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5 Dangerous Things Motorcycle Passengers Should Never Do

couple holding motorcycle helmetsBeing a motorcycle passenger can be a thrilling experience for the uninitiated, but it’s much more challenging than it looks. As a back-seat rider, you have significant influence on the dynamics of the motorcycle, affecting how it handles, turns and stops. The enjoyment and safety of the experience will hinge largely upon how well prepared you, the passenger, are before getting onto the bike.

Of primary importance is ensuring the motorcycle operator is experienced and has driven with passengers before. Equally crucial is wearing appropriate gear, which can ultimately save your life in the event of a crash. This includes durable clothing and gloves (preferably leather), boots that protect your ankles, protective eyewear and a properly fitted helmet with face shield. Every year in California, dozens of motorcyclists and their passengers are fatally injured in accidents. A large number of these deaths could be prevented with safety helmet use.

Make sure that the motorcycle foot pegs are folded down before mounting the bike, and be careful of exhaust pipes which heat up and can cause serious burns. Once mounted, keep your feet securely on the foot pegs the entire time.

How to be a good motorcycle passenger

Follow these rules when riding passenger:

  • Hold tightly onto the operator’s waist or passenger handle bars if available
  • Keep feet on passenger foot pegs at all times
  • Keep feet, legs and hands away from moving parts
  • Keep your body loose and neutral when taking corners and turns
  • When taking a corner, look over the driver’s inside shoulder in the same direction
  • When riding over a road obstacle, lift your body slightly off the seat
  • Pay attention to the road and be prepared for acceleration, stops and turns
  • Communicate – set up a system of hand signals or taps that let the driver know if you need to stop

Things to avoid while riding passenger

You can also be a good and safe passenger by avoiding the following actions, which can place both you and the operator at risk for a tip over or crash.

  1. Never hang on to the motorcycle operator’s arms, which can affect driving abilities.
  2. Do not make sudden, lurching movements that shift weight on the bike and can result in loss of balance
  3. Never lean out of a corner or turn, which can cause an accident. Remember to keep your body neutral (akin to a sack of potatoes).
  4. Do not slide forward during braking, as this moves weight distribution and can affect handling. Try and anticipate stops and maintain a stable position in the seat.
  5. When stopped, never try to help the rider hold the bike upright; keep your feet planted on the foot rests and away from the motor 

The ideal passenger becomes an extension of the bike, having little effect on the weight, stability or handling. With experience, passengers will become more intuitive of what is needed, and more comfortable riding back seat.

California motorcycle accident lawyers

Of course, there will always be hazards like inclement weather, potholes, gravel and negligent drivers. In order to file a claim for damages following a crash, it’s important to work with a qualified attorney who is a veteran negotiator and has ample trial experience.

For more than two decades, Ellis Law has advocated for injured motorcyclists and their families, helping them recover fair compensation for their losses, pain and suffering. Schedule a free consultation with a motorcycle accident lawyer Los Angeles trusts by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Resources on “Motorcycle Passenger Safety”:

  1. Cruiser, How to Be a Motorcycle Passenger http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/how-to-be-motorcycle-passenger
  2. OppositeLock, How to be a good motorcycle passenger http://oppositelock.kinja.com/how-to-be-a-good-motorcycle-passenger-1649514524
  3. HighPoint, Quick Tips for Motorcycle Passengers http://highpointchurch.us/uploads/Quick%20Tips%20for%20Motocycle%20Passengers.pdf

Top Five Motorcycle Apps

motorcycles on the roadThere’s an app for everything, so why not for your motorcycle? There are apps that let you track and share ride destinations, monitor conditions, even apps that will rescue you or your friends in case of a crash. These apps aren’t distractions; they’re ways to enhance the fun of motorcycle riding and increase the safety.

What are the top motorcycle apps? There are lots of great apps, in many different categories: ride planning, awesome trips, traffic and weather conditions, and safety. Here are the top 5 you’re likely to use in these primary categories.

Eat Sleep Ride

This app’s name says it all. You can plan a route, share a great riding route, and figure out the best biker locations to eat and sleep not only throughout southern California, but throughout the U.S. and the world.

