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How to Play it Safe With Pokemon Go

Stabbings, robberies, trespassing, a dead body? This is not the 6 o'clock news.

It's the stark reality of the augmented reality game, Pokemon Go. Where players catch Pokemon by physically going to areas called PokeStops.

Hidden Dangers Playing Pokemon Go

Pokemon aren't the only characters hiding at these PokeStops. Criminals are too. They're lurking at PokeStops, and robbing and assaulting people who are looking for Pokemon.

Even getting to the PokeStops can cause hazards. Drivers are staring at their cell phones while driving in an attempt to catch Pokemon. And it's causing car wrecks. Some have even stopped their cars in the middle of the road for a catch!

People have walked into streets, zombie-like, with their eyes glued to their phones and been hit by cars. They've wandered onto military firing ranges, crashed weddings and even funerals for a catch. Sadly, a teenaged boy was shot and killed while playing near Guatemala City late at night.

Worldwide Pokemania

Just like a real scavenger hunt, this virtual hunt can be delightfully addictive! Pokemon Go allows you to enter the world of augmented reality through an app that uses GPS and augmentation technology to enable players to search for nearby Pokemon. The object of the game is to "catch 'em all."

It also offers a way for gamers and screen jockeys - anyone, really - to get up, get out, and get moving.

Within the first two weeks of the game's July 5, 2016 release, the app topped 15 million downloads, surpassing Facebook and Snapchat. Many churches and businesses have been promoting the app by becoming a PokeStop or by informing players of a Pokemon at their location in order to increase traffic and attention to their site.

pokemonGotta Catch 'em All!

The app requires that you walk around to locate Pokemon, so the game has been described as a great way to explore points of interest in your town or other areas. And it has been described as a great way to meet people or get some exercise. By looking at your phone screen, you can see the character superimposed onto your actual surroundings - just like you see in the image here.

Our headquarters overlooks the Durham Bulls Baseball Stadium, and we got to see first-hand how addictive this game can be when they opened the stadium to the public and dozens of Pokemon seekers of all ages converged on the baseball field to catch Pokemon. And not all Pokemon were outside our building. In fact, one of our paralegals captured Pidgedy during her lunch break right inside our hallways.

Pokemon and Potential Hazards

Falling victim to a crime or stumbling upon a crime

Four teens in Missouri were arrested after committing numerous armed robberies by using the Pokemon Go app to lure their victims to secluded areas. Another teenager in Wyoming was on a quest to find a water Pokemon, when instead she found a dead body floating in the lake.

Injuring yourself

Risking your life is not the key to winning Pokemon Go. One Pokemon gamer was stabbed by a man after the gamer asked if the man wanted to "battle." Obviously intending to battle on the app was not as clear to the attacker. After being stabbed, the gamer continued on his quest to find what he was looking for instead of immediately going to the hospital for medical treatment!

Accidents from distracted driving and walking

Pokemon can pop up anywhere any time. Whether you're walking down the street and Jigglypuff pops up a block away or you're driving and Charmander is at the corner store. Accidents can happen, even to the most attentive Pokemon player. People have gotten into accidents (even crashing into police cars) and have been hit by cars because they were distracted by the game instead of paying attention to their surroundings.

Trespassing

Trespassing has become epidemic since the release of Pokemon Go. Often Pokemon only appear at certain times, so players may hunt at varying hours of the night and early morning. The problem - some are located on private property, at businesses, or in city parks. Players can face criminal charges if they trespass on private property or at public places after allowed hours. Sadly, as we have seen, other players can face worse consequences by wandering out late at night in the wrong areas.

Pokemon Go - Playing it Safe

Be aware of your surroundings

Just because you see someone wandering around in the woods or staring at their phone - don't assume they are playing Pokemon. Use caution when going into secluded areas and approaching strangers. While the game can be a great opportunity to meet other players, be sure they have the same intentions.

Don't drive and catch

Do we really have to say this? Turn the game off and put the phone away. AAA Carolinas says playing Pokemon while driving is just as dangerous as texting and driving.

