Motorcycle Awareness Month in Southern California

May is Motorcycle Awareness Month and local authorities are urging responsible driving to keep motorcyclists safe.

An article in CBS Los Angeles noted that May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. The Los Angeles Police Department is taking this opportunity to highlight the dangers that motorcyclists in the area face. They are also encouraging drivers of all vehicles to exercise caution and drive responsibly to help reduce or prevent serious motorcycle accidents.

The statistics back up the call

The LAPD's effort is launched with good intention and good reason. The article notes that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are five times more likely to sustain injuries in accidents than their counterparts in passenger vehicles. People on motorcycles are also 30 times more likely to die in accidents than drivers or passengers in other vehicles.

In looking at other data supplied by the NHTSA for 2013, it is seen that 453 out of 3,000 vehicular fatalities were motorcyclists. Los Angeles County was the site of more of those fatalities than any other county in the state. Four other Southern California counties had the next highest fatality rates. The breakdown includes the following:

  • In Los Angeles County, 588 people died in traffic accidents. Of those, 102 were motorcyclists.
  • In San Diego County, 43 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes.
  • In Riverside County, another 38 bikers died in accidents.
  • San Bernardino and Orange Counties lost 32 and 31 motorcyclists in wrecks, respectively.

Of the 453 bikers who died statewide, 409 were known to be wearing helmets at the time their accidents occurred. As the American Motorcyclist Association notes, the use of helmets is required by law in California at all times. However, it is a sad reality that helmets cannot always save lives when serious accidents occur.

All bikers are vulnerable

Delving further into the NHTSA statistics, a breakdown by age range shows that motorcyclists of all ages are the victims of fatal accidents. This dispels the myth that some people hold that it is only young and reckless bikers who are at risk of serious injury or death. Many older and experienced bikers can be struck by negligent drivers despite their responsible bike operation.

Of the 453 motorcycle fatalities in 2013 in California, 108 victims were in their 30s. Another 69 were in their 40s. Victims aged between 50 and 59 numbered 82. There were also 53 fatalities involving motorcyclists 60 years and older.

Recent news stories show the problem continues. CBS Los Angeles reported on the death of a motorcyclist, after being struck by a suspected drunk driver in Lancaster. Another motorcyclist had to be airlifted to a hospital after a collision with a passenger vehicle in Malibu according to NBC Los Angeles.

What motorcyclists should do

In addition to ensuring they drive safely and responsibly, motorcyclists should know their rights. This involves the right to compensation when involved in an accident. Always talk to an attorney after a crash to get the help you deserve.

Keywords: motorcycle, accident, injury