Unlicensed Motorcyclists at Increased Risk of Injury or Fatality
It is the law: North Carolina motorcycle drivers must carry licenses with motorcycle endorsements or motorcycle learners’ permits to operate motorcycles on public roads within the state. Even though similar requirements exist throughout the U.S., the 2013 statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that fatally-injured motorcycle drivers were 17 percent more likely to be operating without licenses than in 2011.
Our Charlotte motorcycle accident lawyers have seen too many cases where unlicensed riders experienced significant legal challenges after suffering injuries, even when they were not at fault for their accidents. Riders need to understand why licensing is so important — and why it is definitely worth the effort.
The Benefits of Motorcycle Licenses
Motorcycle license endorsements are not just red tape. Earning an endorsement means that riders have gained the basic knowledge, skills, and experience behind operating a dangerous vehicle by meeting the following requirements:
- They require motorcyclists to learn about the special risks of operating motorcycles.
- They ensure that riders know all rules of the road, including those pertaining specifically to motorcycles. Without this knowledge, they cannot pass the written test that is required to obtain the first endorsement.
- They illustrate that riders have the specific skills needed to operate motorcycles safely by requiring them to pass a driving skills test to obtain the initial endorsement.
All too often, individuals see motorcycles as bicycles with motors. They are commonly tempted by the perceived freedom and fun to jump on and hit the road with little or no training. They may have the skills needed to maneuver their vehicles down the road, but they have no knowledge of the many risks involved with sharing that road with other vehicles. They may or may not wear helmets, and they do not consider whether or not other vehicle drivers can even see them until it is too late.
Receiving a motorcycle endorsement helps mitigate these concerns, which is why licensed riders are more likely to live to ride another day.
Unlicensed Riders Can Face Challenges When Dealing With Injuries
Unfortunately, the public perception of bikers is not a good one. Even when riders obey every law when struck by negligent drivers who did not see them, those riders are likely to experience challenges due to negative perceptions. Insurance companies of the at-fault drivers may deny claims, and their motorcycle accident lawyers typically have to work hard to offset jury attitudes against bikers before a case goes into deliberations.
Bikers need a backup plan to pay for injuries in the event that false-negative public perceptions prevail. In addition to carrying state-required liability insurance, bikers are well-advised to carry coverage for medical payments. Unfortunately, unlicensed bikers are also uninsured bikers since the North Carolina law requires motorcycle endorsements to purchase insurance.
With or without licenses, motorcyclists benefit from the support of a legal advocate who understands the special challenges posed by public attitudes. Call us at 800-948-0577 or use our convenient online contact form to learn how we can help.