Every year, the roads of Maine are the site of many fatal motorcycle accidents which devastate victims and family members. When a rider is injured in an accident, he or she has legal rights which must be protected. Surviving family members of riders who are killed in motorcycle accidents may also have legal rights in a wrongful death claim. The Maine motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein have decades of experience in securing fair compensation for motorcycle accident injuries.
The Maine Revised Statutes have general provisions for rider safety. These include guidelines for number of passengers, lane use, headlight use, and handlebar height. These basic rules of the road are not, however, entirely sufficient to prevent fatal motorcycle accidents.
Fatal Motorcycle Accident Statistics
Traffic fatalities across the United States declined after the economic crash of 2008. Slowly, Americans returned to the road, and traffic fatalities are again on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projects that 2016 traffic fatalities are at least eight percent higher than 2015 fatalities (which were, in turn, 7.2% higher than 2014 fatalities).
NHTSA also reported that, in 2014, motorcycle fatalities occurred twenty-seven times more frequently than fatalities in other vehicles. Motorcycles have been repeatedly demonstrated to be less safe than passenger vehicles over decades of research. This is largely due to basic laws of physics which apply to the logistics of motorcycle riding. The larger a vehicle is, the more impact it can absorb from a collision. Motorcycles, which offer little to no such protection to riders, thus pass on nearly all the impact of collision to rider. Riders who are ejected from their bikes can fare even worse.
Features Which Save Lives
The good news for motorcycles is that new technology is improving and expanding in ways that save lives. FairWarning reports that anti-lock braking (a feature which has been standard on many passenger vehicles since the 1990s) is quickly becoming a standard feature of motorcycles, as well. All new motorcycles sold in Europe must now include ABS. Japan, India and Brazil are all requiring ABS for motorcycles on a phased-in schedule.
Despite support from NHTSA and other powerful advocates, ABS is not yet required for motorcycles sold in the United States. It is still a widely-available feature, however, and consumers are wise to access its protection. It is interesting to note that both the California Highway Patrol and New York City Police Department require all motorcycles in their fleets to carry ABS.
Other intriguing safety options are in various stages of research and development. Airbag vests and jackets; safer helmets with GPS and backup cameras; LED and adaptive headlights; gloves with Bluetooth connectivity; system monitoring and diagnostic warnings; electronic stability control; and many other such innovations may soon become widely available to consumers.
With so many options, it can be difficult to know what safety features are most important. Motorcycle buyers should carefully research all options and identify those which best suit their riding needs. Complement your safety features with attentive, defensive driving, and you will considerably improve your chances of staying safe.
In the event that you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle accident, our attorneys know the law in Maine and have the experience and expertise to handle even the most complex claims. In over 40 years, the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein has helped more than 25,000 injured or disabled Mainers get the justice they deserve. Contact us today for a free and confidential evaluation.