Traffic laws exist to protect all motorists and keep everyone on the same page when interacting with each other on the road. When there is a universal system for how to maneuver, everyone should have some idea of how others will react. That applies to motorcycles as well. Motorcycle traffic laws in Memphis are not fundamentally different from laws governing car and truck drivers but injuries still occur when someone fails to follow them. A Board-certified motorcycle accident attorney like David E. Gordon can provide guidance if you were hit while riding your bike.
There are a number of reasons why motorcyclists should obey all traffic laws on the road in Memphis, specifically: to keep themselves safe, prevent getting ticketed, and to preserve their right to win compensation.
Naturally, a rider will be safer if they obey the traffic laws, since it reduces the likelihood of an accident. Many accidents happen because one party or the other disobeys a law, such as speeding, ignoring stop lights, or passing in another lane when it is not safe to do so. In certain situations, ignoring a traffic law could result in a fine if law enforcement catches them in the act. A particularly serious charge, such as drinking while driving, could result in a jail sentence as well.
Following the traffic laws can help in a personal injury case. If a rider is found to have broken a law, they could have their final damages award reduced – or even barred altogether. By following the rules, they protect their right to sue for compensation.
Traffic officers are not more lenient with motorcycle riders just because their vehicles are smaller than regular cars. Motorcyclists will be pulled over and ticketed just like any other motorist if they are breaking the rules of the road.
A local motorcyclist who can be shown to have disobeyed a traffic law will have a tougher time recovering compensation. This is known as the theory of contributory negligence. If the motorcyclist’s negligence is found by the court to be 50 percent or more the cause of the accident, then they will not be compensated at all in Tennessee.
For example, if the motorcyclist is found to have been speeding when they entered an intersection on a green light, but an automobile turns into their path and causes a collision, then the motorcyclist might be found to be only 25 percent at fault. In that case, they would be entitled to just 75 percent of the injury compensation rather than 100 percent. The obedience to traffic laws plays an important role in determining a biker’s right to recovery.
It is a good idea for motorcycle riders to stay current on local motorcycle laws and take note when a new law comes into effect. The state legislature or Memphis city council will make an announcement regarding any change in the law and will publish the text of the law on their websites. It is up to the rider to implement the change; law enforcement will not accept ignorance of the law as a reason to disregard a ticket. Nor will ignorance of the law prevent an injured rider from being labeled partially liable in an accident.
Contact the Law Office of David E. Gordon immediately if you were in a motorcycle accident in which you might have broken one of the rules of the road. You can still recover compensation as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault. David can also help you keep up-to-date on the various motorcycle traffic laws in Memphis.