Oregon Motorcycle Safety and Laws
Driving a motorcycle can be exciting, but let’s face it- it can be a dangerous past time. There are thousands of Oregon motorcycle riders, so it is important for those riders (as well as Oregon drivers) to be aware of the laws and safety regulations regarding Oregon motorcycles.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
First, let’s look at accident statistics. For motorcycles, the risk of getting into an accident increases exponentially over accidents involving cars. And, on top of that, the dangers of getting seriously injured increase as well. Cars are just big metal containers for the people inside, and often the impact of a crash is absorbed in part by the car itself. Obviously, motorcycle riders do not have this metal shell to rely on and therefore their injuries are dramatically more life-threatening.
As Portland motorcycle accident lawyers, we have to know the statistics regarding motorcycle accidents nationwide, as questions about this often occur at trial.
Here are some of the facts, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, that we believe you should be aware of:
- In fatal accidents that involve a car and a motorcycle, 98 out of 100 of the people who die are the motorcycle riders.
- 85% of motorcycle riders killed in to-vehicle crashes were involved in an accident with a passenger vehicle.
- Drivers of motorcycles in fatal multi-vehicle crashes are 250% more likely to be under the influence of alcohol than a car driver.
- Motorcycles are much more likely to be the vehicle that hits the other vehicle in a crash, called the “striking vehicle”: 78% more likely in front to side collisions, and 55% more likely in head-on collisions.
- 8% of passenger vehicle drivers were found to have invalid license at crashes, but almost 25% of motorcycle riders had invalid licenses.
- 90% of the deaths in multi-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle are the motorcycle driver (with 8% being motorcycle passengers).
- In 30 years, from 1975 to 2005, there were more than 62,000 motorcyclist deaths.
Oregon Motorcycle Safety Laws
In Oregon, motorcycle safety is taken very seriously, and there have been several new laws enacted in the past couple years to protect motorcycle riders.
Like most states, Oregon has a law that states riders must wear a helmet. Unlike many states, however, Oregon’s law does not have any age restrictions. While most states (about 30) either do not have motorcycle helmet laws, or only require helmets for younger riders, Oregon requires helmets for all motorcycle riders. Helmets are the #1 way to reduce injury in a motorcycle accident, and interestingly enough in some states if you are not wearing a helmet, you can be held partly liable for your own injuries when you are hit by a car because of your disregard for personal safety!
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has also established several motorcycle training programs because research has shown that these training programs reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. The Team Oregon Motorcycle Training Program has classes for all levels of riders, at http://teamoregon.orst.edu.
In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed a law requiring all (eventually) motorcycle riders to pass this safety training course. Because the program was not fully developed, they spread the requirement over a five-year period, as follows:
- January 1, 2011 All New Riders 30 and under
- January 1, 2012 All New Riders 40 and under
- January 1, 2013 All New Riders 50 and under
- January 1, 2014 All New Riders 60 and under
- January 1, 2015 All New Riders of Any Age
Oregon Motorcycle Accident Lawsuits
In Oregon, it is possible to receive compensation if you are hurt in a motorcycle accident, but you have to prove that you were not at fault. In fact, you will have to prove that someone else’s actions or negligence caused your accident and then you can file a claim against that person’s insurance. Oregon law requires that each person have at least $25,000 in liability coverage, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance can cover up to $25,000 worth of your medical bills if needed. IF you need help proving the other personal liable, have more than $25,000 worth of medical bills, or are unsure about how Oregon motorcycle safety laws affect your case, call our Portland motorcycle accident attorneys for a free consultation.