Distracted walking, too, can have dangerous consequences. Be vigilant and check your surroundings, particularly when crossing streets. Don't risk your life just because you see Dragonite on the other side of the road. No Pokemon character is worth your life - not even Dragonite.

Respect your city's curfew and business hours

If it's 3:00 a.m. and a Pikachu pops up near the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, don't go out to try to catch it. Only visit landmarks, businesses, private property, and historical sites during appropriate hours.

Put down the phone and enjoy the real life around you

While Pokemon Go can take you to attractions you've never been before, it defeats the purpose if you stare at your phone the whole time you're there. A benefit of the game is that it compels you to get off the couch, go outside, and maybe even get a little exercise.

After you are drawn to a new museum, garden, historical site, or neighborhood park, take a moment to explore the area with your eyes instead of your phone. You may gain something more incredible than a new critter or points on a game. Allow the Pokemon app to enhance your actual reality in addition to your virtual reality.

North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Evaluate Pokemon Injury Cases FREE

Here's something important to know about your right to compensation if you are injured playing the game. Unless you opt out of the game's terms of service, you may be waiving your right to litigation in the event you are injured - or are blamed for injuring someone else. So be careful and be smart.

If you are injured by someone playing Pokemon Go or believe it is as a result of negligence on the part of Niantic (the company that developed Pokemon Go) contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We offer more than 35 attorneys - many who are experienced in personal injury cases of all kinds.

And, unlike many of the Pokemon, you'll catch us any time day or night.

Trying to Get Workers’ Comp Payment for Secondary Injuries or Side Effects

wc-boxesLet's say you are hurt on the job. You tear your shoulder while lifting a large box overhead.

Worker's compensation doctors say you'll need a shoulder operation and you should be good as new. Your company's workers' comp insurance agrees to pay for the operation, all medicines, medical treatments, and any therapy resulting from that shoulder injury.

You breathe a sigh of relief

But a few weeks later that sigh of relief is interrupted. You're having trouble breathing. A lot of trouble. Your wife calls 911, and an ambulance rushes you to the hospital. There's a blood clot in your lung. If the doctor determines this clot was likely the result of your shoulder surgery (a known risk of any surgery), workers' compensation insurance is responsible for paying all medical expenses related to the blood clot too.

Seems black and white.

Yet unfortunately, these situations are not black and white. They can often be grey. Very grey. More often than not we've found that some insurance companies may deny payment of these common complications, which will leave you - the injured worker who just wants to heal and go back to work - in the red. Paying bills out of pocket or just not able to afford the care the doctor says you need.

Denials and Delays! Why You May Need a Workers' Comp Lawyer

Proving that secondary injuries are the result of the initial workplace injury can be particularly tricky. Especially for someone who is not familiar with workers' compensation law.

Some insurance companies may be more likely to question secondary injuries or delay payment. If they get their way, this strategy could potentially save them money.

Moreover, the law allows the workers' comp insurance company to pick your doctors. If you're not comfortable with that doctor's diagnosis, you have the right to request a second opinion from a doctor you and the insurance company agree on. But sometimes we have had cases where we've had to fight tooth and nail for clients to exercise that right.

And then there have been cases where we've seen the insurance adjuster stand in the way of authorizing treatment. Sometimes treatment can be delayed or may not get paid on time or appropriately. Prescriptions may not be reimbursed, so some of our clients have had to pay for prescriptions or expensive equipment out-of-pocket. Some began to spiral into debt trying to keep up with medical bills. Until they hired us, many didn't realize these secondary medical expenses, which were directly related to the initial workers' compensation injury, should typically be covered by workers' compensation.

Life can careen out of control quickly just trying to keep up with medical bills, let alone arguing with your insurance company day after day.

Let us do the arguing for you. It doesn't matter what type of injury you have, we have probably dealt with it. As a matter of fact, these secondary issues have often been some of the most hotly contested litigation during my career in workers' compensation law.

Can You Afford a North Carolina Job Injury Attorney?

Don't worry if you think you may not be able to afford us. We work on contingency, which means that you don't pay any attorney's fee unless we get you compensation.

