[Content Updated 04/14/2021] Ehline Law is all about liberty. We get it that riders deserve to ride whenever they want, without having to be molested. But sometimes mother nature steps in and wreaks havoc, causing motorcycles crashes.
Suppose this happens, and a third party caused or created a condition that caused you an injury. In that case, you may be able to recover money damages from the parties who increased the chances, or risk to a third party, of severe bodily harm or even permanent impairment.
When combined with an already dangerous condition, adverse weather can exacerbate and increase the harmful effects of motorcycle accidents. Seniors, who already have pre-existing conditions or slower ability to heal and resist injury, are at high risk of a permanent injury or death when bad weather hits.
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Not all inclement weather causes accidents directly. Sometimes, a defendant fails to take steps to avoid dangerous conditions in the care or maintenance of a danger zone. Those simple barriers could be those with movable orange cones washed away from the freeway road construction job. And that is possible after a flash flood caused by a thunderstorm. So if a temporary barrier disappears, it was likely foreseeable to Caltrans employees, so they may be at fault for failing to plan for things washing away.
Even when the downpour ceases, a motorcyclist could end up being swallowed up by the trench and killed because of the weakened rider reaction time due to poor visibility of the road hazard.
The sad fact is, it could be a pothole full of water that looks like smooth sailing. If all a rider sees is a wet road surface and is unable to distinguish, there is a concave hole in the asphalt. So riders will end up being thrown from the bike or go underneath the motorcycle and find themselves crushed by the bike’s substantial weight.
Under the eggshell skull theory, when a victim is predisposed to injuries, such as when they already have a bad knee or a bad back, the tortfeasor is required to pay the extra money in damages. And this is because the pre-existing injuries were made worse. A great example would be an older adult with a bad leg.
We already know that the older we get, the slower our judgment and reaction time becomes. Accordingly, a reasonable motorist would assume that older adults are riding and adjust their driving behavior in inclement weather to take this into account.
Statistics show that riding becomes exponentially more dangerous for bikers 60 years of age or older. In a wreck, the senior is still held to the same standard as any other driver to ride reasonably safe for road conditions. However, driving in bad weather is not recommended for any rider, but not for people already at increased risk. Sweltering weather can increase an elders’ risk for dehydration, etc. The point is, know yourself and know your limitations before suiting up.
So if you’re elderly, it is wise to know what the outdoor conditions are well before you plan to be riding. Make sure you wear protective riding gear tailored for the weather. (cold weather versus hot). A rider must do a safety check of the bike, tires, perform regular maintenance, etc. You must always do your inspection before saddling up and kickstarting your motorcycle. If a dangerous condition was covered up or made worse by rain, it could mean the person responsible for it is liable to pay. Noteworthy here is that human-made dangers can cause or contribute to a bad weather-related wreck.
All victims will endure pain, suffering, and loss in the form of money damages. Since seniors with pre-existing conditions may be the injured party, the defendants will have no choice but to pay out the additional money to cover the extended care, etc., of the senior. Law schools call this the “eggshell skull theory.”
So the lesson learned is: Seniors need to understand their limitations, and motorists need to be safe in watching out for frail riders. Both must traverse the roads safer for the conditions present. If you’re poor or, a service member is trying to avoid being UA. You may have no choice but to ride in bad weather.
And rice rocket riders often do wear things like special belts. Even if you’re on a comfortable Goldwing style bike, extended rides can take their toll on your body. This human condition remains especially true when you’re an older rider. Emotionally and physically, these trips require a rider to be well-rested.
One advantage of a large bike means you could pack a tent and sleeping bag quickly. Sportbike riders would probably want to have a preset route. They would wish to rest points like hotels, motels, a youth hostel, or a friend’s pad. These riders must recharge their batteries. Just don’t get caught dead not being rested and revived.
In the Golden State, most riders don’t even think about cold-weather riding. We ride when it is sunny, warm, and inviting. But if you live in Big Bear, or Lake Arrowhead, or the high desert, cold weather riding is a fact of life. An inexperienced rider may be too daring for his good. And this rider could venture into a colder temperature situation. Accordingly, this rider may get frostbitten or even die from exposure. This is no joke.
