We want all motorcyclists throughout California to enjoy riding these vehicles. However, we also want motorcyclists to be safe. One of the best ways to help motorcyclists remain safe on the roadways is to point out when and where most motorcycle accidents occur. Here, we specifically want to discuss areas where motorcycle accidents commonly happen so that you can take steps to prevent injuries to yourself and your passengers when you head out for a ride.
California Motorcycle Accidents
During the latest reporting year across the state, 474 motorcyclists lost their lives as a result of an accident, according to data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety. Additionally, approximately 13,000 motorcyclists sustained injuries as a result of traffic collisions during that same year. Unfortunately, the Office of Traffic Safety does not give us a thorough breakdown of where most motorcycle accidents occur in California.
What we do know may be somewhat intuitive, but it does make sense – more motorcycle accidents occur in urban areas in the state of California than in rural areas, which is a common trend across the US. Anywhere motorcyclists are more likely to be surrounded by heavy levels of traffic is going to present more dangers and result in more vehicle collisions.
Stop and go traffic is particularly dangerous for motorcyclists, and cyclists often sustain injuries as a result of being rear-ended by another driver. If we were to look at a “heat map” of where most motorcycle accidents occur in this state, there would be significant blurbs over Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and other major population centers.
This is one of the main reasons that California is the only state in the country that has legalized the practice of lane splitting for motorcyclists. This practice allows motorcyclists to travel down the centerline of two lanes of traffic heading in the same direction. Research has indicated that this helps increase motorcyclist safety by allowing them to get out of the main congested parts of traffic.
We do want to point out that motorcycle accidents certainly do still occur in rural areas across this state. In fact, rural motorcycle crashes often result in serious injuries because these are areas where both vehicle drivers and motorcyclists tend to operate at higher speeds and become complacent due to the lack of continuous traffic.
Motorcyclists and Intersections
Intersections present very specific dangers for motorcyclists, regardless of whether or not the intersection is in a rural or urban area. These are places where drivers in all types of vehicles come together in one spot, and intersections can present significant dangers for vulnerable roadway users like motorcyclists.
One of the most deadly types of accidents that can occur for motorcyclists involves left-hand turns. This can include a motorist making a left-hand turn at an intersection as well as a motorcyclist.
For example, a vehicle may make a left-hand turn in front of an oncoming motorcyclist who has the right of way, leading to a deadly T-bone collision. Conversely, a motorcyclist could misjudge oncoming traffic and make a left hand turn into an oncoming vehicle.
In addition to potentially deadly left-hand turns, areas where there are traffic signals, stop signs, and intersections all place challenges on a motorcyclist due to the stop-and-go nature of traffic at these locations.
If you’ve suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, be sure to consult with a San Bernardino motorcycle accident attorney.