You can also save and share awesome rides. You can replay rides varying the speed and elevation too, so there are ways to plan customized rides to infinity, almost.


Waze has the distinction of being the biggest community-based navigation and traffic app. Check the traffic and road conditions using Waze and you’ll never get caught in construction or clogged traffic again. It’s updated in real time.

Waze was first developed to help folks who commute to work. But it grew so popular, and so able to cover large areas with comprehensive and fast data, that it will now work for motorcycles too, and really well.

Best Biking Roads

Cool as Waze is for avoiding annoyances and inconveniences on the road, it won’t help you plan the best biking trip ever. For that, turn to Best Biking Roads. Best Biking Roads is an app that lets motorcyclists themselves chooses the most awesome routes. It contains more than 8,000 individual rides, with images including pictures and videos. Check out the reviews as well, for on-the-ground experiences.

NOAA Weather Radar

As fun as biking can be, doing it in rain will reduce the fun quotient a lot. Inclement weather is also more unsafe for vehicles than clear weather, because it increases the slipperiness of roads and decreases visibility.

The safest thing to do is to check the weather on your route. The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) app makes that super-easy. NOAA is primarily a weather tracker, despite the fancy name. It has satellites, which the app allows you to track. You can tell if storm clouds are moving fast or whether they headed out to sea or in your direction.


While no one likes to think of motorcycle crashes or motorcycle injuries when planning a trip, being prepared is one of the smartest things you can do on a ride. Cradar employs smartphone accelerometers to find out if a crash has occurred. Best of all, it will automatically send a text to an emergency number and provide a route to reach the crash. This can be really helpful all the time, but especially on less traveled roads.

If you need an attorney

The Ellis Law Firm has more than two decades of experience investigating and litigating accidents and collisions involving motorcycles in California. If you need a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney, we can help. Please call 1-800-INJURED today for a free appointment to get our advice on your situation.

More on motorcycle apps:

  1. Waze, https://www.waze.com/
  2. Eat Sleep Ride, https://eatsleepride.com/

Choosing the Right Motorcycle Helmet: Guide for Safety

couple holding motorcycle helmetsThe modern reality is that when it comes to the road, bigger is safer and motorcycles are usually on the losing end of a collision. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has reported that in 2015, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in an accident than those riding in automobiles. In that year alone, nearly 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents.

The Los Angeles motorcycle injury attorneys at Ellis Injury Law Firm see the harrowing effects of motorcycle crashes each day while representing accident victims in California and therefore have a first-hand understanding of just how important it is to choose the right motorcycle helmet. These guidelines will help keep you riding safely.

Match your motorcycle helmet to your riding style

There are a lot of motorcycle designs and just as many choices in helmets. Safety dictates that your choice in helmet is suitable for the way you intend to ride. For example, if you plan on racing or riding for sport, you will need fuller coverage. These helmets may also be safer for the daily commute, but the hassle of getting them on and off is likely to deter most people from wearing it regularly. A standard road-ready helmet is a better choice for daily use.

Helmet fit is key

By far, the most important factor is a proper fit. It is more important to have a less expensive motorcycle helmet that fits well than to have top-of-the-line head wear that does not provide snug protection. To ensure fit:

  • Shop in a location where you can try the helmet on.
  • If there is no local helmet shop, consider shopping at an online retailer with a generous return policy. Order several sizes and styles to increase the likelihood of achieving a good fit and return the rest.

A helmet needs to fit your specific head shape so a mere measurement of circumference is not enough. When properly fitting, the helmet should offer full protection while not obstructing movement or vision. While wearing the helmet, make sure you can fully rotate your head and that you cannot roll the helmet off.

Pay attention to helmet construction

Not all motorcycle helmets are created equal. In order to do their job, motorcycle helmets need to have solid construction. Federal safety standards call for a thick inner liner, sturdy chin straps, a solid weight, and no protrusions other than a visor. Helmets that meet the federal standards feature a sticker reading “DOT” on the outside back.

