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Do police and car drivers have a bias against motorcycle riders?
The short answer: yes.
There don’t seem to be any psychological studies proving scientifically that anti-rider prejudice exists. But most motorcycle riders have experienced it, and every experienced motorcycle injury attorney would tell you that the prejudice is real. There is a lot of speculation about where the prejudice comes from, but it’s all based on personal anecdotes.
A popular theory among riders is that media sensationalism is a big factor. In the 1920s, automobiles became the dominant form of private transportation, and since that time popular culture has depicted riders as careless or reckless people. Fiction, television, and movies often play up the image of the motorcyclist as a rebel who rejects social conventions, a “bad boy” who can’t be trusted. This viewpoint is part of the subconscious reaction most car drivers have to riders.
Another theory is that car drivers resent and fear the maneuverability and mobility of motorcycles. Two-wheeled vehicles are designed to handle more adeptly in traffic than larger automobiles, and some riders take fully advantage of that on the highway. Darting across lanes and between other vehicles isn’t particularly safe, and these maneuvers upset automobile drivers. Some car drivers simply envy riders who can continue to move forward when cars are stalled in traffic congestion. Many, perhaps most, car drivers have had a near-accident that they blame on a rider. The anxiety caused by some rowdy riders tends to spill over as a bias against all motorcyclists.
Another explanation, related to the previous one, is territoriality. A car driver likes to believe that he owns the road—or at least a little bit of it surrounding his vehicle. He becomes very defensive about the territory he has claimed. A driver perceives a highly maneuverable motorcycle that enters the car’s “personal space” to be threatening. A pack of riders traveling together on the highway can intimidate car drivers. These emotions are then projected to apply to all motorcycle riders.
Anti-rider bias and Wisconsin traffic accidents
There’s a direct connection between the bias against motorcycle riders and increased danger on Wisconsin highways. By far the most common reason car drivers give when asked why they collided with a motorcycle is, “I just didn’t see him.” Now, it’s true that a bike has a narrower profile than a car, and that it’s easier for a bike to be obscured in a car driver’s blind spot. But many people think that anti-motorcycle prejudice is probably a contributing factor to many Wisconsin traffic accidents. Car drivers subconsciously assign less importance to motorcycles, because they don’t see riders as deserving equal consideration on the road.
If you have been injured in a collision with a car or truck while biking in Wisconsin, you could benefit from the services of an experienced Appleton motorcycle wreck lawyer from the firm of Hupy and Abraham. Call us today at 920-882-8382 (local) or (800) 800-5678 (statewide toll-free) to get a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims, as well as your free riders’ Rights card. Read the book—it’s yours to keep, even if you don’t hire us. Once you are convinced that we know our business, call for a free, no-obligation consultation about your case. You’ll be glad you did.
Are there things I can do to keep myself from getting into a Gurnee motorcycle crash at night?
You bet! Chances are, you will find yourself taking your motorcycle out at night from time to time, and you need to ride smart to stay out of a bike wreck in Gurnee.
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation gives the following tips for motorcycling at night:
- Be very careful when riding at dusk; it’s the most dangerous time on the road, when people are adjusting their vision to the loss of daylight and the onset of headlights. Be especially careful right after sunset.
- Slow down a bit when riding at night, especially on curvy roads.
- Use the light from both your headlight and the light from other vehicles to monitor the road surface. You will have more trouble identifying patches of gravel or obstacles on the road at night.
- Keep even more space between you and the vehicle you follow so you have more time to react to traffic situations in front of you.
- Wear a clear face shield that has no scratches. Scratches can refract the light, multiplying the number of headlights you see.
- Beware of drunk drivers at night. Note any vehicles that are weaving in and out of traffic or otherwise moving in an odd fashion.
All of us take our lives into our hands when we take to the road, especially at night. Be a responsible rider, and you may avoid a motorcycle accident in Gurnee. If you ever need a Gurnee bike wreck lawyer, contact Hupy and Abraham. Call us toll free at 800-800-5678 or locally at 414-223-4800. Complete our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation, or request our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
I loaned my motorcycle to a friend and he got into an accident. Am I liable?
Maybe. Two laws may apply here that could shift liability for a motorcycle accident to you, even though you weren’t involved in the actual crash.
First, Wisconsin has a Safety Responsibility Law that could affect you. Strictly speaking, Wisconsin does not absolutely require that people driving motor vehicles carry insurance, but the Safety Responsibility Law was enacted in 1945 to encourage purchasing insurance. If your buddy was uninsured, and if the Division of Motor Vehicles determines that he was responsible for the Wisconsin traffic accident, then his license to drive and all his vehicle registrations will be suspended. Worse, because he was driving a borrowed vehicle, then the license and vehicle registration of the motorcycle’s owner—uh-oh, that’s you—will also be suspended.
