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Motorcycle Accidents on the Rise in California

As San Diego accident attorneys, we are concerned by reports that motorcycle fatalities are on the rise in California after several years of decline. We support the efforts of the California Highway Patrol to raise awareness of safe driving by motorcyclists and drivers.

According to a CHP press release, 20 percent more motorcyclists were killed in 2011 than in 2010. Motorcyclists were also over represented in overall numbers of traffic deaths.

To reduce the number of accidents, the CHP is calling on both motorcyclists and drivers to share the road responsibly. “Everyone on the highway plays an important role in preventing collisions,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Motorcyclists are encouraged to ride safely and defensively, while drivers need to look out for motorcyclists who are sharing the road.”

Below are a few specific tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation:

For Drivers

  • Because of its small size, a motorcycle can be easily hidden in a car’s blind spots. Take an extra moment to look for motorcycles, whether you’re changing lanes or turning at intersections.
  • Because of its small size, a motorcycle may look farther away than it is. When checking traffic to turn at an intersection or into (or out of) a driveway, predict a motorcycle is closer than it looks.
  • Motorcyclists often slow by downshifting or merely rolling off the throttle, thus not activating the brake light. Allow more following distance, say 3 or 4 seconds. At intersections, predict a motorcyclist may slow down without visual warning.
  • Maneuverability is one of a motorcycle’s better characteristics, especially at slower speeds and with good road conditions, but don’t expect a motorcyclist to always be able to dodge out of the way.

For Motorcyclists

  • Wear a quality helmet, eye protection, and bright clothing.
  • Don’t ride when you are tired or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Know and follow the rules of the road, and stick to the speed limit
  • Give yourself space and time to respond to other motorists’ actions. Similarly, give other motorists time and space to respond to you.
  • Use lane positioning to be seen; ride in the part of a lane where you are most visible.
  • Be aware of the blind spots cars and trucks have.