Jury Bias against Motorcycle Riders in Trials Involving Motorcycle Accidents

Occasionally motorcycle cases reflect an element of bias against motorcyclists. Right or wrong, a general public perception exists that motorcycle riders, especially riders of speed bikes, always drive too fast and too unsafely.

This is clearly an area of concern in trial preparation for the motorcycle personal injury lawyer, especially when a jury is being selected for a trial. It is likely that some potential jurors have been influenced by unsavory depictions of motorcyclists in the press and cinema.

An experienced motorcycle accident attorney will know how to combat jury prejudices in order to portray their client in a more favorable light. Counsel for the motorcycle rider should be prepared to counter covert as well as overt implications of bias against the mere use of a motorcycle. Courts have explicitly ruled that refusal to instruct a jury that negligence is not to be inferred from the mere use of a motorcycle as means of transportation was reversible.

The importance of educating the jury in motorcycle accident injury cases

A juror with less adventuresome prejudices may believe that motorcycle riding in and of itself is "dangerous per se”. The likely available number of people experienced in handling motorcycles as a proportion of the number in the potential jury pool is usually not large.

Potential jury members will bring with them varied bits and pieces of incomplete, false, or even biased conceptions of what they need to know to decide fact questions related to motorcycle riding. Thus, an early evidentiary consideration may be aimed at showing jurors how a rider makes a motorcycle go, and from that, what a rider can and cannot safely and reasonably, do.

It is an experienced motorcycle accident attorney’s job to assist in educating potential jury members that any prejudices towards motorcycle riders is unfair and unwarranted, and that the vast majority of motorcycle enthusiasts follow the rules of the road.

Experienced motorcycle riders and qualified instructors, as experts, can provide credible understanding, where it is essential to appreciate the interactions between velocity, speed, momentum, weight, gravity and centrifugal forces, human reaction times and equipment limitations.

The differences, for example, between the everyday understanding of "speed" in the mind of the auto-driving juror, and clear understanding of linear and of angular velocity may determine the outcome of critical fact finding.

The Law Offices of Edward A. Smith are experienced motorcycle accident attorneys expert in motorcyclist rules and regulations.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, call us anytime for free, friendly advice. Sacramento 916.921.6400. Or Contact Us Online.

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