Improved helmet safety standards and rigorous enforcement of California helmet laws both work to improve the safety of the road for motorcyclists. Unfortunately that does not change the physics involved when a massive SUV strikes a relatively unprotected motorcycle. Accidents happen and they can change the course of a rider’s life. For those cases, the dedicated personal injury lawyers at the Ellis Law Firm are here to help. We have an established track record of winning compensation on behalf of motorcycle accident victims in Los Angeles and throughout California. Call today for a free consultation – you never pay a legal fee unless we win money for you.

Additional Motorcycle Helmet Resources:

  1. NHTSA.gov, How to Identify Unsafe Motorcycle Helmets, https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/unsafehelmetid/pages/page2.htm
  2. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes, http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes

3 Great Scenic Motorcycle Routes Near Los Angeles

motorcycles on the roadRoute 66 was an historic “biker” highway connecting Los Angeles to Chicago that, sadly, is no more. The aging highway was decommissioned in the 1980s, but the number of pop culture references have made Route 66 forever a symbol of freedom, western migration, and the loneliness of the American heartland. One could try to ride the remnants, but California is blessed with a number of scenic motorcycle routes near Los Angeles, so why not hop on one of these?

Pacific Coast Highway: The View of a Lifetime

California’s Highway 1 runs along the Pacific Coast and is one of the most breathtaking roadways in America. With turns, climbs, and drops, the terrain will keep you alert and energized the entire way. This 127-mile stretch takes riders from Monterey to Morro Bay. Every curve offers a different view of waterfalls, redwood forests, flowered meadows, rocky outcrops, towering mountains, sheep pastures, or verdant valleys. Whales, sharks, sea lions, elephant seals, and pelicans are clearly visible down in the sea below. Monterey’s Cannery Row District is a worthwhile stop, with its restaurants, museums, and world-famous aquarium. Neptune’s Nest in Malibu is another popular stop for bikers, offering a great view of the sea, famous clam chowder, and a homey atmosphere.

Note: A 2017 landslide closed part of the iconic highway near Big Sur, so you’ll need to take a detour.

Mulholland Highway: When You’ve Got An Hour Or Less To Kill

LA Weekly calls the rolling hills of the Mulholland Highway, between Malibu Canyon and Kanan Dume Road, the “best twisty motorcycle ride.” You’ll pass California Live Oaks and cacti, through Malibu Creek State Park, on a smooth stretch of asphalt that offers exhilarating curves and sweeping vista views. Since the trip only takes 20 minutes, some riders will continue on down to the sea, while others stop for brunch in Cornell. Old Place Grill is a historic stagecoach-turned-restaurant, beloved by local bikers, celebrities, and tourists for its fantastic brunch and BBQ sandwiches.

Angeles Crest Highway: Pure Alpine Scenery, Mountains, and Blue Skies For Miles

This scenic 120-mile motorcycle route starts just minutes from downtown LA in La Canada, travels east along Highway 2, and ends in Wrightwood, California. The well-maintained road climbs up to approximately 7,000 feet, with twisty two-lanes offering spectacular mountain views, sweeping curves, switchbacks, and plenty of fresh pine air. On the weekends, you’re likely to only see a few bikes on this quiet highway. Riders may continue on past Wrightwood, through the Angeles National Forest for an extra 55 forested miles. The park makes an excellent stop for horseback riding, water sports, hiking, or nature watching. Be sure to stop at Newcomb’s Ranch, which offers plenty of classic bikes in the lot, weekend BBQ, and a friendly atmosphere.

While motorcycle riding is safer in California than much of the country due to helmet law enforcement and the popularity of bikes with anti-lock brake systems, bikers and their families may need the services of an experienced motorcycle accident attorney to collect the compensation they deserve. The Ellis Injury Law Firm has a proven track record of successful motorcycle accident settlements and jury awards. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review and pay us nothing unless we win money on your behalf!

