A motorcycle gives its rider a freedom that a car doesn’t quite provide. Motorcycles allow their rider to connect to the outdoors while still providing them with the mechanical and technological benefits of personal transportation. This freedom is not to be taken advantage of, however, or it may be taken away from you. Motorcyclists have responsibilities and rights to themselves, other motorists, and the state.
A Motorcyclist’s Responsibilities
Being able to ride your motorcycle is a privilege, not a right. If you don’t fulfill your end of the bargain, you could experience serious consequences. Motorcyclists have certain responsibilities that they must meet if they want to keep riding, including:
- Obeying all state traffic laws, including those concerning speed, right-of-way, and lane-splitting (which is illegal in all states except California);
- Having legal financial responsibility in the form of liability insurance, bonds, or self-insurance;
- Obeying all motorcycle specific laws, such as limits on the number of passengers you can carry;
- Taking the proper training and skills courses and get your motorcycle license or endorsement. An inexperienced rider is a dangerous rider;
- Wearing the appropriate safety gear, whether there is a law requiring it or not;
- Keeping your motorcycle well maintained and in good repair;
- Driving safely. You can perform more acute maneuvers in a motorcycle, but remember that larger vehicles, that may have to avoid you, can’t;
- Driving defensively. It is not only a car driver’s responsibility to look out for you, you must also look out for them; and
- Never drive drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Rights of Motorcycle Riders
A motorcyclist who fulfills all responsibilities and state requirements has just as much of a right to ride their bike as drivers do to operate their cars. Therefore, should a motorcyclist be involved in a traffic accident, they have the same right to hold any negligent parties accountable for any injuries suffered and/or any property damage sustained.
Motorcyclists are in greater danger of suffering catastrophic injuries or death in a crash than the occupants of passenger vehicles for the sole reason that a bike does not offer the same amount of protection as a fully enclosed car. For this reason, it is imperative that they are able to seek compensation for their losses. I have been riding motorcycles for over 35 years and so fully understand the threat of injury we face. Also, being an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Indiana, I believe that all motorcyclists should be able to exercise their legal right to pursue compensation against at-fault motorists. In order to prevent traffic accidents, motorcyclists and drivers must all take their road responsibilities seriously. But until that time, I am here to help motorcyclists keep getting back onto their bikes.