Updated: Apr 30
How To Preserve Your Motorcycle Accident Claim In California
The excitement of a motorcycle ride is unrivaled for motorcycle enthusiasts. Many riders feel that nothing compares to being out on California's sun-drenched highways. Others ride motorcycles for practical purposes, such as navigating Southern California's infamous traffic.
Motorcycling, on the other hand, is not without dangers. Riders who are moving at high speeds and exposed can be extremely dangerous. When a motorcycle collides with another vehicle, the rider is almost always the one who suffers the most serious or fatal injuries.
Although motorcyclists are required by law to wear helmets, they are still extremely vulnerable on the roads. Motorcycles move rapidly, are difficult to see, and are exposed to the elements. When they collide with larger vehicles like cars, trucks, and buses, the consequences can be disastrous.
When another person's negligence causes a motorcycle accident, the injured victim has the right to claim compensation for their injury, costs, and losses. Working with a skilled California Attorney For Personal Injury would ensure that the client has the best chance of winning their case.
Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle injury rates in California and the rest of the country are sobering, demonstrating how dangerous a collision can be for riders.
More than 8.7 million motorcycles are registered in the United States, which is an all-time record.
In 2016, more than 104,000 bikers were injured in crashes.
In 2017, there were over 5,000 deaths in the United States.
Motorcycle fatality rates are more than 25 times higher than car fatality rates, rendering it the most dangerous transportation mode.
In 2016, 566 motorcyclists were killed, and 14,400 were injured in accidents across California.
According to data from the California Highway Patrol, about 65 percent of motorcycle deaths involve some degree of rider error.
What's the Difference Between a Motorcycle and Car Accident?
Motorcycle accidents are similar to other types of car accidents in many ways—any personal injury allegation whose results will be dealt with under California's comparative negligence rules. An at-fault defendant — most commonly a driver, though other parties can also be held legally responsible for the victim's losses — can be held legally liable for the victim's losses.
Plaintiffs require competent legal counsel in all motorcycle and automobile traffic accidents to perform a thorough investigation, locate all liable parties and sources of insurance, assess losses, and battle for full compensation.
There are, however, several significant distinctions between motorcycle and automobile accidents. Motorcyclists, in particular, are much more likely to sustain serious injuries. In a motorcycle accident event, there is usually a lot more at stake.
Motorcyclists are often subjected to unfair and misleading discrimination by insurance firms. In certain cases, insurers tend to blame the motorcyclist by using false myths about them. Bikers, on the other hand, are among the most vigilant and alert drivers.
Finally, motorcycle accidents are often caused by unique factors. Motorcycle accidents often occur due to other drivers failing to recognize the existence of a motorcycle or as a result of a highway hazard that is particularly dangerous to riders.
Motorcycle Safety Laws in California
The following laws apply to motorcycle riders' safety:
1. Helmets. Some states do not have regulations requiring riders to wear helmets. Both motorcyclists in California, as well as 19 other states, are required to wear helmets. According to California Vehicle Code 27803, all motorcycle riders and passengers must wear a helmet that the manufacturer has approved as meeting the US Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 218.
The majority of catastrophic and fatal motorcycle crashes include head injuries, and a significant number of these severe injuries and deaths could be avoided if riders wore helmets properly.
Motorcyclists and their passengers who do not wear an authorized helmet can face fines and other penalties. According to the statute, any police officer has the authority to charge a violator with a simple equipment violation or a more serious penalty. With proof of correction, an equipment infringement charge will result in a fine. The California Highway Patrol, on the other hand, claims that breaking the helmet rule is an immediate safety threat that cannot be corrected. A violation of CHP guidelines could result in a fine and a year of probation.
2. Headlights. Motorcycles that were manufactured after 1978 are required to have an automatic headlight that turns on and stays on for as long as the engine is running. This is to improve visibility day or night. 25650.5)
3. Handlebars. All motorcycles built and sold after January 1, 1973, must have working turn signals on both the motorcycle's front and rear.
4. System of Exhaust. The Motorcycle Anti-Tampering Act requires all motorcycles and exhaust systems made after 2013 to be compliant.
5. Splitting lanes. A two-wheeled vehicle can share a lane with stopped or moving vehicles when driving in the same direction. The state of California is the only one that permits lane splitting. (CVC 21658.1)
6. Course on Safety. Riders who are under the age of 21 must complete the Basic Rider Course offered by the California Highway Patrol. Riders aged 21 and up are exempt from taking the safety course if they pass the skills test. (CVC 2930-2935)
7. Regulations for Passengers. Both riders must have proper seating in the back or in an attached sidecar designed for passengers, as well as footrests. (CVC 27800)
Motorcycle Accidents in California: Common Causes
A serious motorcycle accident may have far-reaching implications for all parties involved. In California, the following are some of the most common road hazards and causes of motorcycle accidents:
Left-turn collisions. The other car turning left through traffic causes more than 40% of all incidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle. This occurs when a turning driver fails to notice or misjudges the approaching motorcycle's speed at intersections, side streets, driveways, and parking lots.
