There’s nothing like riding down a Nebraska highway, sun on your back, wind in your hair. Nebraska is a picturesque location for riding your bike. But while Nebraska is one of the safest states for bikers, every time you take your bike out you know that the reality is that not every biker will make it home. Traffic accidents happen every day. And these accidents often happen because of another driver’s negligence. When a driver’s negligence leads to death or personal injury from a motorcycle crash, the law allows you to pursue fair and just compensation.
Motorcycle Accidents in Nebraska
The majority of riders know the dangers that they face every time they hit the road and always exercise appropriate precautions. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for all passenger vehicle drivers.
Despite the frightening statistics regarding motorcycle accidents, other drivers continue to be reckless around bikes. Every day, motorcyclists die in collisions with passenger vehicles. In one recent year, 27 motorcycle fatalities took place in Nebraska, a huge leap from the previous year and the most fatalities since 1989. As a motorcycle owner, recognizing dangerous behavior and avoiding high-risk situations can protect you from drivers who break the law. Below, we’ll discuss some of the laws drivers frequently break and how those violations can lead to an accident.
Speeding is not a problem that is unique to motorcyclists or passenger vehicles. It’s a problem that affects all drivers. According to the Nebraska Department of Transportation, speeding contributed to 516 accidents resulting in injuries in 2017. Of these injuries, 17 led to fatalities. Speeding is dangerous because it increases a driver’s stopping distance and reduces the time they have to react. For motorcyclists, this is especially dangerous.
Motorcycles are much smaller than the average passenger vehicle. Because of this, they can be difficult to see from a distance. By the time a driver realizes that there is a motorcycle in front of them, it may already be too late. Speeding also poses a problem for bikes attempting to merge into traffic.
Following Too Closely
As a driver, one of the first things you are taught is to allow enough space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Unfortunately, this is a rule that drivers seem to consistently ignore. In 2018, the Nebraska Department of Transportation reported 36,117 traffic accidents. More than 13 percent were caused by one of the drivers following too closely. That’s an absurd number. When a driver follows too closely, they severely reduce their reaction time.
So why do drivers do it? Drivers follow too closely because they are in a hurry, they’re frustrated in traffic, or worse, they’re just venting their road rage. Regardless of the reason, drivers often misjudge the amount of space they should leave between their car and a motorcycle. Ironically, many drivers get too close thinking they have more room since the bike is so small. In actuality, drivers should leave more room, given how vulnerable bikers are in any sort of collision with a passenger vehicle.
Failing to Yield the Right of Way
Laws exist for a reason. Without rules governing when you can go through an intersection, when you must stop, and who has the right of way, the roads would be complete and utter chaos. When it comes to traffic laws, failing to yield the right of way is one of the most dangerous types of traffic violations.
As drivers, we expect our fellow drivers to follow the law. We proceed through an intersection assuming the other driver will stop, and we travel down the highway knowing that the merging traffic does not have the right of way. Failure to yield accidents typically happen at intersections. They happen when a driver doesn’t stop at a stop sign or when they run a red light.
These accidents can also happen on the freeway when a merging driver attempts to cut in front of you instead of waiting to have enough room to merge. A motorcycle is no match for a passenger vehicle. When a car or truck cuts in front of a bike, the likelihood is high that the bike will be dragged under the vehicle.
Believe it or not, this type of accident happens far more often than speeding or following too closely. In one recent year, failure to yield the right of way was the leading cause of accidents in Nebraska, accounting as the primary factor in more than 16 percent of all accidents.
In Nebraska, it’s illegal to drive while using a mobile device. But the law does not stop drivers from pulling out their phones while driving. A recent report shows that distracted driving accidents have increased by almost 20 percent over the past decade. As a motorcyclist, this is a scary statistic. When you ride a bike, there’s the very real chance that another driver simply will not see you. This comes with driving something substantially smaller than the other vehicles on the road.
But most drivers will see you if they are paying attention. Motorcycles may be harder to see, but they are not invisible. But when a driver takes their eyes off the road to look at their phone, they may miss you coming up on their side or driving through an intersection. It’s a sad reality, but as a biker, you have to account for drivers who just aren’t paying attention.
There’s No Excuse for Breaking the Law
Why do drivers break the law? For many, they know that there’s a chance they’ll be caught, but what’s the worst that can happen? A ticket? Most drivers don’t think of the damage they can cause by going just over the speed limit or checking one quick text. As a motorcyclist, this is the sad reality you face. If you are in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s your right to hold the other party accountable. There is no excuse for causing personal injury or death. If you or a loved one has been in a motorcycle accident, you deserve justice. To learn more, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.