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New Mexican motorcyclists: proceed with caution

With summer approaching, New Mexicans, and visitors to the Land of Enchantment who love their motorcycles, will hit the roads in high numbers. Who can blame them? Our state offers natural beauty of such variety and when you explore it on a motorcycle, the wind and sunshine add another dimension to the experience.

Motorcycle-accident liability

Unfortunately, some drivers of larger motor vehicles like cars, vans, SUVs, pickups and even larger vehicles do not drive with motorcycle safety in mind. When a driver negligently or recklessly causes an accident involving a motorcyclist, the driver of the larger vehicle is liable in a personal injury lawsuit under state law for the resulting injuries and property damage of the person on the motorcycle.

Should a crash result in the death of the motorcyclist, his or her surviving loved ones should speak with an attorney about whether a wrongful death claim is an option.

Defensive motorcycle operation

It behooves motorcyclists to take all possible precautions to remain safe. For example, even though state law only requires helmet use for motorcycle drivers and passengers under age 18, consider wearing a helmet no matter your age to help prevent brain damage in a crash.

In addition, keep your bike well maintained; follow the rules of the road; wear protective body gear; do not follow vehicles closely; and do not ride your motorcycle after drinking alcohol. Still, even the most careful motorcyclist is at the mercy of the driving behavior of the operator of a larger motor vehicle in a collision.

By the numbers

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA publishes detailed statistics about motor-vehicle accidents nationally. Just last month, the agency released an updated publication about federal and state motorcycle-accident data from 2015. For example:

•· New Mexican motorcycle riders killed in 2015: 36.

•· Of those 36 who died, half were known to have been wearing helmets.

•· Nationally, in 2015 almost 5,000 motorcycle riders died, an eight percent rise from the year before.

•· U.S. motorcycle-rider fatalities were almost 29 times the number of car-passenger deaths in motor-vehicle accidents.

Seek legal counsel

Any motorcycle driver or passenger injured in a motor-vehicle accident should speak with a lawyer about potential legal remedies.

We at Giddens & Gatton Law,amp; P.C., regularly represent the victims of negligence and recklessness on the roads that harm motorcyclists.

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