Second, common law includes something called the dangerous instrumentality rule. Some objects—including motor vehicles operated on public streets—are considered inherently dangerous, requiring a special degree of care. If someone negligently uses a dangerous instrumentality and causes an injury, the common law rule says that the owner of the item—uh-oh, that’s you again—can be considered liable along with the item’s user. The legislature has specifically made the dangerous instrumentality rule part of state law (Chapter 941 of the Wisconsin Statutes), so it’s possible that criminal charges could be applied, too.
Untangling the knot of liability
It’s pretty clear that figuring out liability for a motorcycle accident in Wisconsin is not an easy task. It’s a job best turned over to your Appleton motorcycle crash attorney.
If you have suffered an injury in a Wisconsin traffic accident, call the Hupy and Abraham law firm at 920-882-8382 (local) or (800) 800-5678 (statewide toll-free) to get a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims. Once you are convinced that we know our business, call for a free, no-obligation assessment of your case. We want to help you recover every penny of compensation that is available for your injuries.
What are some maneuvers I can use to avoid a Wisconsin motorcyle accident?
As a motorcycle rider, close calls come with the territory, and what you do in those moments can be the difference between experiencing and avoiding a collision that could result in injury or death. Below are some techniques for Wisconsin riders that may help prevent a crash:
- Brake gradually. Never fully slam on your brakes. Depending on the type of brake line your bike has, sudden braking could cause your bike to flip or spin out.
- Swerve where possible. Be aware at all times of possible escape routes in the event of a crash. Decide which lane is safest to swerve into in the event that you don’t have time to fully hit the brakes.
- Signal with lights and hands. If, for example, the car in front of you is about to do something that could cause a collision, do your best to communicate your presence WHILE taking measures to distance yourself from the car.
Though most skilled and educated riders know the above facts, it’s important to practice them to help make sure you have the presence of mind to execute these maneuvers in the split second before a collision.
If you are a rider who has been in a Wisconsin motorcycle crash, call the Madison motorcycle accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or 608-277-7777 to order your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
How should a Wisconsin motorcycle rider prepare before going on the road?
While there are many laws and safety biking tips to keep in mind while on the road, motorcycle preparedness happens before even leaving the driveway and can be just as important. Some things to make sure of before taking your motorcycle out on the road include:
- Having the right gear. This means a jacket and pants made out of strong material to prevent road burn, such as leather or Teflon. It is also highly recommended, though not required by Wisconsin state law, that you wear a helmet or some form of face and eye protection.
- Knowing your bike. Because there are so many factors on the road which could cause danger, your motorcycle should not be one. Making sure you know the ins and outs of how your bike works means reading the owners manual, becoming familiar with placement and behavior of all of the controls, and ensuring that you know the gear pattern and brakes like the back of your hand.
- Check the crucial parts. Any time you’re about to head out on your bike, it’s important to make sure the following parts are clean and functional: mirrors, brakes, clutch and throttle, and horn. In the winter, tire tread becomes more important than unusual, so make sure your tires can provide good traction before setting out on icy roads.
If you have been involved in a Wisconsin motorcycle crash, the Madison motorcycle accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham will help you learn your rights. Call Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or 608-277-7777 to schedule a consultation and to order your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
What are some of the most common mechanical motorcycle problems?
Knowledge of common mechanical motorcycle problems can be just as important as being able to avoid an accident. Some of the most prevalent issues facing Wisconsin motorcycle users include:
- Contaminated fuel: When a bike isn’t used very often, it is possible for the gas to go stale and clog the fuel system. People who ride their motorcycle for less than 25 miles per week should consider purchasing a fuel stabilizing additive to prevent clogs.
- Poorly lubricated chains: If not maintained properly, motorcycle chains could break or slip, causing a skid to occur. Chains should be well lubricated and pulled to a proper tension. For the sake of suspension, a chain should sag between ¾ and 1 1 ¼ inches between the sprockets.
- Uncharged batteries: Neglected batteries are a problem if the motorcycle is ridden less than 25 miles per week or less than 5 hours per week. If you don’t ride your motorcycle that often, consider hooking your battery up to a charger when you finish riding.
- Debris in the interior: Failing to properly clean your bike could result in a collection of dirt and debris accumulating on the interior of the engine, which can cause the bike to run poorly.
If you have questions about your rights as a Wisconsin motorcycle user or have been in a Wisconsin motorcycle accident and would like to schedule a consultation, call Madison motorcycle accident lawyers Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or 608-277-7777 to order your FREE copy of The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victim.
I was injured in a Green Bay motorcycle accident and would like to schedule an appointment with a Wisconsin motorcycle lawyer. What documents do I need to bring to my appointment?
Your Wisconsin motorcycle lawyer will need to see many of the same documents that the insurance company will request. In fact, it is a good idea to let your Green Bay motorcycle accident lawyer look through the documents before you give them to the adjustor, so he can make sure that they are in good order and that they support your Wisconsin motorcycle accident claim.
You will need to bring:
- Your insurance policy: Your attorney will need to know the name of your insurance company and how much coverage you have.
- Information about the other driver: You will need the driver’s name, address, telephone number, and insurance information. If you did not get this at the accident scene, it may be on the accident report.
- Information about witnesses: Try to get the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of anyone that was at the Wisconsin motorcycle accident scene.
- Any photographs of the scene
The accident report: When officers arrive at the scene of a Wisconsin motorcycle crash, they fill out a police report. The report may contain an outline of the accident, witness information, the officer’s impressions, reports of injuries, and even photographs. If an officer did not come to the scene of the accident, you will need to file a report at your local DMV.
Your medical records: Bring any records from the emergency room and from follow up visits with your own physician. Bring any bills and receipts that are related to your Green Bay motorcycle accident injuries.
If you have additional questions, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678. Just for calling, we would like to send you a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims, even if you do not hire us as your legal team.
As a Wisconsin motorcycle rider, why is it my responsibility to make motorists aware of me?
Sharing the road in Wicsonsin is the responsibility of all parties. However, as motorcycles can maneuver more quickly than cars and are sometimes more difficult to spot, it may be necessary for Wisconsin riders to be more in-tune with their surroundings than drivers of cars.
Safe driving practices should be adopted regardless of what vehicle you drive. For example, accidents can be reduced if all operators of motor vehicles followed these suggestions:
- Check your blind spot. This applies to motorists who may have a motorcycle in their blind spot without knowing it. It also applies to motorcycle riders who should be aware when they are in someone’s blind spot. riders should make their presence known before shifting lanes.
- Signal your intentions. It is just as dangerous for a car to turn without signaling in front of a motorcycle as it is for a rider to change lanes without properly notifying the driver ahead of him.
Although road safety can only be achieved if everyone makes an effort, it is especially important for motorcycle riders to exercise defensive driving. In the event of a collision with a car, a minimally-protected person on a motorcycle is far more likely to sustain serious injuries.
If you have been in a Wisconsin motorcycle collision, you can learn more about your rights by calling Madison motorcycle accident lawyers Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or608-277-7777. You may also benefit from reading our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims. Order your complimentary copy today.
What should I do to ride my motorcycle safely on slippery surfaces in Gurnee?
Good question. Obviously, you want to avoid getting into a motorcycle accident in Gurnee. First, let’s talk about what we mean by “slippery surfaces.” The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) includes the following in its description:
- Wet pavement right after rain has started falling and before it can wash away surface oils;
- Gravel roads;
- Areas of the road where gravel and sand collect;
- Painted lane markings, steel plates, and manhole covers; and, of course,
- Mud, snow, and ice.
To ride your bike safely on slippery surfaces and protect yourself from a Gurnee motorcycle crash, follow these suggestions:
- Reduce your speed.
- Avoid sudden moves.
- Use both brakes.
- Stay in a vehicle’s tire tracks—the center of the lane can be the most dangerous area of the road.
- Watch for oil spots when you stop.
- Beware of dirt and gravel at the sides of the road.
- Keep in mind that ice patches form in low or shady sections of the road and on bridges and overpasses.
- If you find yourself on a surface so slippery that you have to coast, let your feet slide along the road surface; that way, if your bike starts to fall, you can catch yourself. Stay off the brakes.
If you can’t avoid a motorcycle wreck in Gurnee because another driver has not been careful, contact Gurnee motorcycle accident attorneys Hupy and Abraham. Call us toll free at 800-800-5678 or locally at 414-223-4800, or use our online contact form for a FREE, no-obligation consultation. You can also request our FREE book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.
What are common side effects of riding while intoxicated in Wisconsin?
Consuming alcohol or drugs prior to riding a motorcycle in Wisconsin significantly increases the likelihood of injury from of an accident. Riding under the influence makes it far more likely for a crash to occur, by impairing the following factors:
- Your awareness of your own driving. This will be the first thing to go following alcohol or drug use. While you may think you are driving exceptionally well, you are most likely driving worse than ever. This false sense of confidence could lead you to take risks you wouldn’t ordinarily take.
- A slow response time, coupled with the riskiness of your newfound confidence, could get you into serious trouble. A mind and body impaired by alcohol or drugs is slower to respond reflexively. Attempting unsafe maneuvers will very likely result in an accident and in injury.
- Control over your body is impaired by alcohol or drug use. It takes a great deal of control to safely ride a motorcycle. This mean you could wobble more on your bike. A wobble can become a serious spill in a matter of seconds.
Remember: even if you are not legally over the limit of acceptable alcohol use, all it takes is one or two drinks to slow your response time and impair your judgment.
If you have been injured in a Wisconsin motorcycle crash and would like to know more about rider’s rights, call the Madison motorcycle accident lawyers of Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678 or608-277-7777. We also recommend that you order a FREE copy of our book, The Ultimate Guide for Motorcycle Accident Victims.