Motorcycle Safety Awareness in California
Despite the fact that motorcycles only account for a total of 3% of all vehicles in the United States, they are given the very same rights on California roadways as any other vehicle. A lot of drivers seem to forget that fact when they are driving alongside motorcycles. According to Injury Facts 2017 (the statistical compendium of unintentional injuries and deaths), 2016 saw 5,286 fatalities of motorcycle drivers and riders combined, 91% of whom were men. This number represents 13% of all accident fatalities that year. Also in 2016, the non-fatal injury count from motorcycle-involved accidents was 88,000. According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle crashes had decreased in number starting in 2013 but in the past couple of years, that number has been on the rise again.
Motorcycle Safety is the Responsibility of Everyone on the Road
In several states, there has been a strong push recently to attempt to educate motorcyclists on how to exercise safety precautions in order to help avoid any automobile collisions, or worse, fatalities. The problem with initiatives such as this one, however, is that they only educate the motorcycle rider on what he personally can do to try to stay safe on the road. Nowhere in these programs does it take into account that the motorcyclist may not be the at-fault driver who was reckless or negligent and caused the accident, or caused the fatality. The same amount of importance regarding motorcycle safety that is taken with motorcycle riders needs to be taken with the drivers of other types of vehicles as well.
With motorcyclists being far more likely to be the one in the accident that sustains the major or catastrophic injury, or to be the one who doesn’t make it out alive, this subject is an important one that all California drivers need to be aware of and that all California drivers need to put into practice in order to keep the roads safe for EVERYONE who uses them, not just the larger vehicles. The dangers that are associated with riding a motorcycle, while very real, do not negate the obligation of other car drivers to exercise safe driving behaviors such as abstaining from distracted driving and using turn signals.
Other Driver Safety Precautions
Truck drivers, van drivers, car drivers… anyone on four wheels can take a few simple precautions to avoid getting into an accident with a motorcycle. These precautions include:
- Always “steer clear” (haha) of drowsy, distracted, and drunk driving. This safety measure benefits every single driver on the road and, if lived up to, would cut down on almost 90% of all traffic accidents
- Allow motorcyclists to have the full use of their area of the lane. You wouldn’t expect another car to let you drive in the same lane right beside him, would you? That same common sense needs to be extended to motorcycles, no matter how much smaller they are than your SUV
- If you find yourself behind a motorcycle on the road, do not tailgate. Allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the motorcycle in case of sudden braking. There are many road hazards that could cause a motorcycle to have to brake suddenly that a car would not even need to slow down for.
- Always check your blind spots. If they can hide a car they can certainly hide a motorcycle. After you have used your mirrors you need to physically turn your head to check your blind spots. If your mirrors were sufficient they wouldn’t be called blind spots, would they? It is also imperative that for the safety of drivers of ANY type of vehicle around you that you use your turn signals to indicate when you intend to turn, or change lanes.
The safety of our motorcycle riding friends and family is the responsibility of everybody on California’s roadways. Active participation from both passenger vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders is necessary if we are going to make California’s roads safe for motorcycles, thereby making them safer for all other drivers. The majority of people who drive larger vehicles such as cars and trucks will find their probability of causing an accident is reduced once they get used to thinking about motorcycles on the roadway and making it a habit to look for them. By following the rules of the road, taking basic safety measures, and using proper safety equipment when riding, the number of deaths from motorcycle collisions will hopefully be reduced.
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault in the Los Angeles, California area, then you need the legal services of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. Here at the Los Angeles Injury Group, we can help you recover money for your injuries and for other losses. If you would like a free consultation with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in the Los Angeles, California area, please give us a call at (310) 954-7248.