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Motorcycle accidents are often due to other drivers

Those who love to travel the open road on their two-wheeled cycles are aware of the dangers they face, yet crave the freedom and the adrenaline rush of "wind therapy."

But the statistics are enough to give even the hardiest rider pause:

-- Those riding motorcycles have 26 times greater chance of being involved in a fatal accident — and five times the chance of injuries — than somebody in a car.

-- In vehicular collisions, two-thirds of the accidents with motorcycles are caused by a four-wheeled driver violating the motorcyclist's right of way.

-- In contrast to the fatality rate for passengers and drivers of cars and small trucks, the mortality rate for those on cycles has risen to over twice the number since 1999.

Part of the problem can be attributed to a decrease in visual recognition, as motorcycles are smaller visual targets that are more easily obscured by traffic, weather or road conditions. Intersections pose a special danger, as almost 70 percent of car and motorcycle wrecks happen.

A road hazard that would be inconsequential to a car's driver can become lethal to a motorcyclist. Potential dangers include all of the following:

-- Oil slicks

-- Potholes

-- Railroad tracks

-- Puddles

-- Debris in the road

-- Uneven pavement

-- Ruts

Speed can be a factor in highway injuries and deaths for two-wheeler fans. The faster one goes on a motorcycle, the likelier the bike's front end will begin to wobble, especially if the tires are misaligned. Such cases may be traced to the manufacturer under some circumstances.

Even when the motorcyclist's own actions contributed to the accident, the theory of comparative negligence may apply. This means that while the injured cyclist may not receive 100 percent of a damage award, they are still entitled to the portion attributed to the negligence of another driver.

Because of the complexities involved, injured riders often seek the counsel of experienced legal professionals before agreeing to settlements from insurance carriers.

Source: Findlaw, "Motorcycle Accidents: Overview," accessed Sep. 11, 2015

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