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Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents can be devastating, often resulting in severe injuries and even death. In New York, motorcycle accidents have increased in recent years, with an average of over 140 fatalities each year. Despite being involved in only 2.6% of all accidents in the state, motorcycles are responsible for almost 15% of all motor vehicle fatalities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of passenger cars. The lack of protection that motorcycles offer, coupled with the increased risk of being involved in accidents due to their small size and visibility, makes them an especially vulnerable mode of transportation.

Some common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Speeding
  • Lane splitting
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Poor road conditions
  • Defective equipment

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek legal assistance immediately. We have experience handling motorcycle accident cases at Viscosi Law and can help you understand your legal rights and options. We will work tirelessly to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf.

Don’t let the aftermath of a motorcycle accident overwhelm you. Contact Viscosi Law today for a free consultation, and let us help you get the compensation you deserve.

Types of Motorcycle Accidents

Some types of motorcycle accidents that can occur include:

Single-Vehicle Accidents

A single-vehicle motorcycle accident is an accident that involves only one motorcycle and its rider. This type of accident occurs when a motorcycle loses control and crashes into an object, such as a curb, barrier, or tree, or falls over due to a mechanical failure or a road hazard.

Single-vehicle motorcycle accidents can have various causes, including speeding, alcohol or drug use, distracted driving, inexperience, fatigue, or a faulty motorcycle part. In some cases, road conditions, such as wet or icy roads, potholes, or debris on the road, can also contribute to single-vehicle motorcycle accidents.

These types of accidents can result in serious injuries or death to the motorcycle rider. Common injuries include broken bones, head and neck injuries, spinal cord injuries, road rash, and internal injuries. Because there is no other vehicle involved, it may be more difficult for the injured motorcyclist to receive compensation for their injuries, as there is no other party to hold liable for damages. However, an experienced personal injury attorney can help the motorcyclist pursue a claim against a third party, such as a manufacturer or municipality, if their negligence contributed to the accident.

Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions are a common type of motorcycle accident in which a motor vehicle crashes into the back of a motorcycle. These accidents often occur when a car or truck driver fails to see a motorcycle in front of them or misjudges the distance between the vehicles. The impact can cause severe injuries to motorcyclists, as they are more vulnerable to the force of a collision than occupants of a car or truck.

In some cases, rear-end collisions may be caused by distracted driving, such as texting, eating, or adjusting the radio while driving. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol may also be more likely to cause rear-end collisions with motorcycles.

To prevent rear-end collisions, it’s essential for all drivers to be aware of their surroundings and to leave plenty of space between vehicles, especially when following a motorcycle. Motorcyclists can also increase their visibility on the road, such as wearing bright or reflective clothing and using hand signals to communicate with other drivers.

Left-Turn Accidents

Left-turn accidents occur when a vehicle turns left in front of an oncoming motorcycle, resulting in a collision. This type of accident is hazardous for motorcyclists because they have a smaller profile and can be challenging to see, especially in low-light conditions or when the driver is distracted. Left-turn accidents can result in serious injuries or fatalities for motorcyclists.

In many cases, left-turn accidents occur when the vehicle driver is distracted, fails to signal their turn, or misjudges the speed or distance of the oncoming motorcycle. It is important for drivers to exercise caution when turning left and to be aware of their surroundings, especially in areas with heavy motorcycle traffic.

In New York, if a left-turn accident involving a motorcycle occurs, the vehicle’s driver making the left turn may be found at fault for the accident. Motorcyclists need to seek legal representation in these cases to ensure they receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses.

Lane-Change Accidents

Lane-change accidents involving motorcycles occur when a driver fails to check for motorcycles in adjacent lanes before making a lane change. This type of accident can also happen when a driver drifts into a motorcycle’s lane without warning. Lane-change accidents can result in serious injuries or even fatalities for motorcyclists, especially if they are thrown from their bike or collide with other vehicles on the road. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable in these types of accidents due to the lack of protection their vehicles provide.

Head-On Collisions

Head-on collisions are a type of motorcycle accident that occurs when a motorcycle collides with another vehicle head-on. These types of accidents can happen when a driver is traveling in the wrong lane, crossing over into oncoming traffic, or when a motorcycle is traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way street. Head-on collisions are often catastrophic and can result in severe injuries or fatalities for the motorcyclist and the other driver involved.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), head-on collisions accounted for 56% of all motorcycle accident fatalities in 2019. This highlights the seriousness of this type of accident and the need for increased safety measures to prevent them. All drivers must remain vigilant and pay close attention to the road to avoid head-on collisions.