Additional “scenic L.A. motorcycle routes” resources:

  1. WikiTravel – Route 66, http://wikitravel.org/en/Route_66
  2. LA Weekly – People and Places, http://www.laweekly.com/best-of/2010/people-and-places/best-twisty-motorcycle-ride-2202371
  3. California Motorcycle Adventures – Pacific Coast Highway, https://californiamotorcycleadventures.com/testimonial/harley-road-king-pacific-coast-highway/
  4. Motorcycle Roads – Pacific Coast Highway, http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/97/California/Pacific-Coast-Cruise;-Hwy-1.html#sthash.KRy5rq9f.dpbs
  5. Motorcycle Roads – Angeles Crest Highway, http://www.motorcycleroads.com/75/1221/California/Angeles-Crest-Highway.html#sthash.kVPmtVgX.dpbs
  6. CBS Local – Top Motorcycle Rides in Los Angeles, http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/top-lists/top-motorcycle-rides-in-los-angeles/
  7. Motorcycle Central – 5 Great Motorcycle Roads in Los Angeles, http://motorcycle-central.com/5-great-motorcycle-roads-in-california
  8. Vacations Made Easy – 9 Scenic Motorcycle Routes You Should Be Riding In California, https://www.vacationsmadeeasy.com/TheBLT/CaliforniaCruising9ScenicMotorcycleRoutesYouShouldBeRiding.html
  9. LA Times – Motorcycle deaths jump nationwide but fall in California. Why? http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-motorcycle-fatalities-20160517-snap-story.html

How to Apply for a Motorcycle License in CA

California is renowned for being one of the best states in the country for riding a motorcycle. Between the Sonora Pass and the Pacific Coast Cruise, bikers are hard-pressed to find more beautiful routes and spectacular views. It comes as no surprise then that the state has more than 800,000 registered motorcycles, and is home to many recreational riders who love the freedom of the open road.

If you’re contemplating getting a motorcycle license in California, the process is fairly straightforward, but will also depend on your particular situation.

Steps to get a motorcycle license in California

All residents – regardless of age – must first obtain a California driving permit before they can apply for a motorcycle license. If you are under the age of 21, this entails taking and passing a state-mandated motorcycle safety course. Those who are under 18 must have a certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training Course (DL389) and maintain their learner’s permit for a minimum of 6 months before applying for a permanent motorcycle license.

California offers two classes of motorcycle licenses — the M1 and M2. An M1 license applies to any kind of two-wheeled motorcycle or motorized scooter that has an attached motor. An M2 license is more limiting, and only allows bikers to operate mopeds, motorized bikes and scooters.

For residents over the age of 21, you’ll need to stop by the nearest Calfornia DMV branch and:

  1. Complete the DL 44 Form for Driver’s License or Identification Card
  2. Provide proof of identity with an original birth certificate or passport
  3. Pass the California written motorcycle test
  4. Pass the motorcycle driving test*
  5. Pay $33 application fee

For those who don’t possess a current driver’s license, you’ll also need to furnish your full, legal name, birth date, documentation that shows legal presence and social security number.

*If you are older than 21 and want to avoid taking the motorcycle road skills test, you can arrange to take a Basic Rider Course program, offered by the California Highway Patrol. This program can be completed ahead of time at your convenience. By completing this step, you may also qualify for lower insurance rates.

California motorcycle accident law firm

Even when following road rules and safety protocols, accidents can happen. Injuries sustained in motorcycle accidents are sometimes catastrophic in nature, leaving victims unable to work for long stretches and saddled with astronomical medical bills. At Ellis Law Corporation, our legal team represents motorcyclists who have faced serious harm and financial burdens due to negligent drivers. We have more than 25 years of experience getting favorable results for our clients.

If you’ve been hurt in a crash and need an advocate you can count on, put your trust in a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney at Ellis Law. Call 1-800-INJURED to arrange a free, confidential case review today.

