SUMMER RIDING: TOP MOTORCYCLE MYTHS & TIPS

Updated: Aug 17, 2018


As the weather warms up, you will certainly notice more motorcycles out on the road. Bikes can be a lot of fun but there are also inherent risks. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles offer little protection or safety features, like airbags. When an accident occurs, riders can easily be thrown from their bike, causing traumatic head and neck injuries, catastrophic injuries or even wrongful death, as a result of hitting their head on the pavement.


If you’ve been in a motorcycle accident, don’t let insurance companies blame you. Many motorcycle accident victims fail to obtain the compensation they deserve, often times because of the following misconceptions:


Myth #1: Motorcyclists Are Usually At Fault In An Accident

When a motorcycle gets into an accident with a car or truck, many drivers, as well as insurance companies, will automatically assume the motorcyclist is at fault. However, this could not be further from the truth. Skilled bikers can be incredibly safe drivers, often times more so than vehicle drivers who are distracted by their phones, radio and other passengers. One of the most common causes of a motorcycle accident is a car or truck’s failure to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist. This is particularly the case at intersections when the vehicle is making a left turn in the face of an oncoming motorcycle. It is important that you know and protect your rights if you’ve been in an accident.


Myth #2: If You Weren’t Wearing a Helmet, You Will Not Receive Compensation

Motorcycle helmet laws are often controversial. Some riders believe helmets restrict their visibility and hearing. Others believe helmets will do little to protect them in an accident. While helmets have actually been proven to protect motorcyclists and passengers from traumatic brain injuries or fatalities, Rhode Island does not have a mandatory helmet law for all riders, like Massachusetts. If you are 21 years of age and under or have had your license for less than a year, Rhode Island law does require you to wear a helmet. While Sheeley Law strongly encourages all riders to wear a helmet, if you are over 21 and have had your license for more than a year, the decision is at the driver’s own discretion. If you are in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, it is still possible for you to receive compensation, pain and suffering and lost wages even if you were not wearing a helmet. You should always consult with a skilled personal injury attorney first, before you talk to your insurance company.


Myth #3: Bigger is Better

We’ve heard time and time again from new motorcycle riders that the bigger the bike, the safer you are on the road. Bigger bikes are more visible, but they also come with risks. For the inexperienced rider, the larger the bike, the heavier it is and the harder it is to control and lane share. Riders should always test out their new bike before they purchase to make sure it is a right fit for them. Liability in most motorcycle accidents is governed by the law of "negligence." Insurance companies will examine the type of motorcycle you were operating during the accident and try to use that against you and your case.

Myth #4: Highways Are More Dangerous Than Local Streets

Motorcycle helmet laws are often controversial. Some riders believe helmets restrict their visibility and hearing. Others believe helmets will do little to protect them in an accident. While helmets have actually been proven to protect motorcyclists and passengers from traumatic brain injuries or fatalities, Rhode Island does not have a mandatory helmet law for all riders, like Massachusetts. If you are 21 years of age and under or have had your license for less than a year, Rhode Island law does require you to wear a helmet. While Sheeley Law strongly encourages all riders to wear a helmet, if you are over 21 and have had your license for more than a year, the decision is at the driver’s own discretion. If you are in a motorcycle accident due to another driver’s negligence, it is still possible for you to receive compensation, pain and suffering and lost wages even if you were not wearing a helmet. You should always consult with a skilled attorney first, before you talk to your insurance company.


Myth #5: If You Are About To Crash, Lay Down Your Bike

We’ve all seen movie and TV scenes where a rider skids his bike to the side to avoid a crash. Movies and TV are not reality, however. The majority of the time, it does make sense to crash your bike in anticipation of a collision. Motorcycle accidents will happen regardless of whether or not you can see them. If you have enough decision time to “lay your bike down,” then you have enough time to brake. Always keep a safe distance from vehicles in front of you. Your reaction to the accident scenario will be important and scrutinized.


We at Sheeley Law encourage you to have fun but ride with caution this summer. If you or a loved one are injured in a motorcycle accident, you need strong results-oriented representation. Attorney Ann Sheeley has represented hundreds of motorcycle accident victims in her more than 25 years of experience. She has a proven track record of helping her clients obtain maximum compensation for their injuries, losses and pain and suffering.


For more information or a free consultation, contact Rhode Island and Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney Ann Sheeley at 401-619-5555.

Local: 401-619-5555    Toll Free: 866-435-5000

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