Some Steps that Limit the Risk and Severity of Motorcycle Accidents in Wisconsin

May 11 , 2022 | Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

As gasoline prices rise in Wisconsin, motorcycle sales rise as well. As a result, the number of motorcycle accidents will probably increase as well. That’s especially true as the calendar inches toward spring and the weather slowly begins to warm. Some combination of driver inattention and lack of rider visibility causes most of the motorcycle crashes in the Dairy State.

Left-turn motorcycle accidents are a good illustration. Usually, these wrecks happen as a driver makes an unprotected left turn against traffic to change directions or enter a private driveway. Motorcycle riders are very hard to see, especially in a sea of large vehicles, like SUVs and pickup trucks. Part of the problem here is that many motorists are looking for traffic gaps as opposed to scrutinizing oncoming traffic.

Most riders who have gone down in these situations probably hear the other driver say something like “You came out of nowhere.” Drivers say this to shift blame to the motorcycle rider. But since the motorcyclist has the right of way, it’s incumbent on the driver to watch more closely.

Riders may be able to do some things to increase their own visibility, as outlined below. But riders cannot do anything to make drivers more attentive. In other words, riders can reduce the risk of a wreck. But they cannot eliminate the risk altogether. Fortunately, if you are hurt, a Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer can reduce the severity of a wreck.

Reducing the Risk of a Wreck

Theories abound as to how motorcycle riders can increase their visibility and decrease the risk of a wreck. Some ideas include:

  • Honking every few blocks
  • Modifying mufflers to make them louder
  • Wearing bright clothes
  • Riding with the headlight on
  • Weaving slightly in a single traffic lane

These ideas may sound good. But there is little or no scientific evidence that they work. Additionally, they could antagonize motorists who don’t particularly like motorcycle riders in the first place.

This idea, which Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyers often deal with, is called motorcycle prejudice. Many people, including many jurors, believe that motorcycle riders are basically reckless thugs. Therefore, in accidents like the aforementioned left-turn crashes, these jurors are more likely to blame the rider for the wreck, if at all possible.

Some other ways to reduce the risk of a motorcycle accident have little or nothing to do with riding skills.

Rather surprisingly, riding without a helmet may be one way to reduce the risk of a wreck. Research indicates that bicycle helmets increase the risk of a collision. Subconsciously, when drivers see helmeted bicycle riders, they think the rider could survive a collision. So, the driver takes unnecessary chances, like passing too close. Motorcycle helmets probably don’t have this same effect. But it’s interesting to think about.

Speaking of headgear, protective eyewear, though not legally required, helps as well. In the movies, professional actors never even blink when they ride, or at least pretend to ride, without protective eyewear. But the real world is different. The few moments riders need to close their eyes to shield them from the wind might be the few moments they need to avoid a wreck.

But, we are getting ahead of ourselves. Motorcycle safety begins before riders mount their bikes. Consider taking a motorcycle safety or other course which teaches skills above and beyond those needed for a motorcycle license. Furthermore, ensure that both you and your bike are in top condition. Give your bike a brief once-over before you hit the road. Also, make sure you are completely sober, well-rested, and prepared to fully concentrate on riding. Finally, as you plan your route, try to keep to side streets or other areas where traffic is lighter.

Reducing the Severity of a Collision

Riders can reduce the risk of a collision on their own. But they cannot force motorists to watch the road. They also cannot ensure that motorists do not drive while they are impaired or while their vehicles are not in good shape.

If you get in a wreck, immediately see a doctor and document the scene as much as possible. Doing these two things significantly reduces the negative consequences of a wreck.

Prompt medical attention is important for both health and legal reasons. Let’s start with medical reasons. After a crash, many people don’t “feel” hurt. That’s usually because adrenaline temporarily masks pain. The truth is you never know how badly you were hurt until a doctor examines you.

This doctor should be a physician who deals with injury-related matters, not an emergency medical technician, an ER doctor, or a family doctor. Many car crash injuries, like whiplash, which is a head-neck injury, are very difficult to diagnose.

Additionally, most car crash injuries are degenerative. The longer you wait for treatment, the worse they get.

Legally, insurance company lawyers could use treatment delay against a victim. These lawyers often argue that if the victim waited to go to the doctor, his/her injuries must not have been very bad. In simple terms, failing to see a doctor straightaway could cost you money later.

If money is an issue, a Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer can connect victims with doctors who charge nothing upfront for their professional services. Lawyers can make similar arrangements when it comes to things like vehicle replacement or repair.

Finding the Right Wisconsin Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

Wisconsin has one of the highest numbers of lawyers per person of any state in the Union. Pretty much any of them could handle a basic motorcycle accident claim. However, most of these claims are not very basic. They usually involve some very complex legal issues. Therefore, victims need attorneys with the right combination of:

  • Accessibility: Your lawyer, and not a less-experienced associate or a non-lawyer paralegal, should be available to answer your questions. Physical accessibility is important as well. After a serious crash, many victims have a hard time getting around.
  • Experience: Law school only teaches people so much. Practical experience is a much better teacher in many areas. However, years of practice could be misleading. Your attorney should also have substantial personal injury trial experience.
  • Dedication: As mentioned, most motorcycle crash claims are quite complex. If this area of law is only a sideshow for your lawyer, s/he may be unfamiliar with the intricacies of personal injury law. As a rule of thumb, your lawyer’s practice should be at least 50 percent devoted to injury law.

Focus on these areas when you speak with lawyers about your case. However, do not take too long to make your decision. You have a limited amount of time to act.

Reach Out to a Hard-Hitting Milwaukee County Motorcycle Accident Attorney

Accident victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Wisconsin motorcycle accident lawyer, contact the Martin Law Office, S.C. by calling 414-856-4010. Virtual, home and after-hours visits are available.