3 Things to Check If Your Motorcycle Won’t Start

July 28, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists look forward to their ride. So there’s nothing worse than going out, all set for a wonderful Southern California

Motorcycle headlight in perspective Close up photoMotorcyclists look forward to their ride. So there’s nothing worse than going out, all set for a wonderful Southern California weekend…and finding out that your motorcycle won’t start. Zip. Na-Da.

What do you do? There are multiple things that will stop a motorcycle from starting. Check some simple ones first. In many cases the issue can be fixed simply and safely.

Here are the three things to check first.

The fuel level is too low

Yes. Check the fuel level before you do anything. Unfortunately, motorcycle mechanics see people come in bewildered that their motorcycle won’t start all the time…only to find out that they’re almost out of gas.

It could be that it’s been several months since you last rode, so you simply didn’t remember that the gauge was low. It could be that you have teenagers around who took the motorcycle for an unscheduled spin, and neglected to tell you about it.

It needs to be started in a different way

Motorcycles are definitely not all one size fits all when it comes to how they start. Some are designed not to start until the bike is in neutral. Some require drivers to always have the clutch in. Especially if you are riding a new motorcycle or have not acquired complete familiarity with it, you may simply be missing one of the essential steps to starting your model.

With the rise of computerization, starting it is an increasingly complex task. It’s a good idea to get out the manual and go step by step through the instructions for starting. Make sure a step that is not obvious wasn’t skipped along the way.

The battery is dead

If batteries aren’t used, they will slowly fade away. This is especially true if your battery is older or you haven’t ridden often.

One caution here: motorcycles are complex enough that it’s not always wise to simply jump start them as you would a car. It can be safer to take it into a shop and have the battery tested.

Plus, if you are going on a holiday or weekend ride, you want to make sure that the battery is strong enough to still be working when it’s time to come back. A new battery might be the safest bet.

Be safe – don’t tinker until it starts

Unless you are a skilled mechanic, never try to fix a motorcycle that doesn’t start. Fuel lines, sparks, combustion, and computerization make motorcycle repair a complex and even potentially dangerous process. Plus, even if you can get it to start, it may not be fully repaired if you don’t fully understand the issue.

Don’t risk your life and limb, or the lives and limbs of others, by trying to fix a motorcycle whose difficulty may need experienced motorcycle repair people to assess and fix.

Do you need an L.A. motorcycle accident lawyer?

If you need an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in the Los Angeles region, contact the Salamati Law Firm. We have an excellent record of obtaining justice for clients in motorcycle accidents and other vehicle accidents throughout Southern California.

Call us at 888-259-4060. We will provide a consultation at no charge. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount.

More on what to do when your motorcycle won’t start:

  1. “What To Do When Your Motorcycle Won’t Start.” Cruiser. http://www.motorcyclecruiser.com/what-to-do-when-your-motorcycle-wont-start
  2. “5 Reasons Your Motorcycle Won’t Start & Goes to the Shop.” YouMotorcycle. http://www.youmotorcycle.com/motorcycle-wont-start.html
Read More

California Motorcycle Accidents Spike During Summer Months

June 15, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

When the temperatures climb upward and warm weather entices people outdoors, hospitals prepare for “trauma season.” California — renowned for

Biker riding on motorcycle near the river in the city.When the temperatures climb upward and warm weather entices people outdoors, hospitals prepare for “trauma season.” California — renowned for its scenic byways, stunning coastal views and temperate climate – has nearly 1,000,000 registered motorcycles and is rated among the best states to enjoy this popular pastime. Summer’s balmy weather and longer days means even more motorcycles on the road, but it’s also a time marked by increasing numbers of crashes.

Motorcycle accidents often leave victims with incapacitating injury including broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord and traumatic brain injury. Those motorcyclists who are lucky enough to survive a crash with a car or truck may be left paralyzed or grappling with other long-term disabilities.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents in 2015 – an 8.3% spike from the previous year. Due to Southern California’s large number of motorcycle enthusiasts, it’s not surprising that dozens of these fatalities occurred in San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles Counties.