Side-Impact Collisions

Side-impact collisions, or T-bone collisions, occur when a vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle at a perpendicular or nearly perpendicular angle. In the case of a motorcycle, this can be particularly dangerous as the rider has little protection from the impact. 

Side-impact collisions can occur at intersections, parking lots, or other areas where two vehicles cross paths. The severity of the injuries sustained in a side-impact collision can vary widely, depending on the speed of the vehicles involved, the angle of impact, and the use of safety equipment by the motorcyclist. In some cases, side-impact collisions can be fatal.

Lane-Splitting Accidents

Lane-splitting accidents are a type of motorcycle accident that occur when a motorcyclist drives between two lanes of stopped or slow-moving traffic, typically on a highway or busy road. This maneuver is illegal in some states but legal in California, where motorcyclists commonly use it to save time and reduce the risk of being rear-ended by a car. 

However, lane splitting is risky and can result in serious accidents if not done safely. Drivers unaware of this practice may suddenly change lanes, not giving the motorcyclist enough room to maneuver, leading to collisions. Additionally, uneven road surfaces, slippery road conditions, and unexpected obstacles can cause lane-splitting accidents.

Possible Charges After a Motorcycle Accident

The types of possible charges for motorcycle accidents in New York can include:

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can often be a contributing factor in motorcycle accidents. In New York, reckless driving is defined as operating a motor vehicle in a manner that unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway or endangers users. Reckless driving can include excessive speeding, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, ignoring traffic signals or signs, and distracted driving.

If a motorcyclist is involved in an accident caused by another driver’s reckless driving, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries and damages. An experienced personal injury attorney can help gather evidence and build a case to hold the reckless driver accountable and seek maximum compensation for the motorcyclist’s losses.

On the other hand, if a motorcyclist is charged with reckless driving, it is vital to seek legal representation to defend against the charges. A skilled attorney can investigate the circumstances of the accident, challenge the evidence presented by the prosecution, and work to negotiate a favorable plea agreement or take the case to trial to fight for a not-guilty verdict.


In New York, the speed limit for motorcycles is the same as for other motor vehicles. Exceeding the speed limit can result in a speeding ticket, which can carry fines and points on your license. In addition, if a motorcyclist causes an accident while speeding, they may be held liable for any resulting damages or injuries. Speeding can also be considered a form of reckless driving, which is a more serious offense and can result in criminal charges.

Driving Under the Influence/Driving While Intoxicated

DUI/DWI charges for motorcyclists are similar to those for drivers of other vehicles. In New York, it is illegal to operate a motorcycle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. If a motorcyclist is found to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they may face criminal charges, including fines, license suspension, and even jail time. The severity of the punishment will depend on factors such as the level of intoxication, previous DUI/DWI convictions, and whether or not the driver caused an accident or injuries. In addition to criminal charges, the motorcyclist may also face civil lawsuits from anyone who was injured as a result of the accident.

Failure to Yield

Failure to yield is a traffic violation that can occur in any vehicle accident, including motorcycle accidents. When a driver fails to yield the right of way, they do not allow the other vehicle, in this case, a motorcycle, to proceed safely. Failure to yield to a bike in New York can result in a traffic ticket and a fine. The consequences can be more severe if the failure to yield results in an accident and injuries. The driver may be held liable for any damages or injuries caused to the motorcyclist. The severity of the charge and potential punishment can vary depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, such as the extent of the injuries, the degree of negligence or recklessness involved, and any prior driving offenses.

Negligent Operation

Negligent operation is a charge that can be brought against a person who operates a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, negligently or carelessly that endangers others on the road. It is similar to reckless driving in that it involves a disregard for the safety of others, but it is often considered a less severe charge. Examples of negligent operation include failing to signal, following too closely, or driving in a way that obstructs traffic. If you are charged with negligent operation concerning a motorcycle accident, seeking legal representation to defend yourself against the charges is essential.

