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May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

May Is Motorcycle Safety Month

Given the recent spike in motorcycle fatalities, we want to remind all our readers that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The public awareness campaign highlights the importance of drivers and motorcyclists sharing the road responsibly.

Deadly Motorcycle Crashes on the Rise

Thanks to our warm and dry climate, California has a large motorcycling community. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 884,000 registered motorcycles and more than 1.4 million licensed riders in the state.

Of course, more motorcyclists on the road also often means more accidents. California had the second most motorcycle fatalities in the country last year. In total, 476 motorcyclists were killed in California traffic collisions and more than 14,000 others were injured.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities in bike crashes occur 27 times more often than in crashes of other vehicles. Given the risk of a serious crash, drivers and motorcyclists must both exercise caution.

“No matter how you travel on California’s roadways, safety should always come first. Motorcyclists and drivers both share equal responsibility for roadway safety,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow. “Motorcyclists are sometimes hard to see and are more vulnerable to collisions than other drivers. Be alert, share the road, and look twice for riders.”

Preventing a California Motorcycle Crash

Motorcyclists can take steps to protect themselves, such as always wearing a helmet, obeying the speed limit, and never riding impaired. However, drivers also share some of the responsibility. Motorcycle crashes can often be attributed to careless driving behaviors, including:

  • Failure to yield. Due to a motorcycle’s small size, drivers must check carefully before turning or changing lanes.
  • Failure to recognize a motorcycle. Whether they are talking on the phone or otherwise distracted, drivers often don’t see motorcycles until it is too late.
  • Tailgating. Rear-end motorcycle accidents are often caused by drivers who follow too closely or otherwise misjudge the time it takes to stop the vehicle.
  • Left-turn collisions. Drivers cause serious accidents when they veer into the path of a motorcyclist while turning.

Motorcyclists Suffer Serious Injuries

For motorcyclists, even minor crashes can result in serious injuries. Head trauma and spinal cord injuries are particularly common and can lead to permanent disabilities. Because they are so unprotected, motorcyclists also often suffer broken bones and internal injuries. The road itself can also cause serious injuries when unprotected skin hits the pavement. Serious skin abrasions, known as “road rash,” can require extensive medical treatments and can result in permanent scarring.

If you or someone you love has suffered serious injury in a California motorcycle crash, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.