Motorcycle drivers share the road with other vehicle drivers, and are entitled to certain rights as they use their motor vehicles. In the state of Indiana, it is written into law that “[a] motorcycle is entitled to the full use of a traffic lane and a vehicle may not be driven or operated in a manner that deprives another vehicle of the full use of a traffic lane.” However, in addition to having these rights, motorcycle drivers also have laws designed to keep them and other road users safe. Amongst other rules for keeping everyone safe, motorcycles should always properly signal before changing lanes, refrain from weaving in and out of traffic, and remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
A news report revealed that there was a recent fatal crash involving a motorcycle and a car in Clay County, Indiana. The crash occurred at the intersection of N Forest Avenue and Normandy Drive. According to witnesses, a car that had been heading north was stopped and attempting to make a left turn when a motorcycle approached from behind the vehicle and attempted to pass the car on the left side just as the car began to turn. The motorcycle thus crashed into the driver’s side of the car, ejecting the driver and passenger of the motorcycle. The motorcycle ended up in the yard of a nearby house. The motorcycle was driven by an Indiana man who had an expired learner’s permit and no valid motorcycle license. As a result of the crash, the driver was incapacitated and the passenger of the motorcycle passed away. Neither the driver nor the passenger of the motorcycle was wearing any safety equipment at the time of the crash.
Indiana code specifies that only motorcycle passengers under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet when on the road. If someone holds a motorcycle learner’s permit in Indiana, it is valid for one year, and drivers are only allowed to renew their permit once. If the permit holder does not obtain a motorcycle endorsement before the expiration date of the renewed permit, they are required to wait one year before reapplying for a new permit. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration reported that in 2019, 30% of motorcyclists did not have a valid motorcycle license when involved in fatal motorcycle crashes. It is likely that a person who does not have a valid motorcycle license may also not have valid insurance. You may have questions about what your next steps should be if you are a victim of an accident involving an unlicensed motorcycle driver. Connecting with an experienced attorney will be helpful.