Motorcycle accidents are often more severe than motor vehicle accidents because they reach higher speeds and provide less protection. Common causes of motorcycle accidents include:

  • Head-on collisions: Also known as frontal crashes, these types of automobile collisions can cause considerably serious injury and vehicle damage because of the nature of the impact, in which both drivers are facing each other head-on and are close to the impact site, often resulting in fatalities;
  • Left turn accidents: Left turn accidents occur when one vehicle is attempting to make a left turn and hits another vehicle that is traveling straight;
  • Lane splitting: This is a type of road maneuver that is mostly associated with motorcycles. It involves the motorcyclist riding in between lanes of vehicles, typically in order to cut through traffic by passing in between the slower vehicles;
  • Speeding and DUI: As with any vehicle, motorcyclists are not permitted to speed, nor may they drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When a motorcyclist is in an accident that involved speeding, a fatality is more likely to occur than when two other types of vehicles are involved in a similar accident; and
  • Road hazards: Motorcycle accidents that are caused by objects in the road, uneven lanes, or potholes are more likely to occur than when another type of vehicle encounters the same road hazards.

Do I Have to Wear a Helmet When I Ride a Motorcycle or Bike?

Whether or not an individual is required to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle or bicycle will depend on the laws of the state. There are currently 19 states that have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear a motorcycle helmet when riding.

These laws are referred to as universal laws. There are other states that only require certain motorcyclists to wear a helmet, which is usually based on the age of the rider.

These laws are referred to as partial helmet requirement laws. They usually apply to drivers who are under either 18 or 21 years of age.

These laws may also apply to individuals who have only held a motorcycle driver’s license for a limited period of time, often less than 2 years. There are only 3 states that do not have any motorcycle helmet laws in place.

In general, only individuals who have their motorcycle driver permit are required to wear helmets. There are some states that also require passengers to wear a helmet.

In some states, drivers who are underinsured are also required to wear a helmet. In many cases, a helmet must be a model which is approved by the Department of Transportation in the state.

This may require the helmet to have specific safety features that may be missing from a non-approved helmet. If an individual’s state requires them to wear a helmet, they should follow these laws at all costs.

If an individual does not follow these laws, it may considerably reduce their ability to recover damages in the event they are involved in a motorcycle accident. It is important to note that even if the state does not require the use of a helmet, a motorcycle driver or rider should wear one for their own safety.

What are Trick Riding Laws?

Motorcycle laws may be different from passenger vehicle law. For example, they may require the driver to wear a helmet and not engage in lane splitting.

The laws that govern trick riding is another area of motorcycle law drivers must follow.

What is Trick Riding?

Trick riding, which is also referred to as stunt riding, refers to a motorcycle driver performing acrobatic maneuvers while operating their motorcycle. Common examples of stunt riding maneuvers include:

  • Stoppies;
  • Wheelies; and
  • Burnouts.

What are Stunt Riding Laws?

Stunt riding laws dictate what types of trick riding are illegal. These laws vary by state.

For example, the state law in Maine prohibits operating motorcycles without both wheels on the road. However, the law does not expressly outlaw standing on the seat while operating the motorcycle.

What is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving is a term that is used to describe driving behavior which is dangerous or disregards safety and road laws. Examples of conduct that may be considered aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding;
  • Following too closely to another motor vehicle, known as tailgating;
  • Failing to make complete stops or making rolling stops;
  • Cutting other drivers off;
  • Engaging in offensive behavior with other drivers, for example:
    • yelling;
    • excessive honking of the horn;
    • rude gestures;
  • Stopping suddenly in front of another driver; and
  • Driving recklessly.

In many cases, aggressive driving may stem from road rage or a confrontation between drivers in traffic. Provoking another driver may also cause them to become an aggressive driver.

Can I be Charged with Aggressive Driving When Trick Riding?

Yes, an individual can be charged with aggressive driving when trick riding because many trick riding activities exhibit behaviors that are classified as this type of driving. Aggressive driving occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle dangerously.

An aggressive driver shows a disregard for safety and road laws. These drivers, if convicted, may face:

  • Criminal charges;
  • Probation; or
  • A suspended sentence.

What Does Driving Recklessly Mean?

When an individual is facing a charge of driving recklessly, or reckless driving, it means that the driver was operating their motor vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of other individuals as well as a willful disregard of the relevant consequences.

Reckless driving is considered a traffic offense which may or may not cause damage to property or automobile accidents. It is often associated with similarly related driving offenses, including:

  • DUI/DWI, or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Street racing; and
  • Driving with serious disregard for traffic laws.

A driver is driving recklessly when they are negligent in maintaining reasonable control of their vehicle. A driver’s actions, however, which amount to mere negligence and do not reach the level of willful or wanton disregard for the safety or consequences associated with the operation of their vehicle will not be sufficient to establish reckless driving.

Can I be Charged with Driving Recklessly?

Yes, a motorcycle operator may be charged with driving recklessly, or reckless driving, as it is a type of moving traffic violation. As noted above, this occurs when a driver shows a willful, wanton disregard for public safety.

This type of traffic violation may result in fines and possible jail time.

Can I be Charged with More than Breaking Stunt Riding Laws?

Yes, depending on the circumstances of the case, a motorcyclist may be charged with more serious criminal offenses in addition to breaking stunt riding laws. For example, a motorcyclist may be charged with vehicular homicide if an individual dies as a result of the tricks performed on a motorcycle while riding on public streets.

What if I have been Involved in a Motorcycle Accident or Crash?

If an individual has been involved in a motorcycle accident or crash, they should report the incident to law enforcement, even if that accident occurred as a result of their trick riding. Law enforcement can make a report of the incident.

This report may be used as evidence in court in the event that a lawsuit is filed. An individual should also seek medical attention immediately, as a delay may complicate the circumstances.

Do I Need to Contact a Criminal Attorney about Trick Riding?

Depending upon the jurisdiction, the punishments for trick riding may range from traffic violations to incarceration. If you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to trick riding and the possible punishments, it may be helpful to consult with a traffic violation attorney.

Your attorney will explain the laws in your state. If you have been charged with a traffic offense or crime, your attorney will provide legal representation to help you avoid the most severe punishment.