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  • Writer's pictureAlex Maltese

Who Is at Fault in Most Motorcycle Accidents in NY? How Lawyers Can Help

Motorcycle accidents can take a heavy toll on all people involved and change their lives forever. Unfortunately, they are more common than many can imagine.

While motorcycles only account for 2% of registered vehicles in New York, they are involved in at least 14% of traffic fatalities.

However, these crashes often involve other motor vehicles, primarily cars. Considering that fact, who is at fault in most motorcycle accidents in NY? Here's a look at what the latest stats say.

Accidents Involving Other Motorcyclists

Accidents Involving Other Motorcyclists

According to the latest Motorcycle Safety Study conducted by The New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), at least 43% of motorcycle-related traffic fatalities involved a rider who did not have a license to operate the two-wheeled vehicle.

Additionally, a report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 40% of motorcyclist fatalities in 2020 occurred in single-vehicle crashes, while 60% involved another motorcycle or motorized vehicle.

In single-vehicle crashes, 41% of fatally injured motorcycle drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above .08%, compared to 27% in multiple-vehicle crashes.

The causes behind most single-vehicle crashes include:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI)

  • Poor motorcycle training

  • Riding without a license

  • Riding in bad weather

  • Low visibility

  • Defects from manufacturing errors

  • Speeding

  • Waving through traffic

When a multiple-vehicle accident occurs, the police investigate both motorcyclists' actions. In this process, authorities also check if they have complied with the safety standards and precautions to define who is at fault.

However, single-vehicle accidents can be a bit more complex if the rider sustains severe injuries or dies due to manufacturing defects or if a passerby is injured because of a rider's misconduct. In these cases, determining liability is more tedious, and more than one party may be held accountable. It is important to know how to respond to a motorcycle accident.

Accidents Involving Other Motorized Vehicles

The DOT's Motorcycle Safety Study also found that most motorcycle injury crashes are likely to involve other vehicles.

Although motorcycles can be less safe than other motorized vehicles and are often associated with traffic incidents or fatalities, the car driver is at fault most of the time.

Many car accidents involving motorcycles are caused by a passenger vehicle's improper lane changes.

Car drivers should check their blind spots every time they make a maneuver while driving. Also, since they share the road with motorcyclists, they should be aware that two-wheelers are smaller and more difficult to see when coming.

Consequently, while motorcyclists may cause an accident by speeding, not having a license to operate a two-wheeler, or running a red light, vehicle drivers are often named the at-fault parties.

Can a Motorist Be at Fault?

Unfortunately, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to be killed in collisions involving other motorized vehicles. Therefore, they are hardly held responsible for accidents.

Drivers must be extremely careful when operating their cars, as the larger vehicle often causes more damage or serious injuries.

However, that doesn't mean that motorists cannot be at-fault. All two-wheel operators must know the traffic rules and follow precautions to avoid accidents. If they fail to comply with the regulations, they may face legal action and be held accountable for others' injuries and loss of life.

Who Else Can Be at Fault?

Motorcycle accidents can be caused by multiple factors. Therefore, motorists are not the only ones who could be at fault. In some cases, the incident may be caused by:

  • The state: Local authorities must ensure safe road conditions. If road conditions are hazardous, liability for the accident could be shifted to the state.

  • Another vehicle driver: As mentioned, car drivers must take extreme care to avoid hitting motorists. If they fail to follow the traffic rules or show negligent or careless behavior, the motorist could prove liability and hold them responsible for the accident.

  • Manufacturers: Some accidents result from manufacturer errors. If a malfunctioning part or improper setup causes a motorcycle crash, manufacturers can face legal consequences.

How Experienced Lawyers Can Help

The Law Office of Carl Maltese's seasoned and skilled Long Island motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to help motorcyclists fight for their legal rights and prove liability in a motorcycle accident case.

Any victim who believes the accident was caused by another rider's or driver's negligence, poor road conditions, or manufacturing issues can contact the firm's legal team and get a free consultation today!


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