Articles Posted in Motorcycle Accidents

Drive safe. It’s a familiar saying. Car accidents rack up a lot of costs, either monetary or emotional.  Too often, it costs lives, too.

What leads to crashes? In an interview with Bethesda Magazine, Detective Cpl. David Cohen said, “…in 99.9 percent of our cases, the fatal collision could have been prevented if someone had just done something differently.” To consider them accidents, according to the Detective, is to suggest there was nothing that could have been done to prevent it. We can always take precautions to protect our own lives and property, and those of our neighbors.

When a fatal crash occurs, county collision detectives get involved.  It is their task to study the scene of the collision and analyze the factors that went into it. With calculations, simulation, and long hours, detectives gain an understanding of the crash and determine who was at fault, and if that fault is of a criminal nature. Often, investigations do not end with criminal charges being pressed, but not for the reason you might think. In about 60% of the investigated collisions, the perpetrator died in the crash.

It has been two years since the accident on the Beltway severed your left leg. Thankfully, your body was forced out of the way, so only your leg was crushed between your motorcycle and the highway barrier. However, even though the amputation site has completely healed, you still get periodic bouts of severe pain that lead to heart palpitations, cold sweats, and chest pain. You have an appointment next week to see a doctor at George Washington U, but you’re extremely nervous about the outcome.

Could a two-year-old motorcycle injury still cause medical complications?

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If you’re one of the millions of motorcyclists registered in the U.S, you may have experienced some sort of injury along the way. In most cases, these injuries are very minor, and may include scrapes or bruises while you learned to ride a bike, or minor abrasions from flying stones or other debris. No matter whether you choose to ride a motorcycle for leisure, sport, or even just preference, the risks are still the same. Riding on an open vehicle that leaves your body completely exposed to the elements puts you in a vulnerable place if you’re ever involved in a motorcycle accident.

So, for those of you in Maryland who opt for the feel of the open road, here are a few safety tips you may, or may not, know to help reduce your risk of injury due to a motorcycle accident.

  • Take a motorcycle safety class. Much like drivers’ ed., this prep course can help you understand the basic safety recommendations, motorcycle laws, and maneuverability skills necessary to properly ride a bike.
  • Don’t drive your bike in hazardous weather. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you may be surprised how often this happens. Keep in mind that if weather limits your visibility of other drivers, than their visibility of you is limited, too!
  • Be aware of vehicles following you. Did you know that it takes motor vehicles longer to stop than motorcycles? If a car is following you closely, and you have to stop suddenly, the driver behind you may not have enough time to stop without crashing into you.
  • Keep your motorcycle well maintained. Standard tune-ups can catch potential problems before they cause serious accidents.
  • Wearing protective gear is always a smart plan. A helmet can help protect your head from serious trauma in an accident, but the riders’ jackets, boots, and gloves are not just fashion accessories in the biker community. They protect your arms, hands, legs, and torso from the elements, flying debris, and the pavement.

At Lewis & Tompkins, we’ve seen too many people suffer serious—and senseless—injuries in motorcycle accidents. We hope that you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself every time you jump on your bike for a trip. However, if you are ever injured in a motorcycle accident, we’re here to help. Call Lewis & Tompkins today to speak with one of our skilled attorneys about your case.

The national insurance group, Allstate, recently released its 2013 report on the Safest Cities in the U.S. to drive in. The statistics reviewed the nation’s 200 largest cities by population, and compared the frequency, number, and type of accidents per capita. What did they find out? Washington, D.C. is last on the list. And, this wasn’t the first time that D.C. has been found at the bottom. In fact, over the last few years, our nation’s capital has filled that bottom position.

With more than 630,000 residents in D.C, the facts show that if you live here you are 109.3% more likely to get into a traffic accident, as compared to the national average. What does this mean simply? Statistically, you will be in a traffic accident every 4.8 years. Compare this to Milwaukee, a city relatively the same size in population, where drivers will go, on average 11.3 years between accidents. Incidentally, Milwaukee ranks 23rd on the list of cities evaluated.

So, since motorists, including those in automobiles and those on motorcycles, have a greater likelihood of getting into an accident statistically, what can you do to be prepared?

For motorcyclists, there is a certain outward image that riders often try to portray to others around them. However, one of the most overlooked, but extremely important aspects of motorcycle safety is wearing proper safety gear. These items may seem bulky, uncomfortable, or cumbersome, but they are a crucial aspect of protection if you’re ever involved in a Virginia motorcycle accident. Wearing these items could be the only protection that your body has if you’re thrown from your bike.

Protect yourself while you’re on your motorcycle. Your gear matters!

  • Helmet Studies show that motorcycle helmets help reduce the risk of serious head, brain, and neck injuries in the event of a motorcycle accident. In many cases, riders are thrown off of the motorcycle, and a helmet helps protect a rider’s head if this happens.
  • Leather motorcycle jacket – Not only does a well-made leather motorcycle jacket protect riders against windburn, flying stones, or debris, it can also help guard against abrasion injuries during an accident
  • Ear protection – loud engine noise and wind can cause permanent hearing problems or even total hearing loss.
  • Jeans/Riding pants – An essential part of riding gear, motorcycle pants offer lower body protection against flying objects and skidding across the pavement.
  • Boots – The proper boots can not only offer you foot, ankle, and shin protection.

If you are ever involved in a motorcycle accident in Virginia, it’s important to know that your attire isn’t the only form of protection you may have. Although your gear is very important, your legal rights also deserve protection.

If another individual is responsible for your accident, they must be held accountable. Call Lewis & Tompkins, P.C., today at 202-296-0666 to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation and learn your legal rights.

News headlines over the recent motorcycle “mob” case in New York City in late September have sparked nationwide discussion on the safety of motorcycle group rides, motorist safety, and ways to prevent tragic motorcycle accidents from happening. However, at Lewis & Tompkins, we know that with a little bit of preparation, any group motorcycle ride can be a safe, enjoyable experience for everyone, including other motorists on the road. Your ride doesn’t have to end in a D.C. metro area motorcycle accident.

  • Plan your strategy. This can help reduce the chance of a D.C. motorcycle accident happening. Discuss stopping locations, daily travel distances, and what to do if the group gets separated.
  • Decide a group riding order. Choose front (lead) and rear (sweep) riders based on experience level. The lead rider is responsible for communication within the group, while the sweep sets the pace from the rear. The least experienced riders should be riding directly behind the lead. One National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study suggested that riding in motorcycle groups of ten or less is safest.
  • Stagger your riding formation. Don’t ride side-by-side, as this limits maneuverability. Go single file when road conditions warrant. Riding in large, unorganized clusters can be dangerous for both riders and motorists needing to merge lanes, navigate busy roadways, and react to unforeseen hazards.
  • Pass in formation. This means, when passing, always pass in the order in which your group is riding, and then return be sure to return to your place in the formation.
  • Don’t be a show-off on a bike. Each rider is a part of the whole group. Taking a group road trip is not a competition. Don’t tailgate other riders or motorists, avoid excessive passing, and stay away from wild riding. This can be intimidating and distracting to less-experienced riders and to other motorists on the road.

If you’ve been injured in a Washington, D.C., motorcycle accident, whether it was caused by another biker or by a motorist in a vehicle, you may be entitled to compensation. At Lewis & Tompkins, we believe that every victim deserves justice when their lives have been changed due to another’s negligence. Contact our D.C. law office today to schedule your free case evaluation.

Is there a formula to knowing whether or not you will be involved in a Washington, D.C. area motorcycle accident? The European military believes that there is.

The use of motorcycles in the military is fairly common. These fast, tough machines are fairly economical to operate, and are able to perform a diverse array of duties. The military branches of the United States are very strict with motorcycle usage on-duty, and often offer safety resources to their members that use motorcycles in their everyday lives as well. Risk management on- and off-duty is rightfully a primary concern, which has helped military members stay safe on the roads for many years.

In Europe, the military tries to be even more proactive by assessing certain qualities about each candidate that may dictate his or her risk for being in an accident. This risk assessment is full of important criteria that may even be able to help motorcyclists in the District area keep themselves safer.

Here are a few things to ask yourself to see if you are at risk for a D.C., Maryland, or Virginia motorcycle accident:

  • What is your motorcycle’s power to weight ratio? Light, very powerful bikes—like high performance sport bikes—make up a large percentage of fatal accidents.
  • What safety equipment do you use? Do you throw on your helmet and ride with whatever clothes you are wearing, or do you take care to wear protective and reflective outwear?
  • What is your riding experience? If you are young or new to motorcycling, you are likely at a higher risk for a D.C. motorcycle accident.
  • What is your recent driving record? If you are often ticketed in your car, you may ride like you drive.

While there is no tried and true method for knowing if you will be in an accident or not, this assessment can help you to be aware of your possible strengths or short comings. For the accidents that occur when you least expect it, our experienced Maryland motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to help you recover your damages. Call us today at 202-296-0666 for a free consultation.

By now, most of us know that motorcycles—while offering many great benefits—can be incredibly dangerous. The dangers are really threefold, and no matter how experienced and skilled a motorcyclist you are, you will always be competing with at least two of the dangers.

The first is the physical nature of the bike itself—small and exposed, it does not offer much protection from larger vehicles on the road. The second danger, which usually affects less experienced riders, is the rider. Not understanding the limits of their motorcycle or their skill, “young” riders are more prone to accidents. The third danger is other drivers on the road, and no matter your skill level, these drivers will always pose a problem.

So with these three dangers in mind, it is no wonder that one type of motorcycle in particular contributes to a large portion of D.C. area motorcycle accidents, as well as motorcycle crashes across the country. High performance bikes, including sport and supersport motorcycles, are lightweight and very high-powered. These motorcycles are capable of very high speeds, and typically attract younger riders under the age of 35.

On the evening of Wednesday, July 10, a crash involving a motorcycle and a car in Hartford County injured Mike Hopkins, the executive director of the Maryland Racing Commission. Hopkins, who was riding his 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle, was heading northbound on Route 1 when he struck a 2011 Chevrolet Cruz just north of the Route 136 intersection.

The Chevy Cruz, which was driven by a woman who has yet to be identified, had pulled out of Hartford Tire and failed to yield to Hopkins. Hopkins’s was thrown from the motorcycle as it collided with the Cruz, and the driver of the Cruz rolled into the opposite curb after losing consciousness.

The driver of the Chevrolet was transported to Upper Chesapeake Hospital, while Hopkins was airlifted to the University of Maryland’s Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He underwent two surgeries for a broken pelvis, a broken clavicle, and five broken ribs. The accident remains under investigation, but Hopkins insists that he is healing well.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists converged on Washington, D.C. to participate in the Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom event.

Rolling Thunder, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to veterans’ rights and bringing accountability for all Prisoners of War/Missing in Action, has held 26 annual demonstrations that begin at the Pentagon and end at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, bringing independent riders and local Rolling Thunder chapters from across the country. The demonstration requires all riders to wear a helmet.

On Thursday, May 23, several motorcyclists were injured on their way to the Washington, D.C. event in Indiana in two separate accidents on Interstate 65. The first accident occurred when a truck slowed suddenly, causing four motorcyclists to perform an evasive maneuver and slide onto their bikes’ sides on the side of the road. Four of the motorcyclists and passengers involved were brought to the hospital with minor injuries. Another accident on I-65 involved two motorcycles and a car, but no one was hospitalized.