You should always wear wool or some other special cold-weather gear if you plan on cold weather. You may need metal spiked snow tires or chains. Wear gloves that allow you to brake and accelerate with your fingers, unhindered.
Wear sturdy, insulated boots, preferably with Gore-Tex technology. Stretch and run in place before riding and protect your body from chilly, freezing winds. Make sure there are no tears in your gear that let cold wind inside. Don’t let your skin get numb or your nose gets blue. Look for cold weather-related malaise and get to a doctor if you’re having symptoms of hypothermia.
Riders are exposed to rain, wind, and objects of all sizes when riding. The increased risks of injury are especially true when there is no strengthened windshield or metal frame with sheet metal armor provided by a passenger car. Not to mention the safety of a strengthened bumper. So it may be fun to experience nature blow by you at high speed in the rain; the ugly truth is that you must slow down and be careful in the rain. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has a great PDF that goes into detail on ways riders can stay safe and sane in the shower of elements.
“A wise motorcyclist will stop for a cup of coffee when it starts to rain; who knows, it could all be over in 15 minutes, and you won’t even have to put on the rainsuit.” (p.41)
Strong winds can create problems for a motorcyclist. A constant 25-mph wind from the side can make for less- than happy riding. (p.42)
Don’t get caught daydreaming in bad weather. You have to be sharp. There is a greater risk of an object or particle flying up and hit you in wet or windy conditions.
Visibility is sharply reduced and obscured in inclement weather. Things riders must be particularly vigilant about are oil-slicked roads that are very slippery. Sections of slick pavement obscured or covered over with pools of water, such as a rail car’s tracks.
Even an uncovered utility hole, sewer entrance, or pothole puddled with water can kill. Always remember that oil floats on top of the water in suspension, meaning the first few hours after rain is comparable to an oil spill on the pavement/asphalt roads, especially in places like Los Angeles, California. Think about it. Use common sense.
Make sure if you ride in the rain often that you’re using rain-rated tires. Grip in the rain is life and death. The more the grip, the greater your chances of not sliding out or dropping the bike. Spend the most on the items that give you a survivor’s edge.
Desert conditions have been known to be so bad that a helmeted rider could cook his brain and ride off the road unconscious. The bottom line, heat makes you sleepy. In some cases, heat can kill you. Heat, cold, or any extreme condition can also agitate you and throw you out of your comfort zone.
As discussed above, drink lots of water, and pay attention to your temper and frustration. Get to a shady area and rehydrate if you’re feeling angry, helpless, or down in the dumps. These feelings, like anxiety, lack of concentration, etc., are signs of heatstroke or heat exhaustion. Buy a turtleback-style water bladder and sip from it often. Do what you can to avoid the symptoms.
For example, wear the correct clothing. It is hot. Without sacrificing safety, wear gear that lets your skin breathe. Drink lots of water and avoid sports drinks. Water is the building block of all life, and staying hydrated can save your life.
Protecting your head is probably the most important task to consider before riding. Get a helmet with a visor that opens and shuts quickly, or use a full face mask. Get a helmet with air vents so you can be cooled when in motion by the air funnel. But there are many styles of DOT-approved helmets from which you can choose.
In any event, make sure to cover your arms, legs, head, and face with some form of sun protection. There are lip balms, like Bees Wax, or Chapstick, that you can also use to help avoid drying out and blistering.
Exposed skin, even with sunblock, or suntan lotions, will cause your sweat to increase, and that will evaporate off your body quickly when you’re whipping down the road. Loose clothing or unique clothes that allow your body to wick sweat at optimum levels are best. The Los Angeles County Fire Department has some more tips here on “How to Stay Cool During Hot Weather.”
If you are dehydrated from being a drinker, not in shape, fat, obese, or a senior, you have a much higher risk of heat-related afflictions and conditions. Drink water!
If you suffered a spill on your bike in inclement weather and want to consult with a phenomenal lawyer due to adverse conditions, retain Ehline Law Firm Los Angeles Motorcycle Lawyers. We fight with dogged determination to get people windfall like compensation for the severe afflictions of fallen riders caused by another’s negligence. For more help from a motorcycle lawyer, call (213) 596-9642 or check our website.