Motorcycle accident statistics in California

The California Highway Patrol issues a comprehensive report of non-fatal and fatal motorcycle crashes through the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). The most recent California statistics, issued in 2013, paint a sobering picture.

  • The number of motorcycle fatalities were highest between the months of April – August
  • ​11,780 motorcycle riders were harmed in collisions
  • ​More than 460 motorcyclists were killed
  • Motorcyclists were, for every mile traveled, 26 times more likely to die in a crash compared to passenger car drivers and occupants

Traffic safety experts caution that many of these crashes occur at busy intersections or in situations where a motorist makes a left hand turn directly into the biker. Statistics also show that nearly a quarter of all injury accidents involved motorcyclists who were impaired by alcohol (with a BAC above the legal limit).

Research coupled with anecdotal evidence show that experience, age and the type and size of motorcycle also factor in to the chances of being involved in an accident. In California, riders between the ages of 25 and 34 are at highest risk of being involved in a crash. More than 40 percent of motorcycle deaths occurred on “sport” bikes with large engines ranging more than 500 cc’s.

Regardless of age, level of experience or type of bike used, motorcyclists are encouraged to stay ultra -vigilant on the road this summer. Wearing a DOT-approved helmet, protective gear and being prepared for the unexpected can go a long way toward preventing a serious injury accident.

At the Salamati Law Firm,  we encourage you to have fun, but ride smart in California. In the event you are injured by a negligent driver, our legal team will fight hard to ensure you are properly compensated for medical expenses, property damage to your bike, lost wages and your pain and suffering.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney

To learn more about filing a personal injury claim, contact a Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyer at Salamati Law today. The case evaluation is free, and we operate on a “no win no fee” basis, so there are never any upfront legal costs.

Additional Motorcycle Accident Statistics Resources:

  1. California Highway Patrol, 2013 Annual Report of Fatal and Injury Motor Vehicle Traffic Collisions https://www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services/services-information/switrs-internet-statewide-integrated-traffic-records-system/switrs-2013-report
  2. NHTSA, Motorcycles https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/motorcycles
  3. CA Office of Traffic Safety, CALIFORNIA TRAFFIC SAFETY QUICK STATS http://www.ots.ca.gov/OTS_and_Traffic_Safety/Score_Card.asp
Read More

May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

May 12, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

May is Motorcycle Safety Month across the nation. Unfortunately, even though motorcycles constitute just 3% of all registered vehicles and

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt roadMay is Motorcycle Safety Month across the nation. Unfortunately, even though motorcycles constitute just 3% of all registered vehicles and are responsible for just 0.7% of all the miles traveled in the United States, motorcycle drivers and passengers made up 14% of all fatalities in traffic in 2014, the last year for which statistics are available. They made up 4% of all vehicle occupant injuries that year as well.

Nearly 5,000 motorcyclists died in vehicle crashes in 2015, both drivers and passengers. The same year, there were 88,000 injuries on motorcycles.

Almost 33% of riders in 2014 showed alcohol impairment. Over 30% of motorcycle accidents in 2015 involved speeding.

Helmets are key to motorcycle safety

The data is clear on one key safety point. A helmet is a motorcyclist’s friend, and the single most crucial piece of safety equipment for motorcyclists, both drivers and passengers.

Of total motorcycle fatalities in 2015, 1,922 drivers and passengers had no helmet on. That’s roughly 38% of total fatalities.

Drivers should be aware of the following facts when buying a helmet:

  • The most protection is provided by a full-coverage helmet.
  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) guarantees that the helmet incorporates legal safety standards. Helmets display a DOT sticker verifying these safety standards.
  • Do not purchase a used helmet.

Re-entry motorcycle riders at greater risk of injury

One group needs to take special care to ensure they ride safely. That is “re-entry riders.” These are motorcyclists who began riding in their 20s and then re-entered in their late 40s to 60s. This group alone suffered 35% of total fatalities on motorcycles in 2015.

One issue is that traffic conditions have changed since re-entry riders were younger. There is more traffic nearly everywhere. Distracted driving was an issue that rarely existed 20 to 40 years ago, and is very prevalent now.