Additional “CA Motorcycle Driver’s License” Resources:

  1. California DMV, HOW TO APPLY FOR A MOTORCYCLE LICENSE IN CALIFORNIA https://www.dmv.com/ca/california/apply-motorcycle-license
  2. State of California DMV, Motorcycle License Check List https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/dl/checklists/mc
  3. org, Motorcycle License in California http://www.dmv.org/ca-california/motorcycle-license.php

15 Little Known Statistics about Motorcycle Accidents

If you own a motorcycle and love to ride, you’re probably already aware of how swiftly catastrophic injury can occur. Regardless of how responsible and vigilant you are in the saddle, all it takes is just one wrong move from a distracted or negligent driver to cause a serious crash. In 2015, more than 5,000 bikers were killed on our nation’s roads and highways, marking a 10 percent increase over the previous year.

According to Consumer Reports, a combination of lax helmet laws, inexperienced and unskilled bikers and riding while intoxicated has generated this alarming spike in motorcycle fatalities.

Despite the obvious hazards of operating a motorcycle, some bikers opt to forego appropriate protective gear or take other unnecessary risks. Here’s an overview of some little known facts and stats about motorcycle accidents that may help you stay safe and escape injury.

15 Motorcycle Accident Facts & Stats

  1. In 2014, nearly 30 percent of all bikers who were involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content above the legal limit.
  2. Nearly half of all motorcyclists have had ZERO formal safety training.
  3. Helmet use decreases the risk of dying in a motorcycle accident by 37 percent, reports the NHTSA.
  4. Nearly two-thirds of all motorcycle-vehicle accidents are due to another vehicle violating (unintentionally) the biker’s right of way.
  5. The majority of motorcycle accidents happen on short trips near the home, such as shopping, running errands, etc.
  6. Intersections are the most common site for motorcycle vehicle accidents in the U.S.
  7. The average motorcycle accident scenario offers bikers less than two seconds to use evasive maneuvers.
  8. Road hazards and defects such as potholes or uneven pavement account for less than 2 percent of all crashes.
  9. Lack of visibility is an issue: In many multiple vehicle accidents, motorists cite that they did not see the motorcyclist at all.
  10. Bikers aged between 20-29 and 50-59 are statistically more likely to be involved in a motorcycle accident.
  11. Motorcyclists who do not wear eye gear (to protect against flying debris, insects) are more likely to have a collision.
  12. In crashes involving single vehicles, nearly 70 percent are caused by biker error, such as over braking, excessive speed, or cornering too wide.
  13. In 2015, only 60 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were wearing helmets at the time of their accident.
  14. Historically, motorcycle fatalities tend to peak in June and July, and are lowest in January-February.
  15. Helmets are 67 percent effective in preventing traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Legal help for California bikers

Last year, motorcyclists represented a staggering 17% of all road deaths in California. Given their lack of visibility, stability and protection compared to motor vehicles, motorcycles will always be a riskier form of transportation.

For more than two decades, Ellis Law Corporation has been advocating for motorcyclists harmed by negligent drivers. Our award-winning legal team has the skills and expertise to take on the most challenging of cases and secure full compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses. Call 1-800-INJURED to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer.

Additional “motorcycle accident statistics” resources:

  1. RideApart, 10 Common Motorcycle Accidents and How To Avoid Them https://rideapart.com/articles/10-common-motorcycle-accidents-and-how-to-avoid-them
  2. InsuranceInformation Institute, Motorcycle Crashes http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes
  3. Consumer Reports, Motorcycle Fatalities Rose 10 Percent in 2015 http://www.consumerreports.org/motorcycles-scooters/article-on-motorcycle-fatalities/

Could Your Motorcycle Accident Have Been Caused by Defective Tires?

A motorcycle’s tires play a critical safety role, affecting its traction, braking and overall handling on the highway. Unfortunately, design and manufacturing defects can lead to early tire failure and dangerous blowouts, causing bikers to lose control and crash. In the event of an accident caused by defective tires, motorcycle riders are at grave risk for catastrophic injury and death, particularly when traveling at high speeds.

Defective tires can fail prematurely due to design flaws, improper mounting or poor quality control during the manufacturing process. According to a recent report by the National Transportation Safety Board, only 20 percent of defective tires in the U.S. are actually recalled, and in 2015, a staggering 19,000 Americans were injured in tire-related crashes.