Click here to take the first step toward taking your life back. The link will take you to our short but empowering booklet, How to Take Control of Your NC Workers' Comp Claim (before it controls you).

Get Your Case Evaluated for FREE by North Carolina Workers' Comp Attorneys

Let one of our workers' comp attorneys - six of whom are North Carolina Board Certified Specialists in workers' compensation law - evaluate your situation for free. Click here to contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. We're available 24/7 to try to get you the answers you need.

Road Debris – Who Pays for Your Damages?

A colleague of mine was hauling one of those large plastic toddler play houses in the back of her truck recently, when suddenly the roof of the house blew off right onto the roadway, causing traffic behind her to swerve into other lanes to avoid crashing into the roof. She pulled over and retrieved the runaway roof, thankfully avoiding injury to herself or other drivers.

The incident prompted a conversation about injuries and accidents from escaping debris. Who is responsible? What role does insurance play? And just what would have been the legal consequences to my colleague if that roof had caused an accident and injury in North Carolina? Points on her license? A fine? Traffic court? Jail?

Road Debris Causes Numerous Crashes Says AAA

A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study found that unsecured loads falling off cars and trucks have been blamed for more than 200,000 crashes on U.S. roads between 2011 and 2014. There were 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths from those incidents during that time.

More than a third of those deaths occurred because drivers swerved to avoid the debris.

Roadway debris can be a serious matter. One of our clients was severely injured in a life-altering way because of roadway debris.

What NC Law Says About Debris on NC Roads

Drivers responsible for creating road debris can face fines in every U.S state. All 50 states have laws that make unsecured loads illegal, according to AAA, with fines that range from $10 to $5,000. North Carolina's fines are capped at $100.

North Carolina says you must properly secure all items on a vehicle. If you don't and you cause an accident, you may be held liable. Specifically NC law states:

"No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway unless the vehicle is constructed and loaded to prevent any of its load from falling, blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping therefrom, and the vehicle shall not contain any holes, cracks, or openings through which any of its load may escape."

Legal penalties for infraction are determined by the degree of the infraction. It could be misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the degree of willful negligence.

Will Auto Insurance Cover Road Debris Accidents?

But what about auto insurance? Will it pay for your damages or injuries if you crash as a result of running into or trying to swerve from road debris? In many instances, yes.

Crashing Into an Object

If your vehicle is damaged from running into or running over an object in the road, then your collision coverage should most likely pay for repairs.

Flying Objects That Land on Your Car

If the object flies through the air and hits your car, then your comprehensive coverage may come into play.

Personal Injury

If you or a passenger are injured, personal injury protection or medical payments would likely pay for treatment of injuries.

Getting the At-Fault Driver to Pay

If the accident was the result of someone failing to secure a load, you may be able to make a claim against the other driver's liability insurance.

It's always prudent to file a police report, which can help establish the facts for your insurance claim.

Road Debris Safety Tips

If You Are Driving

  • Try to look farther than two or three cars ahead, so you potentially have time to change lanes before you reach a hazard.
  •  In many instances it can be safer to hit the debris than to swerve to try to avoid it. (Remember that more than a third of road debris deaths occurred from swerving.)
  • If you're on a roadway at night (and it's not foggy and there's no traffic), drive with your high beams on so you can potentially spot debris in the road.
  • Call 911 to report hazards in the roadway.

If You Are Carrying a Load

  • Properly secure the load on your vehicle. Test your cargo before you leave. If it moves, secure it better.
  • If you lose something, pull to the side of the road where it is safe and call 911. Keep your seatbelt fastened until help arrives.

Get Free Advice From Experienced NC Road Debris Lawyers

Proving liability can be tricky because North Carolina laws on road debris can be vague and leave lots of room for interpretation. Based on our experience in fighting the insurance companies for compensation for damages and injuries, we strongly advise getting an experienced roadway debris lawyer.

If you have been injured by roadway debris, contact us or call 1-866-900-7078. Our experienced auto accident lawyers will evaluate your case for FREE.

How to Try to Avoid Hitting a Deer – 11 Tips!

