Spike in North Carolina motorcycle accidents calls state legislators to act

Our North Carolina motorcycle accident lawyers have noted that the month of September has been particularly deadly for motorcyclists, claiming four lives in just shy of three weeks. State officials have also taken note of the alarming 29 percent spike in motorcycle fatalities North Carolina has experienced between 2009 and 2010, the Gaston Gazette reports.

A law sponsored by Sen. Harry Brown (R-Jacksonville) aims to curb the last year’s alarming statistics, which some attribute to a growing interest in two-wheeled travel paired with lax motorcycle driving laws. It is the opinion of legislators, law enforcement and motorcycle dealers that matching inexperienced, first-time, motorcycle drivers with powerful new motorcycles can be a recipe for tragedy.
Currently, state law allows anyone of legal age to ride solo by simply passing a DMV written test. If they pass, a license is issued for 18 months and can be renewed indefinitely. As of Jan. 1, however, a series of restrictions regarding motorcycle licensing aims to increase safety for all motorcycle riders statewide. The new law requires:
~ Drivers 18 years old and younger must complete a rider safety course prior to applying for a motorcycle learner’s permit – which requires passing a written test, a road sign test and a vision test.

~ Drivers 18 years old and older are not required to pass a rider safety course, but must obtain a motorcycle learner’s permit by passing the same series of tests noted for younger drivers.

~ The learner’s permit for all ages is good for one year and can only be renewed once for six months, after that, the driver will have to pass another road test for re-licensing.

Given that about two-thirds of North Carolina’s motorcycle accidents involve riders aged 20 to 45, critics of the new law suggest it is targeting the wrong audience, the News & Observer reports. Proponents argue that any legislation that promotes motorcycle safety and driver education is bound to save lives.

We don’t think a motorcycle rider can have too much safety training. But our North Carolina injury lawyers know that more than half of all motorcycle accidents are the fault of another driver on the road — and most frequently result from another motorist pulling out in front of a rider. Stiffer penalties for the drivers of passenger cars who violate the rights of motorcycle riders would likely have a bigger impact on reducing the number of serious and fatal motorcycle accidents on the roads of North and South Carolina.

If you have been injured or someone you love has been killed or injured in a North Carolina motorcycle accident from Asheville to Charlotte to Gastonia to Winston-Salem or anywhere in between, the attorneys with Lee & Smith, P.A. want you to know we are here to help. If you are involved in a serious car accident, please call us at 1-800-887-1965 or email our law offices to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights.

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