The violation of a statute alone may be sufficient evidence to sustain
a claim for negligence. It might not be enough to obtain a favorable jury
verdict, however, because there still must be a showing that the violation
was the cause of the victim’s injuries. Nonetheless,
experienced Poughkeepsie motorcycle accident attorneys advise motorcyclists to be aware of vehicle and traffic laws that, if
violated, can give rise to the rider’s liability to anyone injured
in an accident.
For instance, under
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 123, a motorcycle is defined as being any motor vehicle that has three or
fewer wheels in contact with the ground, with the exclusion of tractors.
The motorcycle might only be powerful enough to go 20, 30, or 40 miles
per hour, but nonetheless, the vehicle is still a motorcycle. Additionally,
ATVs have been held to fit within the legal definition of a motorcycle.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 381 (1)(a, b, and c), all motorcycles are required to have one functioning stop lamp, one lighted
front lamp (two if the motorcycle has a sidecar), and one rear lamp. These
lights must be engaged from dusk until dawn. Moreover, the license plate
must be illuminated. Additionally, the front lights must be visible to
a distance of at least 200 feet in front of the motorcycle. The light
illuminating the license plate must be sufficient to allow the numerals
to be read from a distance of at least 50 feet.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 381(2), the aforementioned lights must be a type of lamp approved by the Commissioner
of Motor Vehicles. Moreover, the lamp must be situated on the bike in
accordance with its specifications. This includes the requirement that
the light is firmly attached to the motorcycle. Lastly, the lamps, and
the reflectors contained therein must meet the commissioner’s approval,
and must not be dented, rusted, or the like.
Both subdivisions of Section 381 relate to safety because it permits a
motorcyclist to be seen at night or dusk when visibility is difficult.
This is particularly important because motorcycles are already difficult
to see and track due to their smaller size and thinner profile.
Other statutes affect a rider’s liability as well, such as
Section 1252 of the VTL which limits riding abreast to two motorcycles at most; prohibits passing
others in the same lane; and prohibits riding in between lanes or rows.
If one of these statutes is violated and a
motorcycle accident results, the motorcyclist could very well be held liable to anyone injured.
Moreover, if the motorcyclist himself is injured, he might not be able
to recover from the other driver if the motorcyclist’s violation
is determined to be to sole and proximate cause of the accident.
Are you interested in learning more about motorcycle laws and how they
can create liability? Find out more in the
latest article from our experienced attorneys available here.
Our personal injury attorneys at
Mainetti, Mainetti, and O’Connor, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience working with victims of personal
injury accidents throughout New York. We understand how to effectively
represent clients who have been injured in serious car accidents, particularly
throughout the Mid-Hudson Valley region in Kingston, Poughkeepsie, and
Newburgh where we have offices. Hear
what our clients are saying about us here and learn about just some of our
successful results here. If you or a loved one has been injured in a personal injury accident,
please do not hesitate to contact us by calling 845-340-HURT (4878) or
toll free at 866-440-4452, or by using the
convenient contact form here.