Unfortunately, some tire defects aren’t obvious to the naked eye, so we’ve put together a list of warning signs to watch out for.

Visually inspect for tire defects

Design defects, such as those that affected 170,000 Continental motorcycle tires that were recalled in 2014, can lead to sudden air pressure loss and tread separation. The following are early warning signs of motorcycle tire defects:

  • Blisters or bubbles in the tire walls
  • Tread that is excessively or unevenly worn
  • Repeated and sudden loss of inflation
  • Deep cracks in the tire sidewalls

Was your accident caused by defective tires?

If you were seriously harmed in a motorcycle accident and believe that faulty tires were to blame, you may be able to pursue compensation by filing a personal injury claim. But how do you prove that tire defects caused the crash? Only a thorough investigation will determine what caused the accident, and which parties may be held liable for your injuries and economic damages.

Had you just installed new tires before the accident occurred? Did one or both of your tires start wobbling or vibrating wildly just before you lost control? Did your front wheel suddenly deflate or blow out, causing you to skid off the road and crash? Did you hear strange loud noises coming from your tires before losing control? Did the tire tread separate from the body of the tire? All of these scenarios suggest further investigation that your tires were defective.

Who is liable for defective tires that cause an accident?

The majority of tire defects stem from design flaws, or mistakes made during the manufacturing process. When tire defects are responsible for a victim’s injury or death, there are various parties that may be held liable in court of law. Potential defendants include tire manufacturers, designers and even the dealership where the bike was sold.  An attorney experienced in product recalls and defects will be able to identify at-fault parties and can outline what kind of evidence is required in such product liability cases.

With skilled legal representation, victims of defective tire accidents can recover a host of damages, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Future loss of earnings
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage to the motorcycle

Tire blowouts, bead and tread separations and sidewall failures have caused countless motorcycle injuries and fatalities on our country’s roadways. If you or someone you love was injured in a tire-related crash, the legal team at Ellis Injury Law is here to help protect your rights and secure the best recovery possible.

Schedule a free consultation with Ellis Injury Law

Our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers have the practical and technical expertise to determine whether tire defects caused your crash, and have successfully represented clients in product liability litigation throughout California. For assistance filing your claim, or to schedule a free legal consultation with an award-winning personal injury law firm that gets results, please call 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Motorcycle Tire Defect Resources:

  1. Consumerist, System For Recalling Defective Tires Is “Broken,” Says Federal Safety Agency https://consumerist.com/2015/10/27/system-for-recalling-defective-tires-is-broken-says-federal-safety-agency/
  2. Tire Safety Group, CONTINENTAL RECALLS 170,000 MOTORCYCLE TIRES http://www.tiresafetygroup.com/continental-recalls-170000-motorcycle-tires/
  3. Consumer Affairs, Tire Recalls https://www.consumeraffairs.com/tire-recalls
  4. Consumer Reports, Beware these early warning signs of tire failure http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2012/03/early-warning-signs-of-tire-failure/index.htm

Protecting Yourself Before a Motorcycle Accident

Even the most experienced motorcycle riders need to take extra precautions to protect themselves against serious accidents. California has one of the nation’s largest populations of motorcyclists who face real dangers every time they hit the road. All it takes is just one motorist who is eating, chatting on their cell phone or texting behind the wheel to turn your life upside down. Beyond the hazards of distracted and negligent drivers, there is the problem of zero visibility as many vehicle drivers simply don’t “see” motorcycles in traffic.

Motorcycle rider deaths represent 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in California. Those bikers who do survive a collision frequently suffer crippling injuries that entail hospitalization, massive medical bills and months of lost wages. The repercussions can be even worse in cases where the at-fault driver has minimum liability insurance ($15,000) or, even worse, no insurance at all. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, a staggering one in every 8 drivers is uninsured.

If you are an avid motorcycle rider, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and reduce your chances of suffering severe injury.

