As spring approaches, many Massachusetts residents are relieved to be free from the below-zero temperatures that grip the state each winter. It is important to note, however, that warmer weather also marks the beginning of motorcycle season.
Unfortunately, the increased presence of motorcycles on roads means that motorcycle accidents will become more common. On April 14 alone, three motorcyclists and one car driver were taken to the hospital after two motorcycle crashes on Route 213 in Methuen. This comes a little over a week after a 24-year-old Taunton motorcyclist was killed after crashing into a turning car.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there were 45 motorcycle crash fatalities in Massachusetts in 2017, which marked a 7.1 percent increase from 2016. In the same one year timespan, a majority of the states saw a decline in the number of motorcyclist fatalities. There was also a national decrease of 8.6 percent, with 5,251 deaths in 2016 decreasing to 4,798 in 2017.
There are over 160,000 registered motorcycles in Massachusetts, making it critical that both vehicle drivers and motorcyclists drive safely to minimize the risk of crashing. A number of risky driving behaviors make accidents more likely to occur:
- “Lane splitting” – an illegal behavior that consists of motorcyclists driving between lanes or along the shoulder to avoid waiting in traffic.
- Failing to see a motorcycle before turning/changing lanes.
- Failing to yield the right away.
- Not obeying traffic laws.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Massachusetts is a comparative negligence state, which means that a driver can be barred from recovering damages if a court finds them more than 50% at fault for an accident. Because of this, it is important to reach out to an experienced attorney to maximize your chances of being compensated.
If you have been involved in an accident with a motorcycle, call the experienced attorneys at Sweeney Merrigan Law today at (619) 391-6001 to discuss your legal options.
A partner at Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP in Boston, J. Tucker Merrigan represents individual clients throughout all of Massachusetts and the United States—concentrating his practice on cases that involve personal injury, defective medical devices, dangerous drugs, wrongful death, premises liability, products liability, medical malpractice, and insurance law. Known for strong client relationships and positive results, Merrigan has been named a Top 40 Under 40 Trial Attorney by National Trial Lawyers from 2015-2018 and named Super Lawyer Rising Star for 2018.