California motorcycle fatalities dropped in 2013

After leading the nation for motorcycle fatalities in 2012, California saw a significant dip in fatal motorcycle accidents in 2013, a recent report from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows. There were a total of 299 motorcyclists killed in California in 2013, down from 345 the previous year.

California safety officials say the trend has most likely been fueled in part by ongoing improvements in motorcycle safety awareness among both motorcyclists and car drivers alike. Recent campaigns to reduce motorcycle crashes in California have included increased emphasis on helmet use and DUI prevention among motorcyclists, as well as efforts to reduce lane-splitting accidents. 

Lane splitting is the practice of riding a motorcycle between two lanes of traffic, which is illegal in many states but permitted in California. Because lane-splitting motorcyclists have less room in which to stop or maneuver around potential hazards, they can face an especially high risk of being injured or killed — especially when other drivers fail to take proper precautions.

For instance, many motorcycle accidents occur when car drivers change lanes unexpectedly and collide with motorcyclists in their blind spots. To prevent these types of crashes, it is critical for California drivers to be alert to the presence of motorcyclists on the road and to always turn their heads to check for motorcycles before turning or changing lanes, rather than relying on mirrors alone.

Drivers who cause motorcycle accidents can often be held financially responsible for the resulting injuries and other damages. People who have been hurt in a California motorcycle crash should consider speaking with a skilled personal injury lawyer to discuss the possibility of pursuing compensation for their losses, including medical expenses and lost income.

Source: NBC, “California Motorcycle Fatalities Down,” Brittany Johnson, May 6, 2014

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