Buy UM/UIM Coverage

If you are in a crash with an uninsured or underinsured driver, you will likely be stuck with costly medical bills, repair bills and other financial losses. No biker should ever ride without purchasing the best uninsured/underinsured coverage they can afford. A UM/UIM policy is your safety net, and will cover everything from property damage to bodily injuries and hospital bills. In addition, UM with bodily injury may also cover lost wages and pain and suffering. A $200,000 or $300,000 UM/UIM policy will improve your chances of achieving a full recovery in the event of a serious motorcycle accident.

Take a motorcycle safety course

Every rider can benefit from a motorcycle refresher course – even the most veteran of bikers. Look for classes offered by the Department of Transportation (DOT) geared to your specific skill level. Classes are tailored for novice and experienced motorcyclists and include motorcycle operation basics, crash avoidance techniques and defensive driving strategies.

Get the right motorcycle gear

Protective riding gear offers a critical buffer between you and your surroundings and can help save your life in the event of a crash. Before your hit the road, be sure you’re properly suited up with:

  • DOT-certified helmet to protect against head trauma and brain injury
  • Full-fingered motorcycle gloves made of leather or abrasive-resistant fabric
  • Ankle-high steel-toed boots with rubber composite soles
  • Long sleeve protective clothing over the body made of leather, denim or Kevlar to help prevent road rash

Check bike condition and/or mechanical issues

Whether you own a sport bike or a Harley, always check for potential mechanical issues before setting out. This includes tire treads, oil and fluid levels, brakes, belts, kickstand condition, turn signals, head and tail lights and battery condition.

Legal guidance for motorcycle riders

The Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys at Ellis Law have spent more than 20 years helping victims throughout Southern California obtain justice and fair compensation. If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, we invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation by calling 1-800-INJURED.

Additional Motorcycle Safety Resources:

  1. Consumer Reports, 10 Motorcycle safety tips for new riders http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm
  2. LA Times, Motorcycle deaths jump nationwide but fall in California. Why? http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-motorcycle-fatalities-20160517-snap-story.html
  3. Allstate, Motorcycle Riders: Pick the Proper Protective Gear https://blog.allstate.com/riders-protective-gear-is-good/
  4. Insurance.com, Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/coverage/uninsured-underinsured-motorist-coverage.html

Motorcycle Riding on California Freeways? Follow Trusted Safety Tips

motorcycle rider in los angeles californiaMotorcycle riding on California’s freeways can be a great pastime. Our state’s vistas are unparalleled and motorcyclists can experience mountains, oceans, and forests up close and personal.

At the same time, driving a motorcycle can be more dangerous than driving a car. Motorcyclists struck by another vehicle are not encased in material that cushions the blow. Rain or snow on the freeways in an amount that wouldn’t affect a car can make a motorcycle go into a skid. A pothole can be life threatening, because it can cause a motorcyclist to be ejected from his or her seat. Road hazards like debris are similarly dangerous.

Since 2000, fatalities due to motorcycle accidents have risen 55% according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Nationwide, more than 4,500 people died as a result of motorcycle accidents in 2010, the most recent statistics available.

Rules to maximize motorcycle safety

Motorcyclists therefore need to follow good safety rules.

Clothing and Gear

  • Dress and ride for visibility. It is very important that other vehicle operators and pedestrians be able to see you, as a preventive measure. Your clothing should be bright or reflective. Use your headlights and, if you have them, running lights.
  • Wear a helmet. Under California law, motorcyclists are required to wear a U.S. Department of Transportation-compliant motorcycle safety helmet. Helmets cut down on head and other injuries.
  • Wear protective apparel. To protect yourself not only from other vehicles but from the motorcycle itself, wear long and heavy pants, closed boots, a long sleeved jacket with reflective material, and leather gloves.


  • Ride a safe distance behind other vehicles to avoid collision. You should be able to stop in the space you see between yourself and another vehicle or a pedestrian.
  • Watch the road. Keep alert to road conditions — remember that potholes, debris, and other unusual or sudden road conditions can be dangerous.
  • Keep alert for signs of changes in driver behavior. Keep an eye on signs that indicate changes in driver behavior: turn signals, brake lights, or even slowing in a way that indicates a car, truck or other cycle might stop.
  • Exercise caution when changing lanes. Check, of course, to see if there is space for you to move into another lane. Be sure to check that no one else is trying to move into the empty spot.

