Motorcycle Accident Lawyers in Roswell, New Mexico
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH AN EXPERIENCED ROSWELL MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT LAWYER
Motorcycles have become integrated into American culture, with almost 55,000 bikes registered in New Mexico alone. They are no longer just for the rebellious spirits. Environmentalists and those looking to save some money can also appreciate the higher gas mileage compared to other vehicles. However, motorcycle accidents can be particularly serious, and those who have been in an accident may want to speak with Roswell motorcycle accident lawyers to learn whether they can recover for such an accident. If you are the victim of a Roswell motorcycle accident, call a Roswell personal injury lawyer at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation and learn about your options with Zinda Law Group.
Roswell Motorcycle accident resources
New Mexico’s Motor Vehicle Division website includes its primary motorcycle helmet law as well as a link to a helpful brochure compiled by the New Mexico Department of Transportation Traffic Safety Bureau and the University of New Mexico School of Law.
The brochure contains New Mexico’s motorcycle laws, safety tips, registration information, and licensing information. The laws and safety tips can help show the level of care that the motorcyclist took and can help establish who was at fault for the accident.
If you were the motorcyclist and you can show that you followed all of the appropriate laws and guidelines, then you have evidence that you were not at fault. If the person who caused the accident that injured you was operating a motorcycle, these laws and guidelines might reveal where the motorcyclist went wrong. A Roswell lawyer can help you apply the facts of your case to New Mexico’s laws to show why you deserve to get compensated.
New Mexico Motorcycle laws
While we expect all motorists to follow traffic laws (stopping for a red light, driving at or below the speed limit, etc.), there are special rules for motorcyclists to ensure their safety and the safety of other drivers. The laws pertain to not only what motorcyclists must wear but also their mandatory qualifications.
A motorcyclist’s responsibility does not stop at the rules explicitly stated in New Mexico’s written law. There is also the common law of negligence that all motorists must follow.
Negligence is the legal theory upon which many victims of motorcycle accidents file their lawsuits. To prove negligence, the victim must show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that the defendant breached the duty of care, that the victim sustained a compensable injury, and that the defendant caused the victim’s injury. A victim can use evidence relating to New Mexico’s motorcycle laws and common safety procedures to show that the victim took the proper amount of care while driving and that the defendant did not.
Safety Gear for Riders
Speaking of duty, motorcyclists have a duty to adequately protect themselves and mitigate any damage from an accident. New Mexico has two laws regarding the gear that motorcyclists must wear while riding. First, if the person operating the motorcycle does not have a fixed windshield of the correct type, then he or she must wear some kind of eye protection—whether that is a helmet with a face shield, goggles, or safety eyeglasses. The eye protection or windshield must be regulation approved.
Second, motorcycle operators and passengers of the age 18 or younger must wear helmets. The helmet must be secured on the operator or passenger’s head correctly and must be of the type approved under the regulations. Further, no one may rent or lease a motorcycle to someone age 18 or younger unless that person can show the dealer that he or she has the appropriate protective gear.
Safety Gear for Motorcycles
Not only must the rider and passengers wear the correct safety gear, but the motorcycle itself must be properly equipped to protect those on the motorcycle and other vehicles. Motorcycles must have headlights that are positioned at a particular height and must have at least two brakes that can be operated by hand or foot.
Also, the motorcycle must be able to make a 90 degree turn in a circle with a radius of 14 feet. If there is evidence that the motorcycle cannot successfully complete such a maneuver, it is prima facie evidence that the motorcycle is unsafe to ride. A peace officer can request the operator of a motorcycle to make that maneuver to test the safety of the motorcycle.
Laws Regarding Passengers and Passenger Vehicles
There are also laws regarding the passengers on motorcycles. No one is allowed to ride anywhere on a motorcycle that is not a designated seat, and a passenger may not share a seat with the operator unless the seat was designed for two people. Everyone on the motorcycle must have his or her feet on footrests.
If a motorcyclist wishes to load a passenger vehicle with cargo and tow it with a motorcycle, the load cannot extend too far over the sides of the passenger vehicle.
No person is allowed to drive a motor vehicle, electric car, or moped on a highway unless that person has a valid license. However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. Importantly, the driver of an off-highway motorcycle does not have to be licensed.
This brochure also lists the age requirements for licensure and details the requirements and permissions regarding learner’s permits and provisional licenses as well as instructions for motorcycle driving education programs. New Mexico’s law states that “[f]irst-time applicants for a motorcycle license or an endorsement on their New Mexico driver’s license may be required to complete a motorcycle driver education program as prescribed by the rules and regulations of the bureau.” A motorcycle driver education program must instruct drivers on helmet use and effectiveness, motorcycle accident and fatality statistics, drug and alcohol abuse information, street and highway safe driving habits, and defensive driving.
Motorcyclists must also have the correct registration plates. People who have significant mobility limitations may have distinctive registration plates, aswell as people who are veterans of the armed forces. No one should have a distinctive registration plate without being approved for one.