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission estimates our deer population this year is topping roughly a million. And those million or so deer are watching for two things - mates and hunters. Especially from October through December, which is their mating season and our deer hunting season.

With nearly 18,000 animal-related car crashes in North Carolina (90% of them deer) in 2104, these fleet footed beauties are not looking out for you or your car.

1912586_1Deer on the Move in Autumn

While deer can travel at any time, be particularly alert between the hours of 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. - and especially at dawn, and in areas where there's development and where deer are being displaced. For example, for many years there has been a lot of construction and development in Wake County. And likely as a result, it has had the highest number of deer-related crashes 12 years in a row through 2015, according to the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

11 Tips to Try to Avoid Deer-Related Car Damage or Injury

Here's what the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and other roadway safety experts suggests to try to avoid colliding with a deer.

Preventative Measures

  1. Deer travel in groups. If you see one deer cross the road, others are likely nearby.
  2. Slow down in posted deer crossing areas and heavily wooded areas, especially during the late afternoon and evening.
  3. Always wear your seat belt. Most people injured in deer-related car crashes were not wearing their seat belt.
  4. Deer are most likely to travel near bridges, overpasses, railroad tracks, and streams and ditches, and this is where most deer crashes occur.
  5. Drive with high beams on when prudent, and watch for eyes reflecting in the headlights.
  6. Increase the distance between your vehicle and other cars, especially at night. If the car ahead of you hits a deer, you may also crash.
  7. Slow down and blow your horn with one long blast to frighten the deer away. Deer can be easily mesmerized by consistent light, so flashing your lights may also help scare the deer away.
  8. Do not swerve to avoid a collision with deer. This could cause you to lose control of your vehicle, flipping it over, veering it into oncoming traffic, or overcorrecting and running off the road, causing a more serious crash.
  9. Let off your brakes if you see you are about to collide. GEICO Insurance company suggests that you try to let off the brakes at the moment of impact. Braking through the impact could cause the hood of your vehicle to dip down, which can propel the animal through the windshield.
  10. Do not rely on deer-related devices such as deer whistles, deer fences, or reflectors to deter deer, as these devices have not proven to reduce deer-vehicle crashes.
  11. Do not touch the deer if you crash into it. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself. Get your car safely off the road if possible, and call 911 to report the accident.

Get Evidence That a Deer Caused the Crash

Take a photo of any evidence that shows you hit a deer. (For insurance reasons. I'm not suggesting you should pull over and take a selfie.) If you see any animal skin, hair, or other parts on your car (in the grill perhaps), get it on camera up close.

Sounds insensitive and inhumane, I know. (I love deer and I wouldn't like to do this, myself.) But the reality is if you report the accident to your insurance company or if someone is injured as a result, you will need proof that you faced a "sudden emergency."

Proof You Were Not Negligent

In North Carolina (and many states) there is a legal principle called the "sudden emergency doctrine" that can be used to defend negligence on your part.  It provides a challenge to the standard of care for ordinary negligence in certain situations where you are faced with an emergency situation.  In other words, an action that might have otherwise been negligent, might not be so if you are confronted with a surprise emergency situation.

Proof for Insurance Company

Let's say, for example, no one is injured (except the deer), but the front of your car is a mess. The insurance company will want proof that you actually did hit a deer. Or that you swerved to avoid the deer. Otherwise they could deny your claim. Or at the very least, if they cannot prove you hit a deer, they could raise your rates.

While our firm handles primarily personal injury cases (not auto damage claims), here is food for thought about how an insurance company may view your predicament if you are filing for auto damages.

The insurance company cannot recover damages from the deer. (We all know deer don't pay insurance premiums.) And even though colliding with a deer or any wildlife is technically considered a collision, this particular type of collision is usually covered under your comprehensive policy. Usually with comprehensive, you don't' pay a deductible and your rates are not likely to go up.

If your insurance company doesn't see "evidence" that you hit a deer, they might make you file your car damages claim under your collision policy, which means you will pay your deductible and they could increase your rates!

