Fatal Motorcycle Accidents: Why Motorcycle Accidents Are So Dangerous
Whether you live in Northern California, work here, or are visiting, the beautiful scenery is apparent, and much of it can be easily seen while riding the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) on a motorcycle. The PCH spans over 600 miles of California coastline and is one of the most scenic roads in the United States and beyond. While traveling by motorcycle is liberating, and feeling the wind rush across your face and hair is a gratifying sensation, there are perils for bikers on California roadways. Below we discuss why motorcycle accidents are so dangerous.
Statistics nationwide reveal that over one-third of all motorcycle accidents are caused by other drivers. Thankfully, California has a universal helmet law, which means all motorcycle riders are required to wear helmets at all times. Bikers have to be extra aware of and careful of their surroundings while motorcycling. In fact, motorcyclists account for 14% of all crash-related fatalities even though they only constitute 3% of the vehicles on the road. Furthermore, more than 80% of motorcycle crashes result in an injury or death. Every year since 2015, more than 5,000 motorcyclists die, indicating the risks continue to imperil riders. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists died.
Motorcycle Accidents Are More Dangerous than Car Accidents
There are many reasons why roadway collisions involving motorcycles are more dangerous than crashes between two passenger vehicles, including:
- Motorcycle Riders Have Less Physical Protection: Motorcycles offer little to no protection for riders with their open structure. Passenger vehicles have a variety of safety features (in addition to being enclosed) including airbags, seatbelts, and more. Even when bikers wear all of the proper safety gear, they remain vulnerable to catastrophic and life-altering injuries.
- Motorcycles Have Less Braking Power: Since they are lighter than cars, motorcycles should theoretically stop more quickly; however, cars have four tires which provide double the friction surface of a bike. In addition, cars often have better tires and when they have to stop quickly they don’t run the risk of flipping over like bikers do.
- Bikers Have Less Control Over Motorcycles: Motorcycles can be harder to drive due to being less stable and the less experience a biker has, the more likely they are to get into a crash.
- Other Drivers Are Less Considerate of Motorcycles: Drivers know they are sharing the roads with more than just large commercial trucks and other passenger vehicles, so they should be looking out for motorcyclists – however, that does not always happen. Looking twice before pulling out, checking blind spots, and leaving plenty of room between a passenger vehicle and a motorcycle can go a long way toward drivers looking out for bikers and sharing the roads more safely.
- Motorcyclists Suffer from a Lack of Visibility: A motorcycle is harder for other motorists to see, increasing the risk of roadway collisions; and, despite your experience and skill with riding, you cannot control other drivers failing to look out for bikers. A significant portion of motorcycle accidents occur when passenger vehicles fail to check their blind spots before changing lanes or turning. Bikers can combat this by trying to stay out of other vehicles’ blind spots and wearing bright and/or reflective clothing.
- Motorcycles are More Vulnerable to Poor Road Conditions: Potholes, roadway debris, and uneven road surfaces can prove deadly for a biker. A passenger vehicle with four or more wheels can maintain stability in poor road conditions, but it only takes a minor hazard to cause a motorcyclist to lose control of their bike.
- Motorcycles are Less Stable Than Vehicles: Due to their two-wheel design, motorcycles are less stable than passenger vehicles, making them harder to control.
California has incredible weather year-round and is thus home to the greatest number of licensed motorcycle riders in the entire United States. The California Highway Patrol estimates that there are over 1.4 million motorcycle riders in the state. While motorcycle accidents may not be more common than other types of motor vehicle accidents, they are 35 times more likely to result in death. If you are injured, medical bills, rehabilitation, property damage, and therapies can cost you a lot of money.
If you or a loved one was injured due to someone else’s negligence in a California motorcycle crash, you should seek out the motorcycle accident lawyers at Curtis Law Group. Our experienced trial attorneys bring decades of success to your case. We have offices in and serve four Northern California markets – Modesto, Sacramento, Stockton, and Fresno. Our aggressive approach always demands maximum compensation for injury victims and their loved ones. We have helped thousands of clients recover through settlements and courtroom verdicts. To schedule a consultation, you can call us at 800-LAW-3080, or submit a form online.