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California motorcycle accidents: staying safe

Even though California's temperate climate means that motorcycling is possible year-round in many areas, the warmer temps and additional sunshine of spring and summer bring out motorcyclists in droves all across our great state. According to data provided by the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 884,000 registered motorcycles in the state, and 1.4 million residents have a motorcycle license.

Motorcyclists enjoy the freedom of the wind on their face, an unobstructed view of the scenery, the feel of the sunshine and the adrenaline rush, but their enjoyment comes at a price. Should an accident happen, motorcycles offer very limited protection for riders, thus their bodies will take the brunt of any trauma and force, whether that be from laying the bike down on the pavement, colliding with a stationary object or being struck by a moving vehicle.

Obviously, with more people out riding, there comes an increased chance of accidents. It is vitally important that both motorcyclists and vehicle drivers remain vigilant and aware of the fact that they are sharing the road. This means that cyclists and drivers alike should:

  • Never drink and drive - alcohol and drugs slow the body's response times and decision-making processes, making it much more difficult to respond to variations in traffic levels, road conditions or negligent motorists
  • Avoid distractions - distracted driving is, simply put, dangerous driving. Trying to update social media or send text messages while behind the wheel has been proven to cause accidents. When you are driving a motorcycle or vehicle at highway speeds, all your focus needs to be on safe operation and the road ahead. Something as simple as looking down to grab your coffee while in the car could result in you striking - and seriously injuring - a motorcyclist.
  • Rest up before hitting the road - drowsy drivers make mistakes that can cost lives. Much like alcohol and drugs, being overly fatigued slows your body's thought processes and physical reactions. You won't be able to, for example, swerve to avoid debris in the road if you are nodding off. 

Even with due vigilance and caution on the part of motorcyclists, crashes do happen. The California Highway Patrol's Statewide Integrated Traffic Records system reports that nearly 500 motorcyclists and motorcycle passengers were killed in accidents last year, and another 14,000 were injured. Because they don't have the benefit of steel passenger compartments, airbags and padded seats, motorcyclists face severe injuries when accidents happen.

If you or someone you love has been seriously hurt in a motorcycle accident because of someone else's negligence or recklessness, speak with a local personal injury attorney to find out more about your legal rights.

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