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Milwaukee, WI family law attorney for same-sex parentsBy Attorney Chris Strohbehn

Fall is a popular time to hit the road to enjoy the colorful foliage, and with the ideal mix of warm days and cool nights, there is no better area to enjoy the show than in Wisconsin. To many, the only thing that makes this better is to witness this spectacle of nature astride a motorcycle. Yet nothing can ruin your autumn ride like a serious motorcycle accident. Before you hit the road, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the state’s basic motorcycle regulations, and if you become involved in a collision, you should speak to an attorney to determine your options for recovering compensation.  

Wisconsin Motorcycle Regulations

  • Headlights: Use of headlights is required at all times, including daytime.
  • Modulating headlights: These are permitted under the Code of Federal Regulations.
  • Eye protection: Shatterproof protective eyewear is required except for cycles with a windscreen that extends at least 15 inches above the handlebars. Dark or tinted eye protection—such as sunglasses— cannot be worn at night or in low-light conditions.
  • Handlebar height: The maximum height allowed is 30 inches above the seat.
  • Head protection: U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)-approved helmets are required for all drivers and passengers under the age of 18. All drivers with a learner’s permit or instructional motorcycle permit also are required to wear a helmet.
  • Passenger age: There is no age restriction for passengers.
  • Motorcycle equipment: All motorcycles must be equipped with turn signals, at least one rear-view mirror, and a muffler.  
  • Passenger equipment: All motorcycles carrying a second person must have a separate passenger seat and two footrests.
  • Insurance: All motorcyclists must have accident liability insurance.

Safety First

When it comes to motorcycle safety, it is always a good idea to err on the side of caution. For this reason, most experts recommend always wearing protective eyewear and a helmet. Other safety recommendations include wearing bright-colored clothing to increase visibility as well as suitable shoes or boots; long, heavy-gauge pants such as jeans; and a long-sleeved jacket (preferably leather or a similar heavy material), all of which can provide added protection in case of a fall.

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Milwaukee motorcycle accident injury lawyerIt is springtime, which means motorcyclists will removing the covers off their motorcycles and going for their first ride in months. If you are a motorcyclist, you should take this time to re-familiarize yourself with safety tips that will help you avoid accidents. 

Follow these tips to avoid a motorcycle accident this spring.

  1. Mind the weather. Spring is notoriously a wet time of year, and roads are often slippery or muddy. You should never assume the depth of standing water.
  2. Inspect your bike. Your tires should be free from cracks, bulges, and signs of wear in the treads. You should also look under your bike for any signs of oil or gasoline leaks. All fluid levels should be tested, and any burned out headlights, tail lights, or signals should be replaced.
  3. Conduct additional inspections once mounted and riding for the first time. When you first get on your bike, there are additional areas that should be checked. The clutch and throttle should slide easily. Mirrors should be readjusted and cleaned. Brakes should feel firm, and the horn should be adequately loud.
  4. Be aware of changing road conditions. It is likely that some of your favorite routes will have changed since fall. Even if you drive on a street regularly by car, you may not notice conditions that are hazardous to a motorcycle. Potholes and cracks that can be dangerous if encountered on a bike are likely to emerge after winter.
  5. Wear a helmet. Be sure to use a helmet that provides full head protection, and insist that your passengers do as well. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, over 1,000 lives are saved each year by wearing a helmet.

Contact a Milwaukee Motor Vehicle Accident Attorney

Even putting practice these safety tips into practice will not prevent every accident. In fact, in accidents between a vehicle and a motorcycle, most collisions are the fault of the driver of the vehicle. Car drivers often do not see motorcyclists, even when a cyclist is complying with the rules of the road. In these situations, an injured motorcyclist should be compensated for their medical expenses, income lost due to the inability to work following an injury, and pain and suffering.

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motorcycle accident injuries, wrongful death suit,  Milwaukee motorcycle crash attorneys, Wisconsin motorcycle accident, motorcycle crash statisticsMotorcyclists are a vulnerable group of drivers on Wisconsin roads. Motorcycles are much smaller than the cars and tractor-trailers with which they share the road, and motorcycles have fewer safety protections.

When a motorcyclist gets into an accident, injuries are likely to result. Moreover, motorcycle accident injuries tend to be severe among cyclists. The same cannot be said for drivers and riders of cars.

