When the weather is pleasant, many Californians enjoy going for a ride on a motorcycle. While this can be an enjoyable pastime, it is important to take precautions to prevent a dangerous collision when on the road.
According to data from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the number of people killed in motorcycle collisions rose by 175 percent during a recent 10-year period. In 1998, 204 people died in such accidents in California - by 2008, that figure had jumped to 560.
A similar trend was noted on a national scale during that period. Across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the number of motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle accidents doubled from 1999 to 2008. In total, over 34,000 motorcyclists died in crashes in the U.S. during the period from 2001 to 2008.
To stress the importance of motorcyclists taking particular precautions when on the road, it is critical to note that the number of people killed in other motor vehicle accidents actually declined during the same period of time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has noted that motorcyclists are most at risk of being killed in a crash. According to the NHTSA data, the likelihood of a motorcyclist being killed in a collision is 28 times higher than individuals in other types of motor vehicles.
Motorcyclists can take some steps to protect themselves from other drivers when on the road. For instance, motorcyclists should always wear a helmet when riding on California's roads.
Under California law, motorcyclists and their passengers are required to wear a helmet when on the road. According to the CDC, the law - which went into effect on January 1, 1992 - led to a 37 percent reduction in the number of motorcyclist fatalities in the state. Not only do helmets greatly lower the chance of death, they have also been shown to reduce the risk of head injury. Based on data from the CDC, wearing a helmet lowers an individual's risk of sustaining a head injury by 69 percent.
In addition to wearing a helmet, motorcyclists should always wear clothing that would provide some protection in the event of a crash. When riding at night, it is also wise to wear clothing with reflective panels. Also, motorcyclists should always refrain from riding if they have consumed alcohol or other substances that could impair their ability to operate the motorcycle safely.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to damages to cover the harm caused in the crash. Seek the advice of a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are protected.