). The risk of death in a motorcycle accident is 35 times greater than the risk of death in a car accident. Continue reading

Whether you’re a fan of powerful, wide-bodied choppers or enjoy the unparalleled speed and acceleration of a sport bike, riding motorcycles is a popular part of a deeply-ingrained driving culture for Americans everywhere. There’s something inherently and romantically American about the notion of an open road, a setting sun and nothing but the roar of an engine beneath as you disappear into the distance.

Motorcycles are all about achieving a feeling of pure freedom, and legendary gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson captured it best in his book that chronicled his short stint following around the Hell’s Angels:

“But with the throttle screwed on there is only the barest margin, and no room at all for mistakes. It has to be done right … and that’s when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast that they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers.”

  • Hunter S. Thompson, excerpt from “Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga”

There is no doubt that such experiences can be rare, incredible and form long-lasting memories. But inescapably, when the luck runs out, the same experiences can result in permanent injuries or death for the riders and passengers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,586 people died as a result of motorcycle accidents in 2014, which accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Another 92,000 were injured. This means motorcyclists were 27 more times likely to die and more than five times likely to be injured that drivers of passenger vehicles.  Fatalities also occur primarily in riders aged 40 or older. According to the NHTSA data, 54 percent of motorcycle fatalities occurred in riders aged 40 or older. Given the obvious factors of exposure to elements like traffic and the road itself, motorcyclists are at a far greater risk of bodily harm and death than drivers of automobiles.  Other factors may include drunk driving (which was a factor in 29 percent of fatalities in 2014) and speeding (which was a factor in 33 percent of fatalities). Wearing a helmet was also reported to have saved 1,669 lives in 2014. However, only 19 states and Washington D.C. had laws requiring the use of helmets as of 2015.

After an accident, get legal representation to fight for you

Many accidents involving motorcyclists are the fault of the motorcyclist. Maybe they were speeding, weaving in between traffic or they overestimated their skill level in pulling off a dangerous maneuver. However, many accidents are also the fault of other motorists. If you or somebody you love has been injured while riding a motorcycle, the resulting injuries are likely life-altering; physically, mentally and financially. Continue reading

Infotainment systems, devices known for providing entertainment and information content to users, are not awfully new technologies for automobiles, but they are new to motorcycles.  Earlier this week, Polaris Industries, the owner of Indian and Victory brand motorcycles, revealed its new 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system dubbed “Ride Command,” which will provide riders with easy navigation, the ability to sync their smartphone to the system, and additional features such as locating the nearest gas station when the motorcycle’s fuel tank is low.  The system will come standard on all of Indian’s new Chieftain and Roadmaster bikes.  Steve Menneto, president of motorcycles at Polaris, expressed the company’s excitement about the feature, saying, “We’re really pumped up about this. We’re opening up a huge part of the market for ourselves.”  In reality, Polaris is not the first bike company to introduce a feature like this.  BMW debuted its Navigator V device on its bikes back in 2013, and Harley-Davidson released its Boom! Box technology a year later.  These companies are all competing for the most popular infotainment system, but is this really such a good idea?

Motorcycles are inherently more dangerous than automobiles.  They require much more attention and coordination than maneuvering a car.  According to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in an accident than motorists.  In 2013 alone, 4,7000 motorcyclists were killed, and 88,000 were injured.  In recent years, crash rates have decreased, perhaps due to improved brakes and better rider education.  It is surprising that this decline also coincides with the introduction of such infotainment systems.  Supporters claim that as long as the systems are used correctly, they can increase safety for motorcyclists.  In terms of navigation, using a hand held phone or a paper map can be more distracting than a device mounted within the handlebars of the motorcycle itself.  Additionally, the units can help the riders avoid traffic, beat up roads, and stormy weather while also providing the rider with mechanical alerts about his or her vehicle.  BloombergTV reporter, Matt Miller, believes his BMW infotainment unit saved his life after warning him about a rapidly deflating tire while he was cruising on the highway.  Continue reading

For many people, riding a motorcycle is more than just a hobby, it’s a way of life. When motorcyclists utilize safe riding practices, they dramatically reduce their risk of serious injury and death. But the fact is, motorcycle riding is a risky business. Without the enclosed protection of a car or truck, motorcyclists are significantly more vulnerable to injury in an accident. Motorcycles are also much less stable than their four-wheeled counterparts. Adult riders assume these risks every day, but what about children? Is it unsafe, or even irresponsible to ride with a child? According to experts, it depends. Contact a Boston Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Today.

Studies show that about 60 percent of riders with injuries that require hospitalization are under the age of 16. This means that – at least in most cases – they were passengers on motorcycles operated by adults. Although it is not possible to eliminate the risk of injuries, there are steps you can take to ride safely, and responsibly, with your child in tow.

Safety Tips for Riding with a Child in Tow

  • Children should always wear a properly fitted helmet. Serious head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are the greatest risk child and adult riders face when on a motorcycle. TBI can result in permanent disability and can severely impact a child’s development, social skills, and life expectancy. A well-fitted helmet reduces the risk of TBI and should be worn by all riders at all times.
  • The proper safety gear can be the difference between life and death when it comes to child passengers. Protective clothing can protect against cuts and lacerations. Even better, a harness or belt helps to keep the child safely on the bike. It’s safer for children to ride behind the adult, but there is still a risk of falling. A harness or belt prevents a child from falling off the back of a bike.
  • Never ride with a child in front of you. This makes it challenging to control the bike, and it is actually easier for a child to fall off the front of the bike than the back.
  • Education is crucial, for both you and your child. Any child that rides on a motorcycle should first be taught the basics of motorcycle safety. These lessons include how to get on and off a motorcycle, how to ride as a passenger, and how to adjust the helmet.
  • Always drive defensively and never drive distracted. Do not assume that other motorists can see you. The small size of a motorcycle makes it “disappear” easily behind other vehicles. Obey traffic signs and follow all traffic rules.

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Anyone who owns a motorcycle in Massachusetts will tell you his or her favorite season is summer.  The warm temperatures and sunny skies are the ideal climate for passionate motorcycle riders.  Even more motorcycle riders are out and about these days.  According to the Motorcycle Industry Council, sales of new motorcycles have been up more than 8 percent through the first quarter.  However, motorcycles are also notoriously dangerous vehicles.  In 2014, 4,586 people died and 92,000 people were injured in motorcycle crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Noticing the sales growth and hoping to learn how to increase motorcycle safety, Progressive Insurance analyzed data acquired from its motorcycle claims data from 2014 to see what information could be used.  From Progressive’s data from 2014, the insurance company discovered:

  • Four of the top 10 days that experienced the most claims for customers occurred in June.
  • Most motorcycle accidents occur in the summer months with Saturdays being the most dangerous day to ride.
  • July experienced 78 percent more claims on average than any other month in the year
  • In 2014, Progressive had more single-vehicle motorcycle claims than the next three most common claims collectively, those being rear-end accidents, intersection accidents, and stolen motorcycles.

Although motorcycle riders should be vigilant while driving all the time, Scott Hall, Progressive’s motorcycle product manager, urged for even more attentiveness in the summer months.  Most accidents involving motorcycles are single-vehicle accidents, meaning the only vehicle involved is the motorcycle.  Hall linked the effect winter can have on roads, especially in northern cities with harsher winters, saying winters can be “absolutely brutal on roadways across the country, so looking ahead for potholes and leaving plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you will help avoid accidents.” Continue reading

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