What Every California Motorcyclist Needs to Know About Safety, Injuries, and the Law

Texas is the only state with more asphalt miles than California. Even so, major highways in California are crowded with drivers (and lousy drivers, at that). And the dangers loom especially large for those of us who choose to hit the road without the roll cage of a car or SUV blocking our views of California’s natural and man-made wonders. While no motorcyclists would trade the experience for a bland ride in a car, there’s no denying that riding is more dangerous than driving. That’s why every motorcyclist needs to know how to be as safe as possible, as well as how to respond to accidents and injuries.

Staying safe out there

Hopefully, you’re already familiar with the best practices that will keep you as safe as possible on your bike. But it never hurts to go back over them.

Know (and stay within) your limits. You need to be aware of your skill as a rider, and you need to be careful about not pushing yourself or your bike too hard. Discretion is key when you’re on a motorcycle, and even experienced riders should be wary about riding in the rain.

All riders should practice defensive riding. Never assume that you know what a driver or fellow rider will do. You don’t (especially not in California). You can’t control what other people do, but you can be extra careful to be safe out there. Know the law on things like lane-splitting (it’s legal in California, but you have to be careful), and follow them.

Finally, you should always be geared up head to toe. A thick leather motorcycle jacket and a reliable helmet can be the difference between life and death in an accident.

What to do if you’re hurt in a motorcycle accident

If you’re careful and follow the familiar advice that we laid out above, you’ll minimize your risk of getting into a motorcycle accident. But you won’t eliminate it, because that’s impossible. Like it or not, we can’t control everything about every situation we encounter while we’re riding. Someone else’s negligence could cost us dearly.

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, first determine whether you’re all right. Unfortunately, many motorcycle accidents involve injuries; if yours did, call for help immediately. Time is of the essence, and nothing is more important than getting the treatment that you need. Call the police, too, because California law requires this for serious accidents.

This doesn’t mean that you need to go broke paying for health care. Medical treatment is expensive in California and all across our country, and it’s also true that you may find your income reduced if you are not able to work as you could before your accident. Fortunately, under California law, you are not out of options.

The tort laws of California allow you to seek compensation through a personal injury case. Depending on the details of your situation, explains an expert motorcycle accident lawyer in Orange County, your attorney might be able to prove that your injury was the result of another party’s negligence. You would be entitled to compensation for your injuries and the expenses associated with them.

You have to take action to make this happen, though. You need to act fast and seek out a local attorney who specializes in motorcycle accidents. Arrive at your initial consultation with any documentation that you have, including medical bills and police reports, and explain your situation. Hopefully, you’ll find that your decision to turn to a lawyer makes all the difference in your future.

Image credit: Motorcyclist via m.mphoto/Shutterstock

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