Bikes are more powerful now, and re-entry riders may not be used to them. In addition, the reaction time, strength, and resilience of re-entry riders may not be what it once was.

Re-entry riders are urged to reacquaint themselves with safety procedures and best practices on a bike.

Watch out for drivers of other vehicles

Cars, trucks, and vans make up the majority of vehicles on the road by far. They are larger than motorcycles and thus can cause significant injury or death in a crash. Motorcyclists, even with helmets, are not protected as much as drivers of other vehicles.

Second, in the event of a vehicle/motorcycle collision, it is often the fault of the other vehicle not respecting the motorcycle’s right of way, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The reasons? There are four:

  • The size of motorcycles and the failure of other motorists to “read” the traffic for motorcycles often means they aren’t noticed in the same way as other vehicles.
  • Vehicle drivers don’t anticipate moves like lane changes on the part of motorcycles.
  • A vehicle driver’s vision may be obstructed by blind spots or other vehicles in the way.
  • Vehicle drivers may be driving distractedly, either due to smartphone use or other sources.

It is imperative that motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers drive defensively to avoid accidents.

Experienced motorcycle accident lawyer in Southern California

Motorcycle accidents result in fatalities, injuries, and damage to property every year in the Los Angeles area and around the country.

If you or a loved one has been killed or injured in a motorcycle accident, the Salamati Law Firm can help. We are experienced in motorcycle law and precedent. Payment will come from any final jury award or settlement amount. Call today for a complimentary consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Los Angeles.

Additional motorcycle safety resources:

  1. National Safety Council. Injury Facts: The Source for Safety Data. http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/injury-facts.aspx
  2. National Safety Council. Motorcycle Safety Is a Two-Way Street. http://www.nsc.org/learn/safety-knowledge/Pages/Motorcycle-Safety.aspx
  3. U.S. Department of Transportation. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Motorcycle Safety Foundation. National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, Table of Contents. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/pedbimot/motorcycle/00-NHT-212-motorcycle/toc.html
Read More

5 Reasons to Always Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

January 4, 2017 Motorcycle Accidents

Hard data shows that the use of motorcycle helmets saves lives – hundreds of them each and every day. Riding

Driver riding motorcycle on the empty asphalt road

Hard data shows that the use of motorcycle helmets saves lives – hundreds of them each and every day. Riding without the benefit of protective gear puts motorcyclists at increased risk for severe head injuries, lasting brain trauma and death. According to recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmet use among riders can prevent up to 37 percent of fatalities, and states with strict helmet laws – including California – report fewer motorcycle accident related deaths.

California Vehicle Codes 27802 and 27803 stipulate that all riders must wear safety helmets when operating or riding passenger on a motorcycle. Failure to do so can result in steep fines, but even more importantly, wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of injury. While many seasoned bikers relish the freedom of riding without a protective helmet, here are five compelling reasons why you should never hit the road without wearing one.

5 Reasons to Wear a Motorcycle Helmet

  1. Protection from serious head trauma – It doesn’t take a high speed collision to leave a biker with lasting injuries caused by head trauma. Even the smallest of spills can result in permanent harm when motorcyclists forgo a safety helmet. Bikers who wear helmets are three times more likely to survive a head injury compared to those who do not wear helmets, according to the National Traffic Highway Safety Administration.
  2. It’s the law in California – California motorcycle laws state that it is illegal to operate a motorcycle if the driver or any passenger is not wearing a DOT compliant helmet. Motorcyclists who fail to wear helmets run the risk of being pulled over, ticketed and fined.
  3. Increased weather protection – Helmets with clear visors help to protect eyes from wind, dust, rain and sun glare, thus reducing vision impairments and increasing comfort. Furthermore, research has shown that motorcycle helmet use does not interfere with vision or hearing.
  4. Road debris protection – Road debris and environmental obstacles are of serious concern for all motorcyclists who may be forced to contend with rocks, gravel and other fallen materials from vehicles ahead. Helmets that are equipped with faceguards can protect the face and eyes from flying objects and debris that can cause a crash.
  5. Better visibility – An estimated 30 percent of motorcycle-car crashes occur because the vehicle driver fails to register the motorcyclist. Helmet use, along with reflective clothing, can help increase visibility and prevent accidents.

