One of our pet peeves over at Ehline Law, is the rear end collision. First off, an attentive rider with a good roadworthy bike should be able to stop in time to avoid a rear-ender/fender bender. If not, it sends the cyclist cartwheeling down the road.
Second, a good cyclist should also be able to avoid being rear ended in many cases. For example only stay in the outside part of the lanes, and beware of traffic opposing the rider. Other times, providing your bike with a cushion of space can avoid "that guy."
Think about it, the car in front slamming on his brakes and veering right before he misses the freeway entrance; whammy, the motorist hits the approaching rider.
A Very Common Cause of Motorcycle Accidents - The Sudden Stop.
In fact, this is a very typical motorcycle accident fact pattern that unfortunately involves fatalities. Another example is the rear end strike by a passenger car, into the back of the motorcycle. Most of these accidents involve a rider getting cut off in the middle of traffic.
This happens if a car brakes too quickly, such as when the operator is trying to change lanes rapidly. Mostly they do this so that they won’t miss a turn in or ramp. So this leaves the oncoming biker colliding into the moving car. Once that takes place, the rider goes into the air. Or the rider flips onto the pavement with a devastating impact.
Flailing riders often nosedive, face first into other vehicles. Brain injuries and loss of life are typically unavoidable, even at lower speeds. Other common ailments to riders are herniated discs, skull fractures, broken cheekbones. But the list does not end there. Snapped collar bones, busted jaws, knees, and arms are all part of the equation. This is serious business.
To add to the list of inconveniences, a cyclist remains more risk for striking a broad range of physical obstructions. These include hitting objects as they cartwheel into the air. Once launched, a rider might land in the path of a nonfixed object, like another vehicle. Riders have to get it right 100% of the time, day in and day out.
Who Is Generally Liable in a Sudden Stop Motorcycle Accident?
In some countries, if you become struck from behind by another motorist you can be held accountable. Fortunately, in California, if you're hit in the rear, it is a rare case, which you're liable.
Safe driving is the key. So look behind you while stopped. Also, if necessary, accelerate off to the left or right to avoid being rear ended.
Insurance companies and juries alike will want to analyze evidence of angle, damage, and impact. And this remains one of the easiest ways to show who hit what and where, as well as the severity of the jolt. This is part of why vehicle photos are so important in the preservation of evidence.
Contributory Negligence and Rear End Accidents.
If you suddenly stopped and your brake lights were out, it's your fault unless you can sue for a motorcycle defect. Or let's say you lights worked fine. But then you decided to stop in moving traffic to grab something from a buddy.
Or how about you pulled over to exchange a phone number with a hot girl. But then all of a sudden, you were catapulted or spun out of control after being slammed in the rear. So in these above cases, you could be comparatively at fault. After all, you could have pulled off to a safer location and elected not to do so.
In fact, these are all examples of where you could be wholly or partially negligent for your injuries. So in that case, you reduce your damages. In fact, you could be sued.
A Few Things Riders Can Do To Help Avoid a Sudden Stop Incident.
Being safe and sane should be a goal of all law-abiding riders. Below are a few tips for staying Safe While Traversing the Golden State.
Cushion of Space. This remains paramount. Pay close attention to approaching and departing vehicles. Use the space bubble from driver’s training and education. That way you can give yourself reaction time. All vehicles, especially motorcycles, should use this as rule number one. Don’t get hit or clipped when didn’t have to. Following a safe distance for the conditions gives time to ease the brakes. That way you can veer off the road, away from the traffic disaster, etc.
Allow for Size Contingencies. Be vigilant. Not all vehicles have the same weight or task. Big rigs and passenger cars, as well as a small truck, or SUV towing a boat all have different characteristic. Your response time must be adjusted. Also, this allows for the chance of a trailer corralling you in a sudden turn. Also, beware that an object tied to the roof of a car could come loose and fly into your path. A rider must be like a Ninja. Develop that sixth sense to stay alive.
Always drive at a safe speed. Merely following the speed limit is not enough. If bad weather or some other hazard becomes an issue, the rider may have to drive slower. But other times a rider may have to accelerate beyond the speed limit to avoid an accident. But don’t try dangerous maneuvers.
Obey School Buses and School Zone Mandates. Always reduce speed in school zones and residential areas. Also, stop behind school buses when signaled or otherwise required to do so. Use common sense, if children are likely to be present. Always take it upon yourself to ease up on the accelerator.
Construction Zones. When nearing a freeway project, or construction area, even if there are no signs up, slow down and yield. Let heavy equipment, trucks, and workers do their jobs. Worry about what they did wrong later. Focus on staying alive and in one piece.
Make Yourself Noticeable. Don’t inadvertently cut off some other fellow traveler. Wear reflective and protected vests, pants, jackets, and boots. Ride with your headlights on. When all else fails, flash your headlights, turn on your emergency lights, tap your brake lights in frequency. All this is indicating "hello, look at me."
Avoid Someone Else’s Wrongdoing.
A serious crash often leaves you with bills, jobless and on the verge of bankruptcy. When this happens, and you don’t know where to turn, the rider’s friend, Ehline Law Firm can help. This law firm has an impressive record of results for recovery large monetary awards. Also, we have assisted numerous seriously injured riders who went down on motorcycles. Contact us for a free, no obligation telephone interview. Let’s review your potential case. Call now at (213) 596-9642.