Riding in Groups

  • Use a ride captain when operating in groups. They can plan the route, make sure everyone knows it, and keep riders focused and alert.
  • Ride in staggered formation. Side-by-side riding is not optimally safe in a group. In staggered formation, one rider is at the right side of the lane and the next rides on the left side of the same lane. The group repeats that formation. It improves visibility of the road ahead.

If you need to talk to an attorney

If you or a loved one was injured or killed in a motorcycle accident, you need an experienced lawyer working on your case. At Ellis Law, we vigorously advocate for you and your family’s rights.

Call us at 1-800-INJURED to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with one of our team of California motorcycle accident lawyers. We can help you determine your rights and appropriate legal action.

Additional “motorcycle safety tips” resources

  1. State of California, Department of Motor Vehicles. Motorcycle Handbook: Preparing to Ride. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/?1dmy&urile=wcm:path:/dmv_content_en/dmv/pubs/dl655/mcycle_htm/preparing

Insurance-Related Problems and Solutions for Motorcycle Crash Victims

motorcycle crash

California motorcyclists who get involved in accidents are fortunate if they survive, but they often face serious injuries and perhaps permanent disabilities. The inherent dangers of motorcycles can result in traumatic brain damage, spinal cord injuries, substantial soft tissue damage, and broken or amputated limbs. Adding insult to injury, insurance carriers are only interested in their bottom line. It isn’t in their best interests to give crash survivors the fair settlement they need and deserve to cover medical bills, property damage, and lost wages.

Instead of facing the insurance company alone when you’re injured, call the personal injury lawyers at Ellis Law. Our experienced legal team truly cares about supporting your recovery from your accident. We’ll apply our razor-sharp negotiating skills and in-depth knowledge of the insurance industry to get you the compensation you deserve.

Liability issues in California motorcycle crashes

California is a fault-based or tort liability state. This means that after a motorcycle accident, the insurance carrier is required to pay in accordance with the degree of fault attributed to each party. In other words, if a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel and collides with a motorcyclist who is riding in accordance with the rules of the road, then the truck driver would likely be considered 100 percent at fault for the crash. In this instance, the truck driver’s insurance carrier would be liable for all of the damages.

But what happens if the truck driver tries to claim that the motorcyclist swerved into the wrong lane or was going at a reckless speed? The insurance carrier may try to avoid paying 100 percent of the damages by shifting blame to the other party. This is one reason why it’s essential for motorcyclists to hire a personal injury lawyer after a crash.

Verbal and written statements after a motorbike crash

Following a crash, it’s essential that motorcyclists avoid making any statements to the other party or to the insurance carrier without consulting a lawyer first. These statements may be used as evidence that the motorcyclist was at least partially at fault for the crash.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit

It’s often effective for lawyers to negotiate with the insurance carrier directly to get fair compensation for the motorcyclist. But when this fails, a lawsuit may be necessary. Compared to no-fault states, it’s more common for accident cases in fault-based states to be resolved with a lawsuit rather than negotiations. If the insurance carrier tries to deny the accident victim just compensation for losses, a lawyer can argue the case in court.

At Ellis Law, our Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers understand the frustration of insurance-related problems following a motorcycle accident. While you’re recovering from your injuries, the last thing you need is an insurance company dragging its heels on giving you fair compensation for medical bills, property damage and more.

The Ellis Law Firm in Los Angeles will work tirelessly to protect your legal rights and represent your best interests—both in and out of the courtroom. Call us today at 1-800-INJURED to request your complimentary, no-obligation case review.

Additional “insurance and legal issues after motorcycle accidents” resources

  1. Insurance Information Institute, Motorcycle Crashes, http://www.iii.org/issue-update/motorcycle-crashes
  2. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Costs of Injuries Resulting from Motorcycle Crashes, https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/motorcycle_html/overview.html