Head-on collisions. More than half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions between motorcycles and other vehicles. Nearly 75% of the time, the car collides head-on with the motorcycle. The rider and/or passenger are often killed in these forms of collisions.
Speeding. When cars are driving at high speeds, and the drivers or passengers have little time to respond, a crash is more likely to occur. Regardless of who is speeding, this is the case. Owing to the lack of safety that motorcyclists have on the roads, high-speed crashes can be fatal.
Lane Merging. When larger vehicles change lanes without looking, motorcyclists are put in danger. If a biker is riding alongside a car that merges lanes without warning, the motorcyclist can be knocked off their bike and suffer serious injuries.
Distracted driving. This is the leading cause of car accidents in the state of California. Texting, setting your GPS, fiddling with your audio choices, or eating while driving are all examples of this. A distracted driver may easily miss a motorcycle and fail to see or respond to it or drift carelessly across lanes.
Driving while inebriated. Driving while inebriated with alcohol or drugs can be particularly dangerous. This refers to all motorcyclists and car or truck drivers who are under the influence.
Hazards and road debris. Loose objects in the road, as well as roadway defects like potholes and uneven surfaces, can cause motorcycle accidents. Motorcycles are inherently riskier than bigger, more robust vehicles with four or more wheels.
Lane splitting. When a motorcycle rides between two lanes to squeeze through traffic, lane splitting can cause an accident. While this is legal, other drivers can fail to see bikers riding between lanes.
California's law on Lane Splitting
Lane splitting is a practice on which everybody has an opinion. As a result, recovering damages after a lane splitting accident can be difficult. Except in states where it is legal, such as California, a police officer or judge may have an opinion about whether it is right or wrong, and that opinion can influence the outcome of a case.
Because of the following reasons, lane splitting can result in an accident:
Two or more vehicles are in near proximity to the motorcycle.
Since the motorcycle is so close to the vehicle, the rider has little maneuverability.
Car drivers often fail to notice that a motorcycle is approaching them in slowed or stopped traffic.
According to the regulation, if you're going to do lane splitting in California, you must do so in a "clean and cautious" manner.
Here are some tips for keeping yourself safe when lane splitting:
Always be careful of the cars on both sides.
If traffic speeds up to more than 30 miles per hour, return to your correct lane.
Suppose both lanes are moving at the same speed, just lane-split. When one lane moves faster than the other, cars in the slow lane are more likely to attempt to merge into the faster lane, increasing your chances of being struck.
If you're riding after dark, make sure your headlights are turned on, and you're wearing reflective clothing.
If you're in a car's blind spot, be cautious.
Do not rush past slow or stopped vehicles; instead, drive slightly higher than the rest of the traffic.
Passing between cars that are too close together is not a good idea.
Where Do Motorcycle Accidents Usually Happen?
Motorcycle accidents can happen at any time while a rider is on the road. However, some places are more dangerous for motorcyclists than others. The following are some of the most common locations where these mishaps occur:
Intersections. Intersections are one of the most popular sites for motorcycle accidents. A motorcycle rider can be killed in an intersection collision. At an intersection, a motorcyclist may be injured in a variety of ways.
Left-hand turns. These are the riskiest situation for motorcycle riders, accounting for 42% of all motorcycle crashes. When a driver fails to see an oncoming motorcycle and makes a sharp left turn, the motorcycle is likely to collide with the car.
Rear-end collisions. A motorcycle rider is vulnerable to rear-end collisions while approaching stop signs or stoplights. If a passenger vehicle collides with a motorcyclist, the average passenger vehicle weighs 4,000 pounds and can cause serious damage and injuries.
Interstates and freeways. Due to increased traffic and high-speed rates, motorcycle accidents are also frequent on interstates and freeways. Motorists sometimes change lanes abruptly on interstates, putting them in the path of a motorcycle. Increased speed is a significant factor in the severity of motorcycle accidents.
Roads with two lanes. Oncoming traffic makes two-lane roads and highways hazardous. A distracted or disabled driver can veer into a motorcyclist's lane as they travel around a curve in the road. A head-on collision with vehicles running at high speeds can be fatal for a motorcyclist because there is no way to avoid an oncoming vehicle's course.
Examples of Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries
Motorcycle accidents can result in serious injuries. Our pre-screened California Personal Injury Attorney often see motorcycle riders suffer from the following severe injuries: