The merging or lane-change accident is one of the many types of traffic accidents that occur on Alabama roadways. These crashes happen when one vehicle attempts to merge or change lines and ends up crashing into another vehicle.
Such an accident can involve a car forcing a motorcycle rider off the road. This can result in serious injuries or even death for the motorcyclist.
Merging motorists put motorcycle riders in a very dangerous position. They may not see the motorcycle when they check their mirrors because of the motorcycle’s relatively small size. This can cause the driver to swerve in front of a motorcyclist.
Motorcycles don’t have the safety features that cars do. They don’t have airbags, seatbelts and doors, which leaves riders more vulnerable to severe injury.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident caused by a negligent car driver, you may be entitled to compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you will need to prove that the motorist was at fault and responsible for your losses.
Laws on Merging with Motorcycles in Huntsville
Laws in Alabama govern which driver has the right to go first on Alabama roadways. The right-of-way laws are in place to protect drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians, and anyone else who shares the road.
Failing to yield right-of-way can cause crashes. These accidents sometimes feature a motorcyclist who is obeying traffic laws getting run into or forced off the road by a merging motorist who failed to yield.
Often, the right of way is indicated by yield signs. Under Alabama law (Ala. Code § 32-5A-114), when a driver is entering highway traffic on an on-ramp that driver should yield to the freeway traffic before merging. This statute sets the rules for when to yield, even if no yield sign is present.
Sometimes with these merging accident cases, it’s not clear at first which driver was at fault. The determination of who was at fault can be complicated, and this is all the more reason why you need the help of a lawyer. By looking at the various laws in the context of and individual accident, an attorney can help you to determine if you or the other driver are at fault in a merging accident. An attorney can launch an investigation and collect evidence that shows liability.
If a car driver fails to yield the right of way and collides with a motorcycle, they are most likely going to be considered negligent. When the Huntsville personal injury attorney at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., bring a case to trial, they will demonstrate how the negligent car driver’s failure to yield caused the motorcyclist’s injuries and damages. In some cases, the judge or jury must determine who was at fault.
How to Keep Huntsville Motorcyclists Safe on the Road
Below are some tips to keep in mind when merging onto a highway or interstate with motorcycles:
- Always yield to motorcyclists already on the highway. Don’t stop (unless you absolutely have to) while merging onto the highway.
- Adjust your speed before merging onto the highway to match the flow of traffic.
- Cross one lane of traffic at a time.
- Be sure to use your turn signal when changing lanes
- Don’t merge until the solid line ends.
- Look before merging.
- Check your blind spot when merging. Be especially careful with motorcycles as they are smaller and harder to see in your mirrors.
- Remember that motorcycles react more quickly than cars. Allow adequate following distance to avoid rear-ending a motorcycle.
- Pass motorcycles on the left side only.
- Offer more space to motorcyclists. Motorcycles are likely much closer than they may appear.
- Adjust your speed when merging under adverse weather conditions, and adjust your speed according to the design of the ramp. Bad weather affects motorcyclists more severely than automobile drivers.
- Put down your phone whenever you are driving, especially when merging. Texting and driving is not only illegal, it’s very dangerous
It’s best to assume that the motorcycle closest to your vehicle cannot see you. Being an attentive and defensive driver will help you to avoid merging accidents. Make sure every time you merge, you do it safely and with great caution.
The following are some helpful tips for motorcyclists to help them avoid an accident and minimize injuries:
- Wear appropriate gear. Wearing a helmet is the best thing you can do to reduce the chance of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or catastrophic injury. Be sure to wear gear that does not hinder your ability to operate your motorcycle. If you are riding on a hot summer day, for example, wear clothing that is breathable and reflects the sun.
- Be visible. Wear reflective clothing so other motorists can see you. Wearing bright-colored clothes and a bright-colored helmet can also make you more visible.
- Ride defensively. Be prepared to yield to cars, trucks, and other larger vehicles, even if you have the right-of-way. Never tailgate. Allow enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you, so that you have time to stop suddenly if you have to.
Contact Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., for Help Now
An experienced Huntsville personal injury lawyer can handle your motorcycle accident at every stage of the process, from the initial investigation after the accident to taking your case to trial if necessary. At Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., our Huntsville motorcycle accident attorneys understand what needs to happen to protect your rights and prevent the insurance companies from getting away with an unfair settlement.
Our investigation may involve interviewing witnesses and other parties, as well as gathering evidence from the scene of the accident and working with reconstruction and medical experts. The insurance company or the driver who collided with your motorcycle may try to blame you for your accident. We at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C., will stand up for your rights and build a solid case that shows the other driver was at fault.
If you are looking for a highly skilled lawyer who has helped many motorcycle accident victims, choose the compassionate and knowledgeable Huntsville motorcycle accident attorneys at Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. We’ve been helping people who have been seriously injured in Huntsville and North Alabama get justice since 1966.
You can have our attorneys explain all of your legal options as soon as you schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling us or contacting us online now.