Speed Contributed to Memorial Day Motorcycle Crash
A tragic Memorial Day accident involving a motorcycle and box truck on Eastbound I-94 at the Southfield Freeway ended Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month on a somber note. According to the accident report, Metro South Post police say a 32-year-old Taylor man was operating his motorcycle while speeding when he then attempted to cut between a box truck and a semi and was killed immediately. Although the semi driver stopped, the box truck driver continued on, probably not realizing they had been hit. Police are currently looking for the driver of that white box truck and say the vehicle may have damage to the right rear corner.
“According to witness reports and evidence at the scene, the 2016 Yamaha tried to speed through stopped traffic,” says Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw.
In 2016, the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 33 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 19 percent for passenger car drivers, 15 percent for light-truck drivers, and 7 percent for large-truck drivers.
Motorcycle Operators Carry Extra Responsibilities for Safe Riding
Road alignment and surface conditions, human factors and operator errors, driver behaviors such as speeding, as well as motorcycle type play important roles in motorcycle crashes. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. and our team of Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers have gathered these safety recommendations and regulations for our blog readers who ride motorcycles to review and share:
- Take a motorcycle education and certification course. The Michigan Rider Education Program uses both public and private organizations approved by the Michigan Department of State to offer motorcycle rider education classes.
- Always wear a helmet. Though a helmet is not required in Michigan for adults with two years of experience and the required insurance coverage, there is general agreement that helmet use is an important preventive measure against some of the most serious accident injuries, such as head or brain injuries that can cause paralysis, permanent disability, or death.
- Obey traffic laws and avoid speeding. Motorcycle operators are required to follow the same laws as other drivers.
- Ride in open zones. Choose to ride in open zones in traffic. Doing so will give you additional room to maneuver and allow you to keep away from dangerous blind spots.
- Cover your brakes. In traffic you must often react extra quickly, which means not fumbling for the brake lever or pedal. To minimize reach time, always keep a finger or two on the brake lever and your right toe close to the rear brake pedal.
- Watch drivers’ heads and mirrors. Knowing where other drivers are headed by taking note of their actions is an excellent way to anticipate sudden moves.
- Never drive impaired or distracted. Do not drink, use drugs, or take prescription medications that can cause drowsiness or other impairment. Never use a phone while driving.
- Don’t fail your bike. Maintain your motorcycle properly and undertake repairs when needed. Watch for recalls, check tires, keep your cables oiled, and consult your owner’s manual to grease the appropriate machinery.
- Trust your mirrors, but not totally. Your bike’s mirrors can be lifesavers, but they don’t always tell the entire story even if they’re adjusted properly. In traffic, always support your mirror-generated rear view by checking over the appropriate shoulder as well.
- Dress to be seen. Wear brightly colored clothing to increase your visibility.
- Drive defensively. Motorcyclists cannot assume other drivers will see them, so it’s critical to be aware of the other vehicles (and drivers) on the road.
Riders should also pay close attention to the road and weather conditions, as they, along with fatigue, actually pose a greater risk to motorcycle operators than do other vehicle operators.
Likewise for all road users, since the riding season has just begun, and it’s been a while since we’ve traveled with motorcycles, now is a good time to bring their safety back to the front of our minds and maintain awareness of their presence at all times.
Motor vehicle operators need to know motorcyclists have a right to a full lane, just like other vehicles. Following a motorcycle too closely can result in disaster if a rider is forced to stop or maneuver quickly to avoid dangerous road conditions or for any other reason that might require sudden changes in movement. Additionally, car and truck drivers need to check mirrors and blind spots, especially when turning, passing, or changing lanes. The smaller size of motorcycles can make them harder to see, and a vehicle passing too closely at speed can actually cause an accident by blowing the motorcycle off-course.
Michigan Motorcycle Accident Claims
Anyone could be involved in a motorcycle accident, even you, a friend, worker, neighbor, or relative. If a driver crashes into a motorcyclist or vice versa, passengers, and other road users such as bicyclists or pedestrians, the result can end in tragedy not only for the injured persons but for the driver of the motorcycle as well.
In Michigan, when a person is injured in a motorcycle accident, there are two claims. First, if a motor vehicle (car or truck) is involved in the accident, then the injured motorcyclists can file what is known as “first-party claim,” or a claim for Michigan no-fault PIP benefits. However, there are certain requirements.
At the outset, a motor vehicle must be “involved” in the motorcycle accident. This means a car or a truck must have somehow contributed to the accident. Direct impact with a car by a motorcycle is not required. Just that the motor vehicle is involved in the accident.
Second, under Michigan law, to get no-fault benefits following a motorcycle accident the title owner or registered owner of the bike must have motorcycle insurance. MCL 500.3103 states “an owner or registrant of a motorcycle shall provide security against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for property damage, bodily injury, or death suffered by a person arising out of the ownership, maintenance, or use of that motorcycle.”
Helping Michigan Riders Stay Safe
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm encourages everyone to do their part in making the roads safer for motorcyclists and their passengers. Our team of Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers have been helping riders for decades. If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident we are here for you. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we win or settle your case.
Additional resources for motorcycle operators: