It is not uncommon to hear someone say they are putting their life in someone else’s hands. Most never consider that when they choose to ride as a passenger on a motorcycle, that is exactly what they may be doing. As wonderful a feeling as riding a bike on the open road brings, there is no denying it is not the safest mode of transportation to be found.
Due to their inherent instability, lack of protective barriers and the difficulty that others have in seeing them, motorcycles are naturally more prone to being involved in accidents, and the accidents generally result in more severe injuries or deaths. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Information Institute, you are 29 times more likely to be killed while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle than while riding in a four-wheeled vehicle, and five times as likely to suffer a serious injury in a crash.
As a passenger, you are simply along for the ride, and the only things ensuring your safety are the attentiveness and safe riding habits of the person actually in control of the bike. You are completely dependent on them for your safety.
Just as with the driver of a car, a motorcyclist is responsible for the safety of their passengers. They are legally obligated to ride in a manner that does not expose the person riding with them to danger or place them at undue risk. This includes maintaining the motorcycle in safe riding condition, including brakes, tires, lights and turn signals if the bike is so equipped.
Just like a passenger in or on any other vehicle, you have right to not be exposed to unnecessary risks by the driver. A biker that behaves in a careless, negligent or reckless manner is literally putting your life at risk.
If you are a passenger on a motorcycle and involved in an accident where another vehicle is at fault, you or your estate have the right to recover damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of potential income, funeral expenses and loss of companionship that any other person would have under the law.
Since Florida law recognizes the concept of shared liability in lawsuits, this means that if the driver of the motorcycle contributed to the accident, they would be guilty of contributory negligence and also liable for a portion of any damages you or your survivors may be due.
Even in cases where no other vehicles were involved, if you or your loved ones can show that the person in control of the bike was behaving in an unreasonable way, they, their estate or their insurance can be held liable for any compensation you are entitled to.
I take great pride in my work as a personal injury attorney in the state of Florida. One of the things that I often find shocking is how little the average person knows about their rights under the law. I know that for every person I am able to help, there are many who suffer hardships needlessly simply because they don’t realize what protections the law provides for them. That is why we publish pieces like this.
If you have any questions about this or any other area of personal injury law, feel free to contact us today for a free consultation. We are always there to help. I’m Brad Sinclair of Sinclair Law: where we go the extra mile for you.