FAQ: Motorcycle Accidents

According to the North Carolina Traffic Crash Facts Report, approximately 3,500 motorcycle accidents occurred in 2019, and 186 people died as a result. If you are a motorcyclist, it is important that you not only understand the relevant North Carolina law but also how to protect yourself in the event of an accident. Below are some frequently asked questions for motorcycle riders. If you have any further questions or have been involved in an accident, we can help. Contact one of the attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule your initial consultation.

What Are Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

Much like car accidents, a lot can go wrong on the road, especially if a driver is inexperienced or driving negligently. Some common causes of motorcycle accidents are:

  • Speeding
  • Unsafe or illegal lane changes
  • Lane Splitting
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Equipment defects
  • Sudden stops
  • Driver negligence
  • Distracted driving
What Are Common Injuries Caused by Motorcycle Accidents?

Motorcycle injuries can be catastrophic. Motorcycle riders do not have the added protection of being in a car, and these accidents can often turn deadly. Common injuries reported in motorcycle accidents are:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage
  • Road Rash
What is Lane Splitting, and is it Legal in North Carolina?

Lane splitting, sometimes called stripe riding, is where a cyclist rides between lanes of traffic and is not specifically prohibited in North Carolina. North Carolina statute does, however, specify that no more than two motorcycles can ride side by side in one lane.

How Can You Protect Yourself in the Event of an Accident?

It is important to be prepared in the event you are involved in a motorcycle accident. The best way to do this is to make sure you are following the laws of the road, carrying insurance, and wearing the proper protective gear. It is recommended that you wear:

  • goggles or some kind of face shield
  • boots
  • protective jacket, such as a leather jacket
  • thick pants
  • gloves
  • proper helmet

While it is extremely important to make sure you are protected physically, it is also important to make sure your rights are protected if you are involved in an accident. If you have been involved in an accident, call 911 immediately. If you are able, take photos of the scene and make sure to take down the information of the other driver and request a copy of the police report. If you have been injured, seek a medical evaluation and make sure all your injuries are documented. An attorney can help you make sure you have the necessary documentation to file an insurance claim and discuss any potential legal claims.

Important North Carolina Motorcycle Laws

To legally ride a motorcycle, you must have a regular, full provisional, or commercial driver’s license, as well as a motorcycle learner permit, or motorcycle endorsement.

North Carolina law requires that every rider wears a helmet with the chin strap securely fastened. The helmet must also comply with the necessary testing and labeling requirements.

Aside from the helmet requirement, the bike itself must include certain equipment such as:

  • visible license plate fastened to the bike
  • at least one working hand or foot brake
  • functioning turn signals
  • a horn that is loud enough to be heard 200 feet away
  • functioning speedometer
  • muffler
  • rearview mirror
  • working exhaust system

This is not a comprehensive list and you should consult the DMV directly if there are any questions about whether your motorcycle is street legal. If you have received a citation for improper equipment, it is important to consult with an attorney who can review the specifics of your case.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Motorcycle Claims?

Under North Carolina law, victims have three years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury lawsuit. This timeline makes it extremely important that you consult an attorney as soon as you can after an accident. As unfair as it may seem, if you do not file within the required timeframe, you could lose your right to compensation.

Contact Us Today

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident or have questions about the laws surrounding motorcycles on the road, we can help. The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, are here to answer any questions you may have about protecting yourself on the road. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

For your convenience and safety, we now offer phone and video conferencing. If you prefer an in-person consultation, we have three easy to reach locations in Uptown Charlotte, Monroe, and Mooresville. Contact us today at 704-370-2828 to learn how we can advocate for you.

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