Zero Control: Biggest Danger for a Motorcycle Passenger

by annbailey on January 29, 2013

(Guest post, mainly based on US law and general information). There are few better ways to enjoy a hobby than to share it with a good friend or significant other. Many motorcycles are built to accommodate rear passengers and many people are enthusiastic about riding on a motorcycle, even if they are not actually operating the machine. Unfortunately, riding a road bike can be hazardous.

The Risks of Being a Motorcycle Passenger

Motorcycle passengers are in a unique position with respect to severe accidents. Automobile occupants have large crumple zones, airbags, and seat belts to reduce the incidence of serious injury in the event of a collision. In contrast, motorcycle riders and passengers must rely upon strong helmets and crash-resistant clothing, which provide relatively little protection in the event of a direct collision with a fixed object. This results in higher g-forces being imparted onto the body, resulting in a higher incidence of death or serious bodily injury.

Motorcycle passengers are at a particular disadvantage due to the limited degree of control that they have over the motorcycle. Riding a big bike usually requires some degree of body movement and a willingness to lean into corners. While a motor vehicle passenger may sit immobile and not affect the driver, a motorcycle passenger who fails to lean into a corner or who leans off the other side can impair the driver’s ability to corner at all, thus increasing the probability of a collision. At the same time, a leaning passenger may not be enough to avoid a collision. Thus, motorcycle passengers may contribute to their own injuries while also incurring liability for someone else’s injuries.

Restricted Passenger Input

Additionally, high wind noises and the inherent insulation provided by the helmets worn by both parties will usually make communication between a bike driver and his or her passenger difficult. Passengers cannot easily tell the rider to slow down or notify the rider of hazards like potholes and oil on the road. Thus, unlike an automobile passenger, a motorcycle passenger usually cannot provide a second set of eyes if the operator becomes distracted. Driving a road bike safely requires careful scanning of pavement conditions and upcoming intersections; if the driver fails to do his part, there is little that a passenger can do to compensate.

Recovering from a Motorcycle Accident

Even passengers who wear proper helmets and other protective gear can be seriously injured, whether in a motorcycle accident NH or CA. This can result in high medical bills and a reduced ability to earn an income. Fortunately, injured passengers have rights. If a motorcycle collides with a vehicle, fault will not normally lie with the passenger on the motorcycle. As such, the party at fault for the collision may be liable to the injured motorcyclist for negligence. If the negligent act resulted in a death, the injured cyclist’s family members may have a statutory cause of action for wrongful death.

Motorcycle passengers get the same lack of protection from severe impacts that any motorcyclist gets while having minimal control over the vehicle. In this respect, the passengers get the worst of all worlds with respect to accident and injury prevention. If the motorcyclist wrecks while driving recklessly or if another motorist carelessly collides with the motorcycle, the passenger is likely to be a seriously injured innocent victim. In such a situation, retaining an attorney experienced in handling motorcycle accident cases may be the only way to recover medical costs and other damages.

A former reporter, Ann Bailey posts these issues of safety for passengers of road bikes. The motorcycle accident NH attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, PA are road warriors themselves and, having been riders for more than 20 years, provide dedicated legal help for any victim or victim’s family in cases of motorcycle accident injury.



Ann Bailey is a former TV journalist and currently contributes guest posts in the business and legal fields.

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