Motorcycle Accidents a Spring Risk in Wilmington
Melting snow and warmer weather means an increasing number of motorcycle riders will soon be on the roads throughout the Carolinas.
North Carolina law requires all riders to obtain a motorcycle endorsement or learner's permit. The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles reports 151 riders were killed in 2016. More than 3,700 crashes injured more than 3,000 riders that year.
New Hanover County motorcycle crashes claimed three lives last year and injured 45 riders.
Motorcycle Safety Tips for Riders in North Carolina
Motorcycle accidents in Wilmington frequently involve very serious or fatal injuries. Riding motorcycles safely is a life-long learning process, but there are eight essential riding skills every driver should know, according to Motorcycle.com.
- Clutch control: Manipulating the friction zone (the point where the clutch engages) allows for smooth starts and avoids lurching starts and stalls that can lead to being rear-ended.
- Throttle control: Keeping your throttle hand in the wrist-down position can reduce the risks of too much throttle input and loss of control.
- Basic braking: Safe stopping is among the most difficult skills for new riders. Motorcycles take time to stop. Abrupt stopping or emergency stopping is a leading cause of putting motorcycles down in the roadway.
- Counter steering: Turning is another vulnerable move for motorcycle riders. Learning how to maneuver the handlebars and shift body-weight is critical to safe steering. Passenger weight can also significantly change a motorcycle's handling characteristics while making turns.
- Smooth downshifting: Clutch control again comes into play when downshifting, which is necessary for slowing a motorcycle, particularly when in a hurry.
- Situational awareness: Watching the road ahead is often an experienced rider's best bet for avoiding an accident. Riding requires constant vigilance.
- Advanced barking techniques: Like most accident scenarios, risk does not come from the routine as often as it comes from unusual or unexpected conditions. Knowing how to stop in an emergency, even how to crash in a manner that reduces injury risks, can make a difference when it comes to surviving a motorcycle accident.
Liability for North Carolina Motorcycle Accidents
North Carolina helmet law requires all riders to wear a helmet or face a $25.50 fine, although the News Observer continues to report efforts by lawmakers to eliminate the helmet law for adult riders. South Carolina helmet law only requires helmets for riders age 20 and younger.
However, there is only so much riders can do to stay safe. Statistics continue to show most motorcycle accidents involving another vehicle are the fault of the passenger vehicle driver. Despite those who attempt to blame most accidents on daredevil riders, the fact is riders understand the risks and most do everything possible to minimize those risks and return home safely to their families.
The leading cause of motorcycle accidents involving other drivers are drivers who fail to yield the right of way by turning left in front of an oncoming rider. Motorcycles take a significant distance to stop and emergency braking makes them difficult to control. A rider forced to collide head-on with a turning passenger car is typically very seriously injured or killed.
Additionally, riders are unfairly blamed in a disproportionate number of accident cases, compared to drivers of passenger vehicles. Consulting with an experienced Wilmington motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible after a collision will allow a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of an accident, offering riders the best chance of protecting their legal rights.