James T. Snyder Law, PLLC
Personal Injury Attorney


James T. Snyder Law Blog

Spring danger for motorcycle riders -- the first ride of the season.

Photograph: Man wearing an orthopedic halo on skull and shoulders.

It has been the coldest, snowiest spring ever here in Central New York.  But that has not stopped our good friends and neighbors -- motorcycle riders -- from getting out on their bikes when the roads have been reasonably dry and the temperatures “warm” in the 40’s and 50’s.  However, their appearance has been shocking and unexpected to everyone else driving on the roadways, who have been thinking more about seeing snowplows than motorcycles.

That shock and lack of expectation by car and truck operators is always bad news for motorcyclists in the spring, just getting out on the road for the first time, but it is especially bad this spring -- because this year cagers are totally unprepared mentally to see a motorcycle on the road while snowbanks or freezing cold temperatures are still present.

It puts me in mind of a motorcycle accident case I successfully resolved for a client one spring day when he took his Harley out for his initial ride -- not just for fun but to get his state vehicle safety inspection for his motorcycle that very first day!  On his way back home, fresh from his safety inspection, this experienced rider was rear-ended at a stop light by a giant, new pickup-truck operated by a driver who said he never saw the motorcyclist until too late. 

The collision was so violent it threw my client up backwards onto the hood of the pickup, where the rear of his helmet left a large dent and a clear paint smear marking the point of impact.  The motorcycle rider broke his neck in the collision and needed emergency cervical surgery to prevent him from becoming a para- or quadriplegic.

My client recovered, but not without a long and difficult medical course and much rehabilitation.  He had to wear what is called a “halo” for several months on his head and fitted over his shoulders.  It was actually screwed into his skull with bolts holding in place, and he had to wear it day and night.  Amazingly, he had a good sense of humor about it and called it his “barstool.”  After his full recovery, having had expert medical care and treatment, he went out and -- of course! -- bought a new motorcycle and went riding again.

Because that’s what men and women do who love motorcycles.  They ride.

If you ever get into a motorcycle collision that wasn’t your fault, give me a call.  I’d be pleased to help you with your legal claim against the negligent vehicle operator who injured you.  And hopefully you’ll never, ever have to wear a “barstool” on your head.   

James Snyder