Negative Bias of Motorcycles and How it May Impact Your Claim

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on May 08, 2020 in Personal Injury

motorcycle on the highwayAs Oregon starts to see some nicer weather and the state begins to reopen for business, drivers of motorcycles, cars and other vehicles will be excited to get out on the roads again. During motorcycle awareness month, it is a good time to reconsider road safety, especially after being cooped up for so many weeks during the shutdown.

Below, the attorneys at Rizk Law discuss motorcycle crashes, specifically, what negative bias towards motorcycles is, and how it may impact the outcome of a personal injury claim.

If you were injured in a motorcycle accident due to another’s negligence, our experienced attorneys are prepared to help you deal with motorcycle bias and help you to pursue fair compensation for your injuries. We charge nothing for a free initial consultation and no fees for our services unless we first obtain money for you.

What is Negative Bias Against Motorcycles?

Negative bias against motorcycles and their riders involves the presumption that the motorcyclist is usually at-fault for an accident. In part, this bias is due to some inherent truths about motorcycles, such as the size and noise of a motorcycle, and the fact that these vehicles are more difficult to see. However, these are facts describing the physical aspects of any motorcycle, not the driving tendencies of the operator.

Other negative characterizations of bias towards motorcycles and their riders have evolved over time and make assumptions such as:

  • Those who ride motorcycles are gang members or disorderly, rebellious thugs
  • Motorcycle riders drive too fast and are reckless
  • Motorcyclists ignore safety laws

While there are some motorcycle riders who may fit that bill, similar stereotypes can be applied to other motorists as well. Unfortunately, a preconceived bias may also result in an unjust presumption of liability for a lot of motorcyclists who follow traffic laws and pay attention to road safety.

How This Bias Could Impact Your Motorcycle Injury Claim

Negative bias towards motorcycles may greatly impact the outcome of motorcycle personal injury claims after a crash involving another vehicle. In addition to facing potentially serious or life-altering injuries, the motorcyclist may also have the added burden of providing additional evidence to help overcome:

  • Bias from police officers or first responders at the scene of a crash who may assume the motorcyclist was at-fault for the accident
  • Insurance companies that may also presume liability and deny or devalue a claim on that basis, or offer a significantly lower settlement
  • Judges or jury members who may award reduced damages on the basis that motorcycle riders are more dangerous, reckless drivers

Motorcycle Safety On The Roads

Motorcycle operators, like all drivers, are responsible for road safety and owe a duty to others on the road. This means taking reasonable steps to prevent harm to themselves and others.

For Motorcycle Riders:

  • Wear your helmet (it is the law in Oregon for all riders) and consider other gear that may provide increased protection on the road
  • Purchase motorcycle insurance as required by Oregon state law and carry proof of compliance at all times.
  • Be especially attentive to motorists who may not see you during inclement weather or other times when it is harder to see (dawn, twilight, bright sunlight, etc.).
  • Be especially alert when going through intersections or changing lanes. Other vehicles may not see you, may be distracted or may think they have enough room to maneuver without hitting your motorcycle.
  • Be aware of potential hazards, such as potholes or debris, on poorly maintained roads.

Other Motorists

  • Use your turn signals and always check your blind spots, especially when you are driving a larger vehicle, such as a van or truck.
  • Do not attempt to pass motorcycles in the same lane.
  • Allow extra space between your vehicle and motorcycles to help account for unpredictability and not being able to tell when a motorcycle is throttling down (rather than applying brakes) to reduce speed.
  • Be mindful of turn signals, as motorcycle indicator lights are not always self-cancelling.
  • Motorcycles may be especially difficult to see or hear if they are approaching your vehicle from behind.
  • Be especially alert at intersections to check for motorcycles who have the right of way.

Our Attorneys Can Provide Legal Help

If you suffered an injury in a motorcycle crash due to another’s negligence, we encourage you to contact Rizk Law for legal help as soon as possible. If your case has merit, we are prepared to help you overcome any potential motorcycle bias and help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.

Our Portland motorcycle accident lawyers are prepared to review the details of your accident in a free initial consultation and discuss your legal options. We charge nothing for this meeting, and there is no obligation to hire us. If we do represent you, there are no upfront costs and no fees unless we obtain compensation for you.