Motorcycle riding season starts up again every spring and summer with the warm weather. As you think about which trips to take and what you have to do to get your bike ready, also remember to keep safety in mind. One of the best safeguards is wearing appropriate motorcycle safety gear as you hit the road this year.
Safety gear that every motorcyclist should wear:
- Helmet: Helmets could prevent a serious or fatal head injury and in New York, helmets aren’t optional. All motorcycle operators and passengers must wear one.
- When choosing a helmet, make sure it meets Department of Transportation (DOT) standards (FMVSS 218). Look for a DOT sticker on the helmet and make sure it fits properly and comfortably. Keep in mind that a full-face helmet provides the best protection.
- Eyewear: If you don’t have a helmet with a face shield, use goggles or other protective eyewear. Eyewear provides protection from flying debris. But as with helmets, it’s also required in the state of New York.
- Clothing: It’s just as important to protect your upper and lower body with a sturdy jacket and pants. Although dressing for weather is important, it’s vital to also dress for protection. Motorcyclists are at risk of suffering road rash injuries in the event of a crash. Heavier, durable riding gear (such as leather) provides the best defense if you end up skidding across the pavement. In warmer temperatures, wear riding gear that is ventilated.
- Gloves: Gloves are essential because they not only protect the fingers, hands and wrists from the elements, they can also prevent injuries in an accident. It’s a natural response to put one’s hands out when falling. Gloves can protect the hands in the event of an accident. Make sure the gloves allow for good grip on the handlebars and provide adequate padding.
- Footwear: Wear motorcycle boots that cover your ankles when riding to protect your feet and ankles from injuries. Some even protect your shins. Make sure your footwear has good traction to avoid slipping when placing your feet on the ground. Also, a heel will make it easier to grip the bike’s pegs.
Impact of Safety Gear on a Motorcycle Accident Case
Because New York is a no-fault state when it comes to negligence, each motorist files a claim with his or her own insurance company regardless of who is at fault. However, motorcyclists cannot recover PIP benefits.
But motoryclists may go outside the no-fault system to file a lawsuit against another party. You may pursue both economic damages like medical expenses, property damage, and more, as well as for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Of course, you must have ample evidence that proves the other person was at fault. One of the issues that can arise in a motorcycle accident claim is whether the injured motorcyclists was wearing safety gear. As mentioned, New York mandates that operators and passengers wear a helmet and eye protection.
Let’s say a motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet. Even though the driver of an SUV was clearly at fault for the collision, if there were head injuries it might be difficult to recover damages. The defendant may argue that had the individual obeyed the law and worn a helmet, those injuries might not have happened or may not be as severe. But if there were road rash injuries to the arms, torso and legs, not wearing a helmet wouldn’t matter.
If you or someone you love was severely injured in a motorcycle crash, the next step should be to seek legal counsel. An attorney will evaluate the circumstances of the case to determine what options may be available. Call 800-550-0000 to set up a consultation with Gacovino, Lake & Associates, or contact us via online form.