Legal advocacy in Los Angeles

There is ample evidence demonstrating that helmet use decreases the number of motorcycle accident brain injuries and deaths. Motorcycle riding is exhilarating, but also inherently more hazardous than driving a car. If you were injured in an accident and need skilled legal assistance, call the Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers at the Salamati Law Firm for a free case review.

Attorney Sean F. Salamati is well-versed in California legislation regarding motorcycle rider rights and offers his services on a contingency-fee basis. Arrange your free consult today.

Additional California motorcycle helmet law resources

  1. BikersRights.com, Mandatory Helmet Law http://www.bikersrights.com/states/california/california.html
  2. California DMV, California Motorcycle Handbook https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/wcm/connect/af13374c-aa57-4f2b-9ac9-aa3fdc419cc9/dl665.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
  3. CDC, Helmet Use Among Motorcyclists Who Died in Crashes and Economic Cost Savings Associated With State Motorcycle Helmet Laws — United States, 2008–2010 https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6123a1.htm
Read More

California Becomes First State To Allow Lane Splitting For Motorcyclists

December 20, 2016 Motorcycle Accidents

California becomes the first state in the union to define rules for cars and motorcycles to share the road with

motorbike rides on the street

California becomes the first state in the union to define rules for cars and motorcycles to share the road with the passage of a bold new law set to go into effect on January 1, 2017.  Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorneys at the Salamati Firm say the passage of AB 51 can be an incredible asset to a personal injury lawsuit, but does not necessarily guarantee safety for motorcyclists or motorists.

Old California lane splitting rules

Lane splitting is a practice where motorcycles pass other vehicles moving in the same direction, within the same lane. Though it has been used by motorcyclists as a way to lessen congestion and help them maneuver out of harm’s way for decades, there has been no law explicitly allowing or prohibiting it. According to the OC Register, lane splitting sparks contention among some motorists, who say “it is reckless and burdens them to be on guard.”

Prior to August 19th 2016, California lane splitting rules were more like informal guidelines, asking that drivers and cyclists practice “common-sense traffic safety”. The law recommended that riders wear protective gear, abstain from intoxicating substances, avoid blind spots, and “ride responsibly,” within the designated speed limit. Motorists were expected to “stay alert” and use common courtesy on the road, allowing motorcycles to pass.

The publication of guidelines for safe lane splitting on the California Highway Patrol website in 2012 sparked a formal complaint from an individual who said there was no regulatory basis for the recommendations, calling them “underground regulations.” For a time, the CHP removed the guidelines from its website and curtailed their educational outreach campaigns, but they have resurfaced in a formal new bill.

New California lane splitting laws

The new California lane splitting law is still in the process of being drafted, but it will give the California Highway Patrol the authority to create laws on lane splitting. They also agreed to consult the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Transportation, the Office of Traffic Safety, and a motorcyclist safety organization to draft the legislation.

The previously published CHP guidelines stated:

  • Lane splitting by motorcyclists is not illegal in California when done in a safe and prudent manner.
  • Motorists should not take it upon themselves to discourage motorcyclists from lane splitting.
  • Intentionally blocking or impeding a motorcyclist in a way that could cause harm to the rider is illegal.
  • Opening a vehicle door to impede a motorcycle is illegal.

They reminded drivers to avoid driving distracted, check mirrors and blind spots, signal before merging or changing lanes, and allowing 3-4 seconds of following distance when trailing a motorcycle rider.

Additional guidelines in the new California lane splitting law are expected to include:

  • The maximum speed motorcyclists are allowed to travel when lane-splitting is 30 mph.
  • The maximum speed motorcyclists can travel when lane-splitting in heavy traffic is 10 mph faster.
  • Lane splitting is safest in the furthest left lane, away from ramps or exits, and not around other lane splitters.

