California has some of the most breathtaking roads in the country. With the most number of roads featured in the top 100 motorcycle roads of the country, the state is a special attraction for every motorcycle enthusiast. In fact, a whopping 800,000 motorcycles are registered within the state every year, but that raises the probability of accidents too. California also has one of the largest volumes of motorcycle accidents happening in the entire country. Below is a discussion on the motorcycle accident statistics and some basic information regarding the state law and rules regarding the same.
A Look into the Statistics
The beautiful scenery, fitting climate, and equally good roads make the state a rider’s heaven. Hence, there is no wonder why the frequency of motorcycle accidents is quite high. Several of these mishaps have caused irrevocable damages to people too. Injuries including permanent brain damages, disturbing spinal injuries, and head injuries are all a part of motorcycle accidents in California.
The accident statistics in the state paints a very sad picture indeed. In the year 2013, more than 11,780 motorcycle riders were injured in California, and out of them, 480 were killed due to the accident. Even though it was a much lesser than the previous year statistically, that is still a shocking number. Many of the motorcycle accident fatalities were attributed to the unfavorable weather as well.
- In California, the riders of the age group 25-34 were the usual victims of motorcycle accidents. Behind this age group came the 15-24 group that was the second most affected. This was followed by 45-54, 35-44, and 55-64 respectively.
- The highest number of accidents in the year 2013 happened between May and September. This included more than 1,000 injuries recorded per month. August accounted for the highest casualties. Further, the months of July and October also witnessed more than 50 fatal cases.
- Out of all motorcycle riders that died in accidents in 2013, around 24% were tested positive with more than 0.08% blood alcohol concentration. This data is comparable to the nationwide average of 28%.
- Around 90% of motorcycle riders killed in motorcycle accidents in 2013 were wearing a helmet. In comparison, only 57% of motorcyclists involved in a bad accident wore a helmet in the country.
- A majority of riders killed in motorcycle accidents had a valid license. About 22% of them did not have it in their possession.
Across the years 2004 to 2008, the total number of fatal motorcycle accidents increased from 4,028 to 5,312 in the US. Although the number of deaths dropped sharply at first, falling to 4469 in 2009, it again showed a rapid increase to 4986 in 2012.
Motorcycle Accidents in California
The motorcycle injuries have a fluctuating pattern. Initially, the count of injured motorcycle riders showed a rise from 76,000 from 2004 to 103,000 in 2007. This dropped in 2008 to 96,000 and it continued to reduce until 2011 when the tally was 81,000. Yet again, more riders suffered injuries in 2012, with the count reaching 93,000. The numbers dropped again in 2013 to 88,000.
When compared to the nature of accidents that occur on a motorcycle to that of a car, there is a clear indication that the lack of a protective cage like the car is really instrumental in causing fatal injuries. According to the statewide statistics of 2013, the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents was 26 times higher than that of the passengers of cars.
An interesting thing to note while looking into the statistics is that bikes that fall under the category of “superbikes” were involved in most of the accidents. To be precise, bikes of the category 501cc to 1000cc engine were involved 40% of the accidents. Meanwhile, the bikes of the category 1001cc to 1500cc accounted for 28% of fatalities, whereas those of 1501cc or above were involved in 17% of the fatalities.
Studies also reveal a relationship between the extent of the injuries caused and the speed at which the bikers were traveling. It indicates that those who rode larger bikes were more severely injured than those who traveled on smaller ones. This clearly points to the speed of travel, as larger bikes are capable of hitting faster speeds.
Causes of California Motorcycle Crashes
After proper analysis of the accidents, experts found out several causes for the accidents. This included alcohol or drug use, unsafe speed, improper turning, failing to yield, and riding on the wrong side of the road.
It was also found that in more than half the accidents that involved a collision with another vehicle, the accident was caused because of the mistake of the other vehicle’s driver. That is why it is important to consult an expert accident injury lawyers if you ever get involved in a motorcycle accident in California.