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Motorcyclists face unique risks on the road

Motor vehicles of all kinds can be found on roads across California, from passenger vehicles to commercial trucks, and buses to motorcycles. However, not all vehicles provide motorists with the same protections. This is especially true when it comes to motorcycles.

The same features that draw people to riding can also be the source of immense concern. Motorcycles do not have protective frames like cars and trucks do; riders are exposed to the elements and free from the confines of an enclosed vehicle. They are also smaller and lighter than other vehicles. While many riders are drawn to these features, they can also be seriously injured as a result of them in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Motorcyclists have the same rights on the road as any other motorist; however, other people do not always realize this. Motorists often do not see motorcycles or misjudge their speed, due to their smaller size. And a minor hazard, like a pot hole, may not affect a car's performance, but a motorcyclist hitting that same hazard can lose control of their bike and get into a crash. Stability can also be an issue, as riding on two wheels is less stable than riding on four.

According to estimates, motorcycle riders are roughly 26 times more likely to be killed in an accident compared to someone riding inside a vehicle. They are also more vulnerable to catastrophic injuries, including broken bones, burns and traumatic brain injuries.

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are not uncommon. And while some people across California ride year-round and are on alert, motorists are not always as vigilant. One mistake can end up severely injuring or killing a rider. However, there are ways to hold those responsible for an accident liable. If a motorist was reckless or negligent and caused a crash, there may be grounds for victims and their families to pursue a legal claim and compensation for damages.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed on Sept. 22, 2014

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