The last post on this blog discussed the circumstances of a motorcycle accident in which the cyclist's passenger was killed. The police report stated that the cyclist had been "lane-splitting" just before the accident. The legality of lane-splitting has stirred much debate among the California Highway Patrol, the state legislature, motorcycle clubs and others. As the result of this debate, the question that provides the title for this post does not have a clear answer.
When Californians hear the phrase "motorcycle accident," they commonly assume that the driver of the bike was injured, perhaps seriously. But motorcycles often carry passengers, too. A recent accident on Interstate 5 in Commerce demonstrates the risks to which motorcycle passengers are often exposed, especially in a motorcycle accident.
Most California motorcyclists are taught to take extensive safety precautions while riding their bikes, but even the most careful driver is at the mercy of automobile or truck drivers who are not careful or who may be incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. A glaring example of the helplessness of a law-abiding bike rider was demonstrated by a motorcycle accident in Lancaster, California when a 59-year-old motorcyclist was killed by a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol.
If you frequently ride motorcycles, or notice them on the roadway as a motorist, you may wonder how common motorcycle injuries and deaths are. Motorcycle accident-related fatalities doubled from 1999 to 2008. During the same period of time, deaths from motor vehicles accidents declined, reaching an all-time low in 2008. Motorcycle accident injuries can be extensive which is why it is important for motorcyclists who have been wrongfully harmed in a motorcycle accident to understand the options available to help with damages.
A recent post on this blog discussed how a California Highway Patrol officer was injured in a motorcycle crash on a state highway. Due to their small sizes and the rapid rates of speed at which they can travel, motorcycles can sometimes be difficult vehicles for other drivers to see on public roads. In some cases, an automobile driver's failure to yield to a motorcycle may not be intentional and may result from an oversight.
While police officials are often some of the safest and law-abiding officials, they are not completely protected from accidents. Such an accident occurred on California's Highway 680 recently. A California Highway Patrol officer was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident when he was thrown from his motorcycle after being struck by another vehicle. His injuries are serious but he is expected to recover.
Many California residents choose motorcycles as a form of transportation because of convenience, maneuverability, gas efficiency, and fun. However, anyone who reads the news will frequently come across reports of motorcycle accidents, many involving fatalities or catastrophic injuries, on nearly a daily basis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation recently released its latest report on motorcycles and traffic safety facts. The report analyzes data from 2011, the most recent data available.
Any accident that occurs on the roadways of California can result in serious injuries. It may not be surprising that the smaller the vehicle and the less protection it provides to passengers the more likely it is that there will be catastrophic injuries when that vehicle is involved in an accident. A good example of a vehicle fitting these qualifications is a motorcycle.
It is likely that most residents of California would agree that motorcycles are no match for a passenger vehicle or anything larger. The size of a motorcycle makes it prone to a motorcycle accident for a few different reasons. First of all, the vehicle is small so sometimes the drivers of other larger vehicles with which a motorcyclist is sharing the road don't see a motorcycle until it's too late. Second, a motorcycle does not offer much protection so when these accidents do happen the motorcyclist is the most likely candidate to suffer catastrophic injuries.
Summer is finally upon us, and as school is out and more people are enjoying fun summer activities such as beach days and vacations, there is also the potential that more motorcycles will be traveling the roadways of California. Although motorcycles provide a source of entertainment and enjoyment for their riders, they can also present dangers that are not as likely when residents travel in a passenger vehicle.