If you ride a motorcycle for fun or for practical reasons, you are aware of the danger presented on most American highways—drivers who are not looking out for motorcycles being primary among them. For many motorcycle enthusiasts, one way to combat the issue of visibility and general roadway awareness as to the presence of bikes is to travel in groups. Some motorcycle groups travel together for pleasure as much as for safety reasons. In the past, seeing groups of motorcycles would carry with it connotations of criminal activity (because of the Hell’s Angels and fictionalized accounts on television shows like Sons of Anarchy). But as modern riders and motorcycle marketers embraced the luxury of having the ability to travel solo (or with a single rider) and flaunted the ability to invest tens of thousands in a premium motorcycle—such as a Harley Davidson, for example—being part of a gang of motorcycles is akin to an expensive hobby.
Such is the popular perception; however, a recent story out of New York City may change that perspective of traveling groups of motorcycles back to its more uncivil and rowdy roots.
Recently, a group of motorcyclists were riding in close proximity to a large SUV, in which a family of three rode—the father was driving, the mother was in the passenger seat, and a two-year-old was strapped into her car seat in the back. The bikes surrounded the SUV and slowed perilously close to the bumper of the SUV. The SUV bumped the tire of the slowing bike directly at its bumper, knocking over the bike. (The motorcycle riders reading this post can appreciate that even a slight bump from a moving SUV can be a dangerous experience.)
The next part of the incident currently ends with the SUV driver being pulled out of his vehicle and beaten so badly that he lost consciousness (www.cnn.com/2013/10/09/us/bikers-attack-video/). Criminal charges are pending against an off-duty undercover police officer accused of menacing the family (including the toddler in the back seat) while the group of cyclists pulled the driver out of his vehicle and repeatedly kicked and punched him on the street.
The ensuing escalation of events following the SUV’s seemingly deliberate “tapping” of the motorcycle raises many questions about how this case will proceed. Both sides of the scenario have some fault, and at least one person on both sides has suffered injuries. Both sides will likely assert personal injury actions against the other, along with the pending criminal charges still under investigation.
The point of this is not to highlight fault but to demonstrate that any personal injury case will always have at least two sides. The facts may be identical, but the perception of what happened and what each fact means in terms of liability will be different. Don’t assume that if you have a personal injury case the facts will exonerate you one hundred percent. Talk to a car accident attorney who can tell your side of the story without ignoring any of the facts.