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Motorcycling in California: An Enjoyable Pursuit or Hazard?

Posted by Dan Kann | May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Dangers of the Open Road

Californians love motorcycles. Much of the golden state has lovely weather pretty much all year round. Motorcycle riding is big in California as outdoor activities such as this thrive in conducive weather.

Although a gratifying pursuit for some, riding motorcycles has inherent hazards. It is undeniably riskier than driving a car. The fatality rate for a motorcyclist is 28 times more than car occupants in the United States.

Is There a Systemic Prejudice Against Motorcyclists?

Motorcyclists believe that the legal system has a bias against them and treats them less sympathetically than car drivers. The general feeling amongst the motorcycling fraternity is that the motorists, the police officers, and even the courts, treat them unfairly.

This implicit bias, many motorcyclists say, is apparent when it comes to claiming damages after an accident involving a motorcycle. This prejudice hampers their case for recovering accident injury claims on par with the car drivers. 

Facts and Statistics of Motorcycle Crashes

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,985 motorcyclists died in motorcycle crashes in 2018. This was down from 5,172 in 2017, but the percentage of motorcycle riders in traffic fatalities is still very high.

In California, motorcycle fatalities are 15 percent of all traffic fatalities. In 2017, California saw 529 motorcycle deaths, which is just under 63 for every 100,000 motorcycles registered in the state.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcycle accidents are between a car and a motorcycle. These are some of the common reasons for motorcycle accidents:

  • Sudden Lane Changes: Car drivers change lanes without checking for motorcyclists in their blind spot.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a major cause of accidents, be it on the part of a car driver or the motorcyclist. 
  • DUI: Drugs or alcohol impair the ability to operate or control any motor vehicle, and this is especially true for motorcycles.
  • Filtering: Filtering, also known as lane sharing or lane splitting, involves riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic. The practice of lane splitting is against the law in some states and can be dangerous, especially for a motorcyclist with not enough experience. California laws are mostly silent about lane splitting, neither allowing nor prohibiting it. 
  • Sudden Stops: If a motorcyclist stops suddenly, it puts them at risk of being rear-ended by a car. They are at a similar risk of injury if a car they are traveling behind stops suddenly.
  • The Inexperience of the Motorcyclists: Riding a motorcycle can be fun, but controlling it also requires sufficient experience. Being able to ride legally in California means you must fulfill certain requirements, but it does not necessarily mean that you have sufficient experience to ride a motorcycle safely. New motorcyclists with not enough experience to expertly maneuver the bikes often have accidents that are avoidable.
  • Left-turn Accidents: Misjudgment of the distance or speed of an oncoming car by a motorcyclist is the cause of many accidents involving motorcyclists. This mostly happens at intersections with the car making a left-turn. An attempt by the motorcyclist to ride straight through, or their attempt to overtake the car causes most of these accidents.
  • Road Conditions: Poor signage, defective signals, debris, and road cracks or holes can cause a motorcycle accident.
  • Motorcycle Defects: Although these are rare, but motorcycle defects can be disastrous for a motorcyclist.

Contact the Kann California Law Group

A motorcycle accident lawsuit is a serious matter. If you or someone you know is involved in a motorcycle accident injury claim, a professional motorcycle accident lawsuit attorney can plan a strategy that will help you achieve the best possible outcome. To protect your rights and to cope with any motorcycle bias, you must engage an experienced and competent attorney as soon as you can.

The attorneys at the Kann California Law Group have a comprehensive insight into California's personal injury justice system. We can represent you in Ventura, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles, Encino, Pasadena, and many other Southern California cities. Call us at (888)744-7730 or contact us online today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.

About the Author

Dan Kann

Daniel E. Kann has devoted his entire legal career exclusively to defending individuals facing criminal prosecution in Southern California. Dan fights criminal cases throughout Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Kern, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.


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