San Jose Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

The San Jose area has some of the most scenic motorcycle trails in the Golden State. Whether you spend the day touring 100 miles on the popular Mount Hamilton Loop or enjoy a shorter ride navigating the winding roads around the Bay Area, riding in and around San Jose can be a fun and relaxing escape for motorcycle enthusiasts.

Whenever and wherever you ride your motorcycle, the most enjoyable rides are the safest rides. Being safe on a motorcycle means more than just knowing how and where to ride. Safe motorcycle riding includes:

  • Knowing the motorcycle laws in California;
  • Being properly licensed to ride a motorcycle;
  • Riding a motorcycle that has proper equipment;
  • Wearing proper motorcycle safety gear; and
  • Riding responsibly to avoid a motorcycle accident. 

Continue reading to learn more about safe motorcycling in the San Jose area and the California laws that help keep you safe when you ride.

What Are the Motorcycle Laws in California?

Like every state, California has laws designed to help keep all motorists safe on the roads. For motorcyclists, those laws address issues like:

  • Obtaining a motorcycle license;
  • Equipment you must have on your motorcycle;
  • Helmet requirements; and more.
Do I Need a Special Motorcycle Driver’s License?

California Vehicle Code § 12509.5 requires everyone who operates, or is licensed to operate, a motorcycle to obtain a valid instruction permit for at least six months before receiving a class M1 or M2 motorcycle license. To be issued an instruction permit:

  • If you are between the ages of 15 years and six months and 18 years, you must:
    • Have a standard driver’s license or complete driver’s education training;
    • Complete a motorcycle safety program; and
    • Pass the written exam for motorcycle drivers.
  • If you are between 18 and 21 years of age, you must:
    • Complete a motorcyclist safety program; and
    • Pass the written exam for motorcycle drivers.
  • If you are 21 years of age or older, you must pass the written exam for motorcycle drivers.

The motorcycle permit includes certain restrictions, such as riding your motorcycle after dark and carrying passengers. Additionally, the permit expires in two years if you do not obtain your motorcycle license within that time.

Does My Motorcycle Need Special Safety Equipment?

The California Vehicle Code also requires that your motorcycle have certain safety features. For example:

  • § 24015 requires:
    • A headlamp;
    • A tail lamp;
    • A stop lamp;
    • Side and rear reflectors; and
    • Adequate brakes;
    • § 25650 describes the type of headlights required;
    • § 25650.5 requires that every motorcycle manufactured and registered on and after January 1, 1978, must have one or two headlamps that automatically turn on when you start the engine and remain on while the engine is running;
    • § 26705 requires that all motorcycles sold, or offered for sale, after January 1, 1969, must have a windshield with safety glazing material;
    • § 27202 sets specific noise limitations for motorcycles;
    • § 27800 requires appropriate seats and footrests for passengers;
    • § 27801 requires:
      • The seat to be positioned so that your feet reach the ground when sitting on the motorcycle; and
      • Handlebars to be positioned so that, when sitting on the seat with your hands on the grips, your hands are no more than six inches above your shoulder height.

    Do I Need to Wear Motorcycle Safety Gear?

    In addition to the specific safety features of the motorcycle, § 27803 of the California Vehicle Code requires that every driver and passenger wear a safety helmet when riding. Your helmet must fit securely to your head when fastened with straps and must satisfy required safety helmet standards.

    Although no other safety gear is expressly required by California law, there are a variety of other articles that can provide added safety when riding. For example:

    • A leather jacket;
    • Riding pants or “chaps”;
    • Gloves;
    • Riding boots; and 
    • Goggles or other eyewear protection.

    Proper safety gear can protect you from injury upon a fall (“road rash”), weather conditions, like sun, rain, and wind, bugs, or gravel and debris that other vehicles project from the road.

    What Are the Common Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?

    In a motorcycle crash causation study conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, researchers studied hundreds of contributing factors to motorcycle crashes. The study included several categories of factors that commonly contribute to motorcycle accidents. These included:

    • Human factors (for motorcyclists as well as drivers of other vehicles), including:
      • Age, health, training, riding experience, licensing, and risk taking; 
      • Psychological states, such as:
        • Intoxication;
        • Fatigue;
        • Sleep deprivation;
        • Stress;
      • o Distractions or inattention, including:
        • Talking to a passenger; 
        • Moving objects in or on the vehicle;
        • Using a handheld electronic device;
        • Eating or smoking;
        • Being distracted by an insect in the vehicle or protective equipment; and
        • External distractions;
      • o Perception and decision errors, such as:
        • Misjudging distances to other objects;
        • Misjudging speeds of other vehicles;
        • Riding too close to the vehicle in front (tailgating);
        • Speeding or attempting to overtake a vehicle;
        • Failing to anticipate movements by other vehicles;
        • Violating a right of way;
        • Braking and cornering errors; and more.
    • Environment, roadway, traffic, and control factors.
      • Environmental factors may include:
      • Visibility;
      • Lighting;
      • Roadside environment; and
      • Weather conditions.
      • Roadway factors may include:
        • Obstructed view;
        • Number and width of lanes;
        • Presence of exclusive turning lanes;
        • Curvature of the road; and 
        • Surface conditions.
      • Traffic factors may include:
        • Traffic density;
        • Average speed;
        • Presence of parked vehicles; and
        • Left‐turn volume at intersections.
    • Other contributing factors include:
      • Vehicle functioning;
      • Trip-related factors;
      • Training;
      • Use of protective gear; and 
      • Rider visibility.

    Although many contributing factors may originate with the motorcyclist, many motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. When another driver causes you to have a motorcycle accident and you are injured as a result, you may file a motorcycle accident claim to be compensated for your injuries.

    How Long Do I Have to File a Motorcycle Accident Claim?

    Pursuant to Cal. Code Civ. Pro. § 335.1, a motorcycle accident victim generally has two years from the date he or she is injured to file a personal injury claim against the party at fault. If you do not file your claim within this statutory period, you may be barred from bringing your claim before the court. It is important, then, to seek representation immediately following a motorcycle accident to be sure the court accepts your case.

    Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?

    At Moseley Collins Law, we hope you always enjoy safe motorcycling and never need a San Jose motorcycle accident lawyer. But if you are injured in a motorcycle accident while riding the San Jose area, Moseley Collins Law can help you file a timely motorcycle accident claim. We will help you assess your damages and deal with the insurance companies to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve. 

    If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. At Moseley Collins Law, we have experience dealing with motorcycle accidents and the insurance companies that seek to limit your recovery. When you seek representation, be sure to hire an experienced motorcycle accident attorney like those at Moseley Collins Law.

    Call Moseley Collins today at 916-444-4444. Let us handle your motorcycle accident claim while you focus on your recovery. We will fight to make sure you receive the maximum compensation you deserve.

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