Springtime in South Dakota begins the motorcycle riding season.  Unfortunately, with the increase in riding comes accidents that injure riders and passengers.  The South Dakota Department of Public Safety reported that motorcycles account for 7.6% of the motor vehicles registered in South Dakota yet represent 17.5% of the total deaths in accidents and 2.6% of accidents on South Dakota roadways.  The most common injury in motorcycle accident occurs to the rider or passenger’s legs, ankles and feet.  This is followed closely by upper extremity and head injuries in frequency.

So what should you do if you are involved in a collision while riding?

The first thing to do is make sure you are okay.  After, call emergency services and check on your passenger and the other driver.  It’s important to get checked out immediately either by emergency medical personnel or by a doctor.   This may seem rather obvious.  But, following an accident adrenaline starts flowing which may cause you to ignore an otherwise serious injury. 

After making sure everyone is okay, take out your cell phone and get as many photos of the vehicles and scene as possible.  If you are injured, you should photograph your injuries also.  These photos are very useful for any investigating agency.  They also are very important if you make an insurance claim for your injuries.  Remember the saying – a picture is worth a thousand words.

When it is safe, clear the roadway.  The vehicles involved in the collision should be moved off the road to an area which out of the way of the traveling public.  Sometimes this is not possible particularly if you are injured and your motorcycle is on its side.  If moving your motorcycle is not an option, move to a safe area to wait for emergency services.

Upon arrival of emergency service, never admit guilt or fault.  After being involved in a motorcycle accident you probably are not in a great state of mind or may even have suffered a head injury.  Either way, you probably are not in any condition to analyze the cause of your collision.  Leave that for law enforcement.  When you are able, you can provide a statement to law enforcement.

I have ridden motorcycles for years and unfortunately I have been involved in a few accidents.  Each accident was caused by a motorist who just did not see me.  If there is one thing I’ve learned is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

Avoiding an accident starts even before you start riding.  Before starting out, I make sure that my motorcycle is in good working condition.  Make sure to check the tires, turn signals and lights.  As a rider, you also have to be in good condition.  Obviously, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never permissible.  Beyond that, a rider should make sure he or she is fit enough for the ride.  This includes being well rested and feeling well.  It’s important to eliminate those things which prevent you from maintaining your focus on the road. 

If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, we at ALVINE|WEIDENAAR, LLP, can help you.  We know that your motorcycle accident case is unique.  We also know the special circumstances that come with a motorcycle accident.  We know because we ride.

By Bram Weidenaar, J.D.
ALVINE WEIDENAAR LLC