Deer-Related Accident? NC Auto Accident Attorneys Offer FREE Evaluation

If you do find yourself in a situation where you have been injured in any type of car wreck through no fault of your own, contact us  or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE.

Hurricane Matthew – What Do You Do If Your Car Hydroplanes? (And Other Road Hazard Tips)

If Hurricane Matthew sets its eye near North Carolina, the Category 3 storm is likely to cause quite a wave of car accidents if history is any guide.

Driving in heavy rain, high winds, or any type of inclement weather means you should take extra precautions for everyone's safety - including your own.

Have an Evacuation Plan

The most important thing is to have an evacuation plan - especially if you are along the coast or in low-lying areas. If the state issues evacuations, heed them.

If you do get caught in hazardous road conditions, here are some tips to help you and others try to stay safe on slick, flooded, and windy roads.

Tips to Help You Drive Safer Despite Hurricane Matthew

Driving in Heavy Rain

Do not use cruise control. When you are not in cruise control and you lift your foot off the gas to brake, the front of your car starts to dip a bit, transferring some weight to the front. This gives the front tires more traction. In cruise control, the car doesn't dip when you brake. Instead the speed remains constant so you lose that early weight transfer.

Watch for splashing from potholes and pools of water. If the roadway develops "ruts" where the heaviest traffic tracks, try to drive within them while remaining in your lane to avoid pools of water.

Never drive through high water. Cars can be swept off the road in only a foot of moving water, and roads covered by water can collapse. Driving through it may stall your engine, which can cause irreparable damage if you try to restart it. If you come upon a flooded street, take an alternate route. If you cannot, click here for tips from The Weather Network on how to proceed with caution.

And remember, never ever drive through water with a downed electrical line.

Be aware of skidding and hydroplaning.  If you feel the car begin to skid, remain calm and steer in the direction where you want the car to go. Don't slam on the brakes as this will further upset the vehicle's balance and make it harder to control.

When you hydroplane, your tires have very little to no contact with the road. Most hydroplane skids last for just a split second before your car regains traction. Waiting it out is the best way to handle the situation. Remain calm and don't make sudden turns or motions. Just let off the gas and steer straight or slightly in the direction you are heading.  Keep a steady hand on the wheel and steer with small movements to correct your course.

Be aware that brakes can be affected by water. Wet drum type brakes are especially prone to decreased stopping power after driving through deep water. Occasionally pump your brakes gently to help dry them and make sure they work.

Turn on the defroster if the windshield fogs.

Driving in Windy Conditions

Expect gusts. Take special care when driving through areas prone to strong winds, such as wide open areas, bridges, and overpasses.

Be diligent near larger vehicles. Tractor-trailers and recreational vehicles are more susceptible to high winds, and drivers may have difficulty staying in their lanes.

Keep a firm grip on the wheel. Keep both hands on the wheel in case the wind begins to move your vehicle, especially if you are driving a large vehicle or towing a trailer. If the wind begins to move you, gently steer in the direction you want to go.

Driving Defensively in Hazardous Weather

Keep both hands on the wheel.

Slow down. Rule of thumb: reduce your speed by 10 mph each time you increase your windshield wiper speed. Driving slower reduces your risk of losing contact with the road and can possibly help keep you from hydroplaning.

Stay 5 seconds behind the car in front of you. Watch the car in front of you as it passes a fixed object, like a light or utility pole. Then count 5 seconds. If you reach your marker before 5 seconds, you may be too close for a sudden emergency.

Pay attention to the front, sides, and back of you. Be aware of falling or flying debris, electrical wires, mudslides, puddles, swerving cars, and anything that may cause you to lose control of your car.

Turn off cell phones and the radio. And don't do anything that distracts you from driving. You need to be extra cautious and diligent while driving in slick windy conditions.

Turn on your headlights. Even in daylight. Besides, it's the law in North Carolina. Remember: wipers on, lights on.

Prepare Your Car for a Hurricane

Tires should have proper inflation and the tread should have more than 2/32-inch. An easy way to check the tread depth is to insert a penny into each groove with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln's head (including his hair), you need new tires. Consult your car manual to check for the proper tire pressure for the recommended tires. NHTSA offers many other tire safety facts.