Motorcycles are much smaller than cars and you may have seen some make maneuvers that would be unthinkable in a larger vehicle. Such maneuvers include lane sharing and lane splitting. Lane sharing occurs when two motorcycles ride side by side in a lane and is typically permitted. It is typically not permitted for motorcycles to share a lane with vehicles other than other motorcycles.
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist drives between two cars in adjacent lanes. Lane splitting is not permitted in New Mexico. Motorcyclists should strive to keep distance between themselves and other vehicles because they are not as visible as other vehicles, and lane splitting defeats this purpose. Lane splitting is allowed in California, however, because the pros of the time saved by motorists outweigh the cons of the unsafe conditions it brings about, and California has been allowing lane splitting for years.
How to avoid a motorcycle accident in NM
The brochure also briefly covers some safety tips to help motorcyclists avoid accidents. There are many steps that, though not explicitly required by law, can show that a motorcyclist exercised the appropriate amount of care or failed to exercise the appropriate amount of care. A motorcycle accident attorney can assess whether you or the other driver failed to exercise care.
Motorcyclists should do everything they can to increase their visibility since they are much smaller than cars and other motorists might therefore not see them or afford them the same amount of space as other vehicles. Motorcyclists seeking to increase their visibility should wear bright clothes, keep their headlights on even when the weather is sunny, always use their signals to indicate a lane change or turn, and flash their brake light before slowing down.
Motorcyclists driving at night are at an even higher risk of not being seen by other vehicles on the road. To make up for this, riders should drive slower than they would in the day to give other vehicles more time to see them and they should also leave more distance between themselves and other vehicles. When they can, motorcyclists should use their high beams, and when they are following a car, they can try to use the headlights of that car to see out in front of them.
Traffic Safety Tips
As motorcyclists gain experience and skill, they better understand how to look ahead to avoid harm. For example, riders can use different parts of the lane to drive around curves and avoid contact with cars in other lanes. Additionally, they can use their mirrors to keep track of the other vehicles around them and make sure traffic does not encroach on their space. They should hold their lane when they think other vehicles might try to split the lane with them in heavy traffic.
Furthermore, riders can get in the habit of scanning in front of themselves, to either side, and behind the motorcycle for potential hazards. Next, motorcyclists can identify hazards and potential conflicts, predicting how a vehicle will move if it is coming toward the rider or anticipating a passing car. The motorcyclist should then decide, when to react, where to go, and at what speed in response to the hazards the he or she has identified before executing a maneuver.
Motorcyclists should have skill and knowledge for handling varying road conditions such as rain, snow, or ice. They must also be able to cross uneven surfaces and railroad tracks. A rider who has mastered all of the information in this section could avoid collisions or minimize his or her injuries if he or she is in an accident.
Safety Before Riding
First, riders can make sure they are in compliance with New Mexico law by performing a series of checks on themselves. This means they have the proper eye protection and helmets for anyone on the motorcycle aged 18 or younger. While it is not illegal to wear clothing that is inappropriate for the weather on a given day, it is certainly helpful for the rider to dress in a way that avoids severe chill, fatigue, and exposure to hazards.
Airplane pilots run through a massive checklist to make sure the plane is in good condition before taking off for a flight. Motorists should similarly check their vehicles before hitting the road, but few do. Motorcyclists—who are at an increased risk of injury if they are in a collision—must take extra precautions compared to other motorists.
To avoid encountering mechanical problems on the road, riders should check air pressure in the tires, oil and fuel levels, and the clutch and throttle. To avoid encountering problems related to visibility, riders should check headlights and taillights, turn signals, brake lights, mirrors, brakes, and the horn.
Motorcyclists must also prepare in the event that they failed to perform a check and something malfunctioned on the motorcycle. Emergency scenarios the driver should know how to address include engine failure, tire failure, chain problems, wobbling front wheel and handlebars, and a stuck throttle.
While it may seem as though the expectations are higher for motorcyclists than they are for other motorists, motorcyclists take more of a risk by removing the barriers between them and the road. They do not have safety features like seatbelts and airbags to protect them, and as we discussed before, they are much less visible to other vehicles on the road.
Call Roswell motorcycle accident lawyers to evaluate your claim
If you are wondering whether or not to call an injury attorney, know that it is better to know the strength of your case before you make a decision about whether to file a lawsuit against the person who harmed you. You can call Zinda Law Group today for a free consultation with a motorcycle accident attorney at Zinda Law Group.
Victims of motorcycle accidents deserve to be heard and taken seriously. The Zinda Law Group Roswell motorcycle accident lawyers have helped victims like you recover after a motorcycle accident. Even if you ultimately decide against filing suit, you will not have to wonder “what if?” If you do decide to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your injury, our No Win, No Fee Guarantee is here for you. You do not pay us anything unless we win your case.
Put your case in the right hands. Call (800) 863-5312 to get connected to a Roswell personal injury attorney who wants to help you today.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.