May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The weather is warming up across the Hudson Valley, and motorcycle enthusiasts are ready to ride! It’s time to remind everyone to share the road with motorcyclists.
When most people think of motorcycle crashes, they think of a motorcycle colliding with other vehicles. These collisions are devastating and can often be avoided with extra caution by drivers and looking twice for a motorcycle.
However, sometimes hazards for motorcyclists come directly from the road itself. Road hazards present an elevated risk for motorcyclists. Often, those responsible for maintaining roadways do not consider motorcycle riders. Basch & Keegan wants to discuss the dangers that road hazards pose and whether a motorcyclist can recover compensation in these situations.
Common Springtime Road Hazards Where There’s Liability:
- Potholes & Defects – It doesn’t take much for potholes to become dangerous. Water seeping into the cracks and freezing can widen potholes throughout the winter, finally exposing them when the spring comes. Other defects in the road that could lead to litigation are height differentials and deep cracks in the pavement that can create ruts where front wheels become wedged, causing the bike to flip.
- Puddles & Drainage – Rain pools in potholes and makes them look like puddles, causing riders to pass over them rather than avoid them. Also, poor drainage from a property can cause unexpected wet and slippery roads.
- Sand or gravel – Loose dirt and gravel particles can easily be blown onto the roadway, and don’t pose much threat in small drifts. However, a pile of gravel that accidentally fell off a truck, or a mound of dirt that was left by a construction crew, can have much more impact on a biker traveling over 50 miles per hour.
- Railroad crossings – There is a risk of tires getting stuck on a railway track. Some crossings with wood or metal between the tracks can become dangerous due to years of neglect.
Who is Responsible for a Road Hazard Accident?
State and local governments are typically responsible for maintaining the roadways. If a biker was injured after becoming stuck in a pothole, they may have a claim against the municipal body in charge of that stretch of road, especially if they were aware that the pothole existed and had not tried to fix it.
There are also times when construction companies are responsible for roadway maintenance. This could be the case when there is ongoing construction, and they need to re-route the roadway to accommodate their needs. If it can be shown that a construction company oversaw roadway maintenance at the time a pothole accident occurred, it may be possible to explore a personal injury lawsuit against the construction company directly.
If the rider skidded on a patch of sand in a construction area, they may be able to sue the construction company if there were no warning signs posted in the area, or if the pile had been allowed to pose a danger for several days.
Railroad companies are responsible for railroad crossings. If an injury was sustained due to a poorly maintained railroad crossing, the company that owns the tracks can be held responsible.
Have You Been Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you or somebody you care about has been injured on a motorcycle, call our experienced legal team. We’ll go over what caused your crash and discuss the legal options. Your compensation can be used to help pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional and physical injuries, and more.
The important thing to remember is that roadside hazards are not just another risk of riding a bike—they are a preventable cause of motorcycle accidents. You can get compensation when they cause serious injuries. Basch & Keegan is here to help at 845-338-8884.