Furthermore, authorities say, it is not safe to lane split when:

  • There is no room to fit due to narrow lanes or wide motor vehicles like trucks, buses and RVs.
  • Dangerous road conditions exist like water, grit, construction, slippery pavement, metal grates, etc.
  • There is a blocked view and no visible way to get out of the space.
  • The road is curved.
  • Cyclists are not fully alert, aware and comfortable with the surroundings.

The more specific recommendations are based upon a 2015 study out of UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. The OC Register says that an earlier version of AB51 would have prohibited lane-splitting above 50 mph or more than 15 mph faster than traffic, but the CHP struck these details from the bill because they wanted to comprehensively study what will work best. At its heart, the law will clarify to motorists that “lane-splitting is legal”, and serve as a reminder to motorcyclists “not to go too fast.”

California motorcycle accident lawyer

Formally defining lane splitting guidelines is a good step toward improved traffic safety in California. Motorcyclists who lane-split will be viewed as acting in accordance with the law, rather than brazen outlaws. Ideally, motorists will allow a little more time and space for these exchanges to take place. Unfortunately, laws cannot create perfect conditions for every situation and every driver. When accidents occur, the lawyers at the Salamati Firm will find an easier time assigning fault and pointing to areas of negligence with these laws more clearly defined.

Additional CA lane splitting resources:

Read More

Los Angeles Reports Spate of Motorcycle Accident Fatalities

October 27, 2016 Motorcycle Accidents

Recent headlines in the Los Angeles area underscore the dangers facing motorcyclists today. Motorcycle crashes and fatalities continue to be

Recent headlines in the Los Angeles area underscore the dangers facing motorcyclists today. Motorcycle crashes and fatalities continue to be an epidemic of tragic proportions in the LA metro area, with at least four deaths reported in the last few weeks. Police investigations commonly find reckless driving, road hazards and excess speed to be contributing factors in motorcycle-vehicle crashes, though distracted driving and alcohol impairment are often cited as well.

When careless motorists cause serious injury or death on California’s roads, victims have the law on their side. Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney Sean F. Salamati discusses liability issues and some of the more recent fatal crashes that made the news.

Recent motorcycle crashes claim lives

In late September, a left turn accident claimed the life of two people in Riverside.  Police say that a 61-year-old woman was waiting to make a turn onto Kearney Street, and as she turned her SUV left from Columbia Avenue, a motorcyclist and his passenger crashed into the vehicle. The impact of the collision ejected the biker and his passenger from the motorcycle, killing both.

Just two days later, downtown Los Angeles was the scene of a separate fatal motorcycle crash. According to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, a motorcyclist was struck by the Metro Expo Line train around 1:30 a.m. on Washington Boulevard and Flower Street. Investigators claim the motorcyclist was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the fatal collision, which marks the first traffic fatality on the light-rail line.

Just two weeks ago, another motorcyclist died in a North Hills van accident, which happened in the  5100 block of Nordhoff Street. Officials say that the 28-year old victim, David Villatoro, smashed into the side of a passenger van that was carrying three people. Investigations are still pending, but police say that the biker’s speed was a definite factor in the accident.

Determining fault in accidents

Driver error is one of the most common causes of motorcycle and vehicle accidents. Motorists who fail to obey traffic laws, blow through a stop light, fail to yield the right of way, or make lane changes without checking their blind spot are at high risk of being involved in serious accidents.

More often than not, personal injury actions arising from motorcycle crashes are based on theories of negligence. When the driver of a passenger vehicle operates their car in a negligent manner and their actions or omissions cause injury to another, the motorcyclist has a valid claim for compensation.

Liability may also be assigned to defective or malfunctioning vehicle parts that caused the motorcycle rider to lose control and crash. Poorly designed or defective brakes and tires contribute to dozens of motorcycle accidents every year. In cases like these, victims may sue for damages in a product liability claim.

To discuss your options for legal recourse in the wake of a motorcycle accident, call Salamati Law at 888-259-4060. You may be entitled to seek damages for medical expenses, lost income, permanent disability, emotional hardships and other losses. All consultations are free and without obligation — call today!


Read More