The last thing any motorcyclist wants to think about is being injured or sustaining property damage in an accident. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents do occur in California. Here, we want to discuss the odds of actually being involved in a motorcycle accident. This is important to know, regardless of whether or not you are a regular motorcycle rider or an occasional recreation rider.
California Data Surrounding Motorcycle Accidents
When we look specifically at information available from the California Office of Traffic Safety, we can see a myriad of data that helps us understand motorcyclist safety in this state. California has over 870,000 total registered motorcycles, more than any other state across the US. Unfortunately, this means that there were also more motorcyclist injuries (around 13,000) and fatalities (474) during the latest reporting year in California than in any other state during the same reporting year.
But this data alone does not tell us how likely a person is to be involved in a motorcycle accident. The California OTS specifically shows us that there were 63.56 total motorcyclist fatalities 100,000 registered motorcycles in the state during the latest reporting gear. We do not have this type of breakdown to show us how many injuries occurred per 100,000 registered motorcycles.
What we do know is that motorcyclists are incredibly vulnerable on the roadway.
Motorcyclists Are Vulnerable Roadway Users
What does it mean to be a vulnerable roadway user?
When a person is inside of a traditional passenger type of vehicle, they are surrounded by safety measures. This includes seatbelts, a metal frame, airbags, autonomous driving assistance, and more. However, when a motorcyclist gets on the back of their vehicle and heads out for a ride, they are facing a much riskier situation.
Motorcyclists do not have the same safety features that those inside traditional passenger vehicles do. If a collision occurs involving a motorcyclist, the motorcycle driver and any passengers face a higher risk of sustaining injuries caused by an impact with another vehicle or an impact with the ground. Even if a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet, they can still sustain severe injuries, even in a relatively “minor” accident. It is not uncommon for motorcyclists to sustain the following injuries in an accident:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head or facial wounds
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Other severe back or neck injury
- Internal bleeding or internal organ damage
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Severe road rash or lacerations
- Amputations or crush injuries
There are various factors that increase a motorcyclist’s risks on the roadway. Often, these risks come from others, including other drivers:
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Distracted by phones or other devices
- Operating too fast for conditions
- Passing motorcyclists too closely
- Tailgating the motorcyclist
Additionally, motorcyclists are more vulnerable to hazardous roadway conditions. This can include loose gravel, potholes, debris on the roadway, and slick roadways.
Take Steps to Increase Safety
Every motorcyclist knows that they face risks when they head out for a ride. However, there are various steps that a motorcyclist can take to increase their safety. First, every motorcyclist should wear a helmet and other protective gear that can reduce the risk of severe injuries occurring if a crash does happen. In the evening and nighttime hours, a motorcyclist can wear brighter or reflective clothing to help increase visibility.
Most importantly, a motorcyclist should never operate their vehicle until they have a thorough understanding of all motorcycle traffic laws and have gone through a training course to learn how to properly operate a motorcycle. Speak with an Orange County motorcycle accident lawyer to learn more.