Rotate your tires. Goodyear recommends you rotate them every 3,000 to 6,000 miles to help keep the tread life and even wear.

Use a rain repellent on your windshield, side windows, and mirrors to clear standing raindrops.

Keep a car emergency kit. At the very least, have a flashlight, window breaker tool, and seatbelt cutter or Swiss army knife. The National Hurricane Center offers more information on hurricane safety kits.

North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers

If you do find yourself in a situation where you were injured on slick hazardous roadways or in any condition because of someone else's negligence, contact us.

  • Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer received 3.5 times1more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own.
  • We are one of the largest personal injury law firms in North Carolina and have many resources to draw from.
  • We have recovered over $600 million2 total for more than 30,000 clients since 1997.
  • We have more than 150 staff members, including over 35 attorneys.
  • Several of our lawyers have achieved peer- and client-reviewed designations including Best Lawyers Best Lawyers in America 20173 and Lawyer of the Year 20174; Super Lawyers Rising Star 20165 and Super Lawyer 20166.

(See for yourself some of the things clients have to say about us.)

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From North Carolina Lawyers

If you are injured in a car crash, we strongly urge you to contact us  or call 1-866-900-7078. We will evaluate your situation for FREE and let you know if we think we can help.

 

P.S. Click here if you want your teen driver to learn hands-on defensive driving techniques under simulated hazardous conditions. There's a non-profit organization in NC that offers instruction around NC and the U.S.

 

1  Insurance Research Council 1999.

2  Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

3  Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey. Over 52,000 leading attorneys cast more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel Magazine has called Best Lawyers "the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice." For information regarding standards for inclusion visit  www.bestlawyers.com.

4  Only a single lawyer in each practice area and designated metropolitan area is honored as the Lawyer of the Year, making this accolade particularly significant. Lawyers being honored as "Lawyer of the Year" are selected based on particularly impressive voting averages received during the exhaustive peer-review assessments conducted with thousands of leading lawyers each year. Receiving this designation reflects the high level of respect a lawyer has earned among other leading lawyers in the same communities and the same practice areas for their abilities, their professionalism, and their integrity. For information regarding standards for inclusion visit www.bestlawyers.com.

5  To be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. Rising Stars undergo a rigorous, multiphase process which combines peer nominations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made annually on a state-by-state basis. While up to 5% of the lawyers in any state are named "Super Lawyers," by  Super Lawyers magazine, no more than 2.5% are named to the Rising Stars list. For information regarding standards for inclusion visit www.superlawyers.com.

6  Super Lawyers undergo a rigorous, multiphase process which combines peer nominations with third-party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. Selections are made annually on a state-by-state basis. For information regarding standards for inclusion visit www.superlawyers.com.

Why Are More Bikers Dying? 4 Main Reasons. And 4 Things You Can Do.

I love riding my motorcycle. Been riding for years. My dad had an old, ugly green Honda CB when I was a kid. My uncle airbrushed Harleys. Another uncle used to take me out jumping giant mounds of dirt on my grandfather's tobacco farm down east. I was enthralled at a young age and got my first dirt bike, a Yamaha Mini Enduro, when I was only six years old. I got my first road bike as soon as I turned 16.

mj-bike-1My current bike, shown here, is an 1800cc beast of a machine.

When my wife announced she wanted to start riding together (on a motorcycle of her own), I was a bit surprised - but definitely up for it.

She, as usual, did the smart thing and enrolled both of us in a motorcycle safety class.

While I have always tried to be careful and prudent while enjoying the freedom of the open road, I had not taken a motorcycle safety course in many years. I am thankful my wife gave me a reason to. What I learned was that the roads today are a far cry from when I first started riding more than 30 years ago. The recent accident and death rates are alarming - particularly for "older" riders. So much so, that I felt compelled to do some additional research of my own. I'd like to share reasons I found behind the rise in motorcycle fatalities, and offer ways each of us can try to keep motorcycle safety in mind.

