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Are You Planning to Ride for Motorcycle Week?

By Lependorf & Silverstein on August 7, 2018

There are many exciting events coming up for motorcycle lovers in New Jersey, and for good causes, too! The “Valor Ride,” which honors Medal of Honor recipients, and “Ride for Autism” with proceeds going to the Celebrate the Children School, are just a few rides out there to help others. However, while you’re out there doing good for the community, don’t forget to keep yourself safe while on the bike.

New Jersey is not known for its pleasant driving conditions. In fact, our state is a little bit notorious for being somewhat of a wild ride. Lots of traffic, impatient drivers, and substandard road conditions can be scary for a car driver, let alone a motorcyclist.

Motorcycle accidents happen at about the same rate as car accidents, yet prove to be far more physically harmful. According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, per mile traveled, motorcyclists’ risk of a fatal crash is 35 times greater than a passenger car.

When you ride a motorcycle, risk is unavoidable, but can mitigated by making safe and responsible choices. These stark statistics are not here to dissuade you from getting on the bike, but they should make you think about the causes of motorcycle accidents and how to best avoid them.

How Most Motorcycle Crashes Occur

  • Cars making left-hand turns: This is one of the most common causes for motorcycle accidents. The smaller size of the motorcycle means that it’s much harder for a car driver to spot it.
  • Head-on collisions: The head-on collision is the most deadly one for a motorcycle driver, and unfortunately, one of the most common.
  • Speeding: Speeding is dangerous in any vehicle. Motorcyclists are especially vulnerable at high speeds due to not having much protection. A high-speed accident will often mean brain damage or death for a biker.
  • Drinking and driving: Drinking slows down your response time, making it extremely dangerous to drive. Drinking while operating a motorcycle is twice as dangerous.
  • Dangerous roads: Potholes, uneven road, icy road, or a dead animal…these all pose a great threat to a motorcycle driver. A car will usually come out unscathed when faced with these obstacles, but a motorcycle can easily crash from poor road conditions. In fact, check out “N.J.’s Most Terrifying Roads” to be adequately prepared for some of the conditions you might encounter.
  • Lane-splitting: A huge plus of driving on a motorcycle is the idea that you don’t have to sit around in traffic. You can move through traffic and cars more seamlessly, and fit into small gaps of space. However, “lane-splitting” and “filtering” are illegal in the state of New Jersey. Because you are so close to cars, any wrong move from them can result in a collision. Drivers in NJ rarely anticipate or consider that a motorcycle might be passing by, so avoid this maneuver.

Tips for Safe Riding

  • Wear a helmet: In New Jersey, bikers and their passengers are required to wear helmets. But with a prevalence of brain injuries caused by motorcycle accidents, this one should be a no-brainer. You can’t always avoid an accident, but you can better prepare for it!
  • Wear appropriate gear: When riding, you should be wearing protective gear that will help keep your body safe if an accident does occur. Leather or another heavy material covering your arms and legs, boots, and gloves can work magic in terms of preventing certain injuries, like road rash.
  • Don’t break the rules: Traffic rules exist for a reason. Pay attention to the speed limit, don’t be a daredevil and squeeze in on red lights, don’t do crazy maneuvers to try and cheat traffic. None of these things are worth getting seriously hurt.
  • Always stay on top of the latest science and education: There are many great courses for motorcycle riders, especially novice riders, but also helpful to old-timers to refresh all their skills. There’s no shame in staying updated on your passion, and making sure you’re up on all the riding techniques and tech.
  • Ride defensively: This one is very important. As a motorcycle rider, you must do your best to protect yourself, because when it comes to a collision between a rider and a car, the driver will usually make it out fine, but you are at the mercy of the elements. Be your own best friend and advocate, and ride in a way that protects you! Never assume drivers can see you (they’re probably busy changing their Spotify playlist), always ride with your headlights on, signal far in advance before changing the lane, stay out of blind spots, and most importantly, watch out for turning vehicles.

What If You Get into a Motorcycle Accident in NJ?

If you do get into a collision while riding your motorcycle in New Jersey, you might have a legal case for compensation—and you should talk to a lawyer as soon as possible to find out. Contact the dedicated New Jersey motorcycle accident attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. We’ll sit down with you and go over your options, and if it looks like filing a claim is the best way to go, we’ll represent you for no upfront cost, and only take our fee IF and WHEN we get you just compensation for your injuries, medical bills, lost time at work, and more. Just give us a call at (609) 240-0040 when you need us.

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The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty years.

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