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Danger on Two Wheels: Understanding the Risks of Motorcycle Riding in California


It was a beautiful Sunday morning when Michael set out on his motorcycle for a ride along the winding roads of the California coastline. As an experienced rider, he was confident in his abilities and had taken all the necessary safety precautions, including wearing a helmet and bright, visible clothing.


However, as he rounded a corner, Michael suddenly found himself face-to-face with an oncoming car that had swerved into his lane. Despite his quick reflexes and attempts to avoid the collision, Michael’s bike was struck and he was thrown from his seat, sustaining serious injuries.


Unfortunately, Michael’s story is all too common in California. According to data from the California Highway Patrol, there were 11,818 motorcycle accidents in the state in 2020. These accidents resulted in 471 fatalities and 9,117 injuries, making up a significant proportion of the state's overall traffic accident statistics. In fact, motorcycle accidents accounted for nearly 15% of all traffic fatalities in California in 2020.


Looking at these statistics in more detail, we can see that certain factors are more likely to contribute to motorcycle accidents. For example, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2019, more than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents in the US occurred on weekends, and nearly 40% of those accidents involved alcohol impairment. This highlights the importance of responsible riding and avoiding riding under the influence of drugs or alcohol.


Other factors that can contribute to motorcycle accidents include speeding, lane splitting, and distracted driving. Lane splitting, which involves riding between lanes of traffic, is a common practice among California motorcyclists. However, it can also be dangerous if riders are not careful or if other drivers are not aware of their presence. California is the only state in the US where lane splitting is legal, but it's important for riders to do so safely and with caution.

It's worth noting that the majority of motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the motorcyclist. In fact, data from the NHTSA shows that in 2019, 57% of fatal motorcycle accidents in the US were caused by another vehicle, not the motorcycle itself. This highlights the importance of all drivers being aware of motorcycles on the road and taking steps to prevent accidents.


So, what can riders do to protect themselves on the road? One of the most important steps is to wear appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, gloves, and boots. In California, all riders are required by law to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Additionally, riders can take steps to increase their visibility on the road, such as wearing bright clothing and using reflective tape on their bike.


Overall, motorcycle accidents are a serious problem in California and across the US. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to protect themselves on the road, riders can help reduce the number of accidents and stay safe while enjoying the thrill of motorcycle riding. Additionally, it's important for all drivers to be aware of the risks posed by motorcycles and do their part to prevent accidents on the road.


If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in California, it's important to seek legal help as soon as possible. At Phillips & Associates, we have extensive experience representing motorcycle accident victims and can help you navigate the complex legal process. We offer free consultations to discuss your case and determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your path to recovery.


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