Vehicular Assault

Vehicular assault can occur in the context of a motorcycle accident if the driver of a motor vehicle causes serious physical injury to a person while recklessly operating their vehicle. This can include driving under the influence, driving in a way that is likely to cause injury, or intentionally hitting a motorcycle rider. 

Vehicular assault is a serious criminal charge in New York and can result in significant penalties such as fines and imprisonment. In cases where a motorcyclist is the victim of vehicular assault, they may be entitled to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced attorney can assist in navigating the legal process and helping to ensure that the victim’s rights are protected.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Vehicular manslaughter refers to the crime of causing the death of another person while operating a vehicle in a reckless or criminally negligent manner. If a motorcycle accident results in someone’s death due to the negligent or reckless actions of the rider, they could potentially face charges of vehicular manslaughter.

For example, if a motorcyclist is driving at excessive speeds, swerving in and out of traffic, and ultimately colliding with another vehicle, causing the death of a passenger or driver, they could be charged with vehicular manslaughter.

Motorcyclists must exercise caution and ride responsibly to avoid being involved in a deadly accident and facing criminal charges. In a fatal accident, it’s crucial to contact an experienced attorney who can help navigate the legal process and provide guidance on the best course of action.

The specific charges and penalties will depend on the individual circumstances of the accident and the extent of the damage or injuries involved.

Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Motorcycle accidents can result in many injuries, some of which can be very serious or even life-threatening. Some of the most common injuries in a motorcycle accident include:

  1. Road rash: This type of abrasion occurs when a rider’s skin scrapes against the road surface.
  2. Fractures and Broken Bones: Motorcyclists are at high risk for fractures and broken bones, particularly in the legs, arms, and hands.
  3. Traumatic Brain Injuries: Motorcycle accidents can result in head injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, ranging from mild concussions to severe brain damage.
  4. Spinal Cord Injuries: These can result in partial or complete paralysis and can have a lifelong impact on the victim.
  5. Soft Tissue Injuries include bruises, sprains, and strains and can result in chronic pain and discomfort.
  6. Internal Injuries: Motorcycle accidents can cause damage to internal organs, such as the lungs, liver, and spleen.
  7. Emotional Trauma: Motorcycle accidents can be traumatic events resulting in anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a motorcycle accident, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, may not be immediately apparent but can have serious long-term effects if left untreated.

Motorcycle Accidents Facts

Here are some statistics on motorcycle accidents in New York:

  • In 2020, there were 4,115 motorcycle accidents in New York State, resulting in 170 fatalities and 3,264 injuries.
  • Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than occupants of other vehicles, and 5 times more likely to be injured.
  • Nearly half of all motorcycle accidents in New York occur in New York City, where traffic congestion and a high volume of vehicles can create dangerous conditions for motorcyclists.
  • Most motorcycle accidents in New York occur during the daytime, with 62% occurring between 6:00am and 6:00 pm.
  • In 2019, the highest number of motorcycle accidents in New York occurred in the 25-29, followed closely by the age group of 20-24.
  • Alcohol was a factor in approximately 20% of fatal motorcycle accidents in New York in 2019.
  • The most common cause of motorcycle accidents in New York is driver inattention or distraction, which accounted for 35% of accidents in 2019.
  • Only 65% of motorcyclists in New York wear helmets, even though helmet use is proven to reduce the risk of head injury by 69%.

These statistics demonstrate the severe risks motorcyclists face on the roads in New York, highlighting the importance of taking safety precautions while riding.

Legal Representation After a Motorcycle Accident

As a legal firm, Viscosi Law can offer various types of legal representation after a motorcycle accident, including:

  1. Personal Injury Claims: If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, Viscosi Law can help you file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
  2. Wrongful Death Claims: If a loved one has been killed in a motorcycle accident, Viscosi Law can help you file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for your loss.
  3. Insurance Claims: Viscosi Law can help you file an insurance claim after a motorcycle accident to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to.
  4. Litigation: Viscosi Law can represent you in court and fight for your rights and interests if necessary.
  5. Settlement Negotiations: Viscosi Law can negotiate with insurance companies and other parties to reach a fair and just settlement.
  6. Legal Advice and Guidance: Viscosi Law can provide legal advice and guidance throughout the legal process and help you make informed decisions about your case.

Viscosi Law can offer comprehensive legal representation after a motorcycle accident to ensure that your rights are protected and you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today!

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