By the way, even if you do not own a motorcycle, you should be aware of some of the ways you may be unintentionally contributing to an unsafe environment for motorcyclists.

Increase in North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Fatalities

I was surprised to learn that a primary reason for the rising death toll in all motor vehicle accidents both in North Carolina and nationwide is due to an increase in motorcycle fatalities. Motorcyclist deaths in 2015 accounted for 13% of all vehicle fatalities in North Carolina, and were the highest in seven years both nationwide and in our state.

It got me to thinking. Why the uptick? What has changed? And more importantly, how can each of us help keep motorcyclists - and each other - safer on North Carolina's roadways?

4 Likely Reasons for Increased Motorcycle Fatalities

  1. Nationally, fewer riders are wearing helmets. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declares that having universal helmet laws is the single most effective way for states to save the lives of motorcyclists. In North Carolina about 80 lives are saved for each 100,000 licensed motorcycle drivers, according to an article in North Carolina Health News. Helmets are about 37% effective in preventing motorcyclist deaths and about 67% effective in preventing brain injuries, reports the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the 1970s, all but three states mandated helmets. Yet lobbying efforts by rider groups and "personal freedom" advocates slowly etched away at those mandates. By 2012, only 19 states still had mandatory helmet laws. North Carolina is one of them.
    Look, I get that most of us are on the road in part for the feeling of freedom that riding offers. But there are certain basics that increase safety. Airbags, seatbelts, staying sober, and using helmets all contribute to saving lives. I enjoy my freedom, and I encourage you to enjoy responsibly.
  2. Reduced gas prices means there are more cars and trucks crowding the roadways. Cars and trucks are larger and heavier than motorcycles. Common sense and the laws of physics dictate the motorcyclist is on the losing end in the event of a crash. The fatality rate for motorcycle riders is 26 times the rate of death for people in cars. This is partly because a motorcycle doesn't provide the protection that a car would, such as seat belts, air bags, and a cage of metal armor.
  3. There is an alarming rise in distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, 26% of car accidents are caused by cell phone use. In North Carolina more than 22% of accidents resulted from distracted driving. Distracted driving is not limited to texting while driving. It includes anything that distracts you from paying attention to the road.
  4. Alcohol and drug use has also been a factor in motorcyclist fatalities. This, sadly, is what the Governors Highway Safety Association reports. And more often than not, it was the biker who was drinking. Don't be that biker.

4 Tips to Try to Keep Motorcyclists Safer - and Others Too

North Carolina offers so many scenic roadways, including the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is the longest scenic roadway in America. And don't forget The Dragon, which attracts riders from all over the country. Many motorcyclists believe this drive is best experienced from a motorcycle. But safely. Here are some ways to maximize safety, whether you're on a motorcycle or in a vehicle.

  1. Alcohol and drugs have no business being a part of any road trip - no matter what you are driving.
  2. Pay attention to the road. Especially when motorcycles are nearby. Look in both side mirrors if you hear a motorcycle. Be diligent. You are driving at least a two-ton vehicle. If you're a motorcyclist, don't serpentine between cars at the speed of light on the interstate. Many drivers will not being paying attention to their surroundings - and that includes you.
  3. If you're a motorcyclist wear protective clothing and gear - the brighter the better. You want drivers to see you. As much as I believe in helmets, I also strongly believe in hi-viz. Only once do I recall getting a call from an injured motorcyclist who was wearing hi-viz clothing. I personally always wear a hi-viz helmet and jacket and follow the ATGATT rule: All The Gear, All The Time. You will always find me riding in boots, heavy-duty pants, leather or armored jacket, gloves, and a full-face helmet. And you'll see me coming from a mile away.
  4. Helmet laws are mandatory in North Carolina. Wear them. We have represented too many motorcycle crash victims who did not obey this law. Some lived, some did not. Others' lives were forever changed.

FREE Evaluation From Our North Carolina Motorcycle Injury Lawyers

If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, call a fellow biker. Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin for a free and confidential case evaluation or call 1-866-900-7078.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

201 McCullough Drive, Suite 220
Charlotte, NC 28262
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078