Motorcyclists Don’t Ride in Cages—Legislature Responds with Special Law for Riders

Sunday’s tragic crash on Old Pacific Highway critically injuring an off-duty solider is a stark reminder that not all roadway users are created equal.

Motorcycle riders call cars and trucks “cages”. Like any clever saying there are two meanings. The first is figurative. People who drive cars or trucks don’t get to experience freedom. The second is literal. The steel framework and bodies of cars and trucks (e.g., the “roll cage”) protect their drivers.

There are lots of car versus car collisions that don’t cause injuries. Not the case when it comes to car or truck versus motorcycle accidents.

Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than people driving cages like cars or trucks. That’s why Washington enacted the Vulnerable User Law in 2011—a law intended to better protect “vulnerable users” (e.g., motorcyclists, bicyclists and even scooter riders). Under the Vulnerable User Law a person who injures a vulnerable user while committing a negligent traffic infraction faces much stricter fines and punishments that they would otherwise face:

Under the [Vulnerable User Law] a driver committing a traffic infraction—such as speeding, texting while driving or running a red light—that results in the serious injury or death of a vulnerable roadway user will face an automatic fine of up to $5,000 and a 90-day suspension of driving privileges.

Injuries after a motorcycle, bicycle or scooter accident are usually pretty serious. In most cases the negligent driver’s insurance policy limits aren’t sufficient to cover all damages.  Additional sources of recovery—UIM and third parties—need to be evaluated. An experienced personal injury attorney can help vulnerable users maximize their recovery.

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