About Wisconsin Motorcycle Accidents

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Milwaukee motorcycle accident attorney, motorcycle ridingRiding on a motorcycle presents more risks than riding in cars. In fact, motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in an accident than car occupants. They are also six times more likely to be injured.

Despite the fact that motorcyclists are at greater risk for death or injury, they are not necessarily at fault when accidents occur. In fact, a National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) study from 2003 concluded that in 80 percent of accidents involving a motorcycle and a car, the motorcyclist was not at fault or was less at fault than the other driver.

Tips to Decrease the Likelihood of a Motorcycle Accident

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Wisconsin accident attorney, Wisconsin injury lawyerMotorcycle riders know the look – the one that passenger car drivers give them. That shake of the head as your engine revs next to them, catching them off guard. They assume that, because you ride, you are somehow reckless, or that you are bound to experience an accident, simply because you do not drive a “sensible” vehicle. Mostly, they are wrong. However, they do have one thing right: you are more likely to experience a traffic accident. Sadly, that crash will most likely be caused by another driver.

Motorcycle Riders More Likely to Experience a Crash

Ride long enough and you could probably tell a dozen or so stories about the near-misses. Incidents where another driver did not see you coming and you had to lay your bike down, slam on your brakes, or maybe even skidded out of control. If you were lucky, these were minor occurrences that did not lead to injuries beyond a few scrapes and bruises. However, there are many who are not quite as lucky.

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisconsin personal injury attorney, Wisconsin accident lawyer, Wisconsin car crash lawyerTraumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, and contributes to almost one third of all injury deaths. According to the CDC, there are over 125 deaths every day in the United States in which traumatic brain injury was a factor, and those who survive a traumatic brain injury may face effects lasting a few days to major disabilities that may last the rest of their lives.

Everyone runs the risk of a traumatic brain injury, especially children and elderly people.  Traumatic brain injuries occur in many ways, and if you or a loved one has received a traumatic brain injury, you need a skilled personal injury attorney to pursue fair compensation on your behalf. Some of the ways traumatic brain injury can occur is by falling, in a motorcycle or car accident, through the use of defective products, or being hit by a projectile.

Traumatic brain injuries also can happen during childbirth. Brain injuries are often extremely difficult to detect, especially where all the damage occurs on the inside and there are no external lacerations or bruising to indicate there has been a trauma. Often the symptoms or effects of a brain injury do not arise until long after the incident that caused it took place, which adds another layer of difficulty to getting compensation by the responsible party or parties for your injury.

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Wisconsin accident attorney, drunk driving accident, Wisconsin injury lawyerToday, motorcycles are a popular source of enjoyment and entertainment in our society, but they pose unique dangers due to their design. According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, in the year 2012, 4,957 motorcyclists across the United States suffered fatalities as a result of motor vehicle crashes. In Wisconsin, 118 motorcyclists died in traffic accidents out of 2,720 total motorcyclist accidents, while 2,183 suffered injuries as a result of traffic accidents. Although the number of motorcycle accidents in Wisconsin account for only 1.5 percent of the total motor vehicle accidents across the state, they almost always result in serious injuries and extensive medical bills.

Not only do victims of motorcycle accidents need to worry about their injuries and medical bills, but they also have to worry about lost wages. If you or someone you know was injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. In order to properly assert your legal rights, and increase the likelihood of success on your claims, you should contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney.

Leading Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

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Posted on in Personal Injury

Wisonsin personal injury attorney, Wisonsin car crash lawyer, Wisconsin wrongful death lawyerMotorcycles have become more popular in the past ten years among Wisconsin residents. For every 100 residents, there are 5.9 registered motorcyclists and over 515,000 registered motorcyclists. With the increasing popularity of motorcycles, there has also been an increase in accidents. According to statistics in the 2012 Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Facts Book, 112 motorcyclists or their passengers were killed in 2012. That is an increase of 40 percent from 2011. Failure to control the motorcycle and inattentive driving are the two leading causes of both fatal and non-fatal crashes. With more residents receiving their motorcycle endorsement, it is important to know what to do in case of an accident.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Similar to receiving your driver’s license, motorcyclists are required to obtain a motorcycle permit and then complete a rider education course or motorcycle skills test.  Even with the extra training and education, sometimes road conditions or actions from others can cause an accident. Not fully stopping or looking before going to an intersection, not looking before changing lanes, or going too fast in unsafe road conditions can be a contributing factor to motorcycle accidents.

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