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Do Motorists Have A Duty Or Responsibility Towards Motorcyclists?


Motorists are governed by the same duty of care and adherence to the motor vehicle laws in cases involving motorcyclists as they are in cases involving other motorists. A motorist may be held responsible if he fails to exercise reasonable care in the operation of his vehicle, which causes an accident that results in personal injury. Motorists must use due care to avoid injuring other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians, including persons who are on motorcycles. A driver can be held negligent by virtue of doing something that he should not have done, such as speeding, following too closely, running a red light, or failing to yield the right of way. As in other vehicular cases, it must also be proven that the negligence was a cause of the injuries.

What Differentiates Motorcycle Accidents From Auto Accidents?

Motorcycle accidents are different from other accidents involving regular motor vehicles because of the unique nature of motorcycling. Motorcycles are smaller and lighter than cars. They are typically less visible to other vehicles, as compared to other motor vehicles on the road. Additionally, motorcyclists lack the same protections as occupants of motor vehicles. There is no barrier between the cyclist and the road, yet motorcycles are traveling at the same speed as automobiles and trucks, which makes it inherently more dangerous. Cyclists are more susceptible to road hazards. Riding a motorcycle is less stable and requires a greater degree of skill. As a result, there is a greater risk of serious injury and death to motorcyclists, as compared to occupants of automobiles. We need to look not only to the conduct of the other motorists on the road, but also examine the operating practices of the motorcyclist.

How Do You Determine The Viability OF A Motorcycle Accident Case?

To determine the viability of a motorcycle accident case, we look for negligent driving on the part of the other motorist. That can be a result of failing to abide by the traffic laws, speeding, following too closely, running a red light, failing to yield the right of way, or failing to see what is in front of the motorist. We also are under a duty to scrutinize the motorcyclist’s behavior, especially in jurisdictions that have contributory negligence. Safe motorcycling requires a high degree of skill, which can be lacking due to inexperience or questionable operating practices. We look carefully to the conduct of both parties and also look to the physical evidence. We often engage experts to perform accident reconstruction analysis to help us.

Is A Driver Or a Passenger Required To Wear A Helmet And Other Safety Gear When Riding A Motorcycle?

The laws in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia differ in many ways. There is, however, uniformity among all three jurisdictions with regard to safety helmets and motorcyclists. In all three of these jurisdictions, operators and passengers riding motorcycles are absolutely required to wear a safety helmet at all times. Failure to wear a helmet may be considered evidence of negligence on the part of the motorcyclist and may negatively impact his or her personal injury claim.

For more information on Duty Of Motorists Towards Motorcyclists, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 453-5656 today.

Steve H.Drone

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case.

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