Most California residents are used to seeing motorcycles on streets and freeways, but riders and drivers are not always good at sharing the road safely. Unfortunately, when accidents do occur, the risk of injury or death is far greater for motorcycle riders and passengers than it is for people in a car or truck. While the causes of motorcycle accidents vary, most crashes put riders at risk of traumatic brain injuries and other serious issues.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that fatal motorcycle accidents are occurring more frequently across the country, especially in California. According to the report, the number of motorcycle-related fatalities in 2016 was more than double that in 1997. In terms of fatal motorcycle accidents, California's numbers are in the top 30% of all states.
Although only 3% of the registered vehicles in the United States are motorcycles, they account for over 14% of all traffic fatalities. Statistics from 2016 show a difference in the number of fatalities among men and women. While the vast majority of males who died in motorcycle accidents were driving, most female fatalities were passengers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides information to motorcycle riders to help prevent injuries. Because motorcyclists have far less protection in the event of a crