1. Motorcycle crash witnesses estimates of speed are seldom right. Witnesses will over estimate the speed of a motorcycle proportionally to the loudness of the exhaust and brightness of the color. Studies show that even those experienced in this area will place the speed of a motorcycle with loud pipes and bright colors well above that of a drab and quiet bike. For this reason it is important to have a qualified motorcycle crash reconstructionist investigate the crash as soon as possible.
2. Research shows drivers do see you. Other drivers do see motorcycles far more often than believed. Studies show that drivers misinterpret information regarding the motorcycle. They estimate the distance poorly and rarely accurately judge speed. Good defensive riders appreciate this fact and assume they will not be seen, or if seen not given the right of way. Automobilists often claim the motorcycle had no lighting or exaggerate speed to cover their fault.
3. Motorcycle speed can be accurately estimated from crash data. Several methods of estimating impact speed in car v. motorcycle cases have been studied. Skid length, wheel deformation, fork displacement and throw distance all factor into the equation. The length of skid marks, number of tires locked, points of impact and rest and data regarding the roadway all enter the equation and must be documented as soon as possible.
4. Eye witnesses often are not. Frequently a careful interview of someone claiming eye witness status will disclose that they are not an eye witness. Many times an interview will disclose that the witness was drawn to look by the screech of tires or the noise of the collision. What the witness actually saw and what he thinks he saw are often very different. Estimates of speed, statements of lane travel and so on can be seriously at odds with physical facts. A good investigation will document these discrepancies.
5. In the eyes of the insurance industry there are no innocent motorcyclists. Just getting on a bike and starting the engine is negligent in the eyes of an industry with no interest in fair claims settlement. For this reason it is important to consult an attorney with experience in contested liability motorcycle crash cases who understands the issues and knows how to defeat defense attempts to shift blame.
It is not cheap to properly document a motorcycle collision. If your attorney is unwilling or unable to undertake the investigation required your probability of a fair recovery will be reduced.