Southern California is a mecca that draws motorcyclists from around the world with its unique roads, scenic villages, and wide-open vistas. California leads the nation in motorcycle registrations with more than 800,000 vehicles registered according to the California Department of Vehicles. Unfortunately, the large number of motorcyclists, many of whom are visitors from other states and countries, leads to motorcycle accidents.
Injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident can be especially severe because the vehicle provides no protection in a crash. Motorcyclists may be thrown into the air landing on the pavement with a bone crushing impact. They may also suffer road rash injuries that require skin grafting. Other injuries caused by a motorcycle accident may include traumatic brain injury, compound fractures, spinal injuries, and internal injuries.
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What Types of Injuries Do Motorcycle Riders Generally Sustain from Accidents?
Motorcycle riders generally sustain much more severe injuries than you’d see in a typical motor vehicle accident. Leg injuries are common. The legs are usually an impact zone when riders are hit directly by a vehicle due to the height of the vehicle Riders are also commonly thrown from their bikes because of a lack of seatbelts and roll cages. We see a lot of injuries to the neck, back, ribs, and head. Concussions are typical because the rider might hit their head on the pavement; even with a helmet, they can still sustain a head injury. Road rash is also common…Read More
Motorcyclists are more vulnerable than others
Motorcycle accidents, just like car accidents, are scary and happen every day. Because motorcycle drivers have less protection shielding them, these types of accidents can quickly become extremely serious or fatal.
Statistics on California Motorcycle Accidents
According to the Los Angeles Times, motorcycle accidents in the U.S. in 2013 appear to have declined. However, the theory is that the lower rates aren’t due to safer driving but worse riding conditions. The winter of 2012 was long and dry, driving motorcycle accident rates up.
The LA Times referenced a report conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), which brought to light several facts about motorcycle accidents, including:
- Motorcycle crash fatalities dropped 13% in California in 2013
- 29% of motorcyclists killed in crashes had a blood alcohol concentration above .08% (the legal limit for vehicle operation in California)
- 22% of motorcyclists killed in crashes did not have valid motorcycle licenses
- There were tem times as many motorcyclist fatalities in states without universal helmet laws than in states with universal helmet laws
Many drivers choose not to wear helmets because they’re uncomfortable or bulky. Some motorcycle drivers may make the claim that they know they’re going to drive safely, but that doesn’t account for other drivers who may be speeding, tired, or distracted.
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Safety and Precautions for Motorcycle Drivers
The Insurance Information Institute reported that 56 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycles were involved in a fatal crash. Because motorcycles are so much smaller than cars and trucks, accidents can be much more common and severe.
In 2014, 69.83 out of every 100,000 registered motorcycle drivers were involved in fatal accidents, compared to 14.11 out of every 100,000 registered truck drivers and 14.39 out of every 100,000 registered passenger cars. Motorcycle drivers have less protection surrounding them, and they can be more difficult for car drivers to notice on the road, which is why there are many additional safety precautions motorcycle drivers may want to consider.
Tips for a safer ride
Consumer Reports released ten motorcycle safety tips for new riders, including:
- Shop for a bike that fits so that you can rest both of you feet flat on the ground when seated.
- Invest in anti-lock brakes. Motorcycles with antilock brakes were 37% less likely to be involved in a fatal crash.
- Attend a safety riding course that can teach you basic and advanced techniques, including evasive emergency maneuvers.
- Wear a helmet. Motorcycle drivers who don’t wear helmets are 40% more likely to suffer a fatal head injury than drivers who wear helmets.
- Wear protective gear, including a leather jacket, gloves, and footwear that goes over the ankles.
- Be on high alert. In 60% of collisions involving a car and a motorcycle, the car driver was found to be at fault.
- Don’t drive in bad weather, including rain, snow, and even strong winds. These can reduce visibility and give you less control.
- Watch for hazards. Unlike cars, which can usually drive over sand, pebbles, and wet leaves without any issues, motorcycles can’t always handle road hazards.
Take care of your motorcycle by checking your lights, horn, and directional signals before each ride.
Our La Habra, CA motorcycle accident lawyers can help
If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident, let the experienced attorneys at Holland & Holland represent you. We have a strong understanding of California law and will work with you to achieve a favorable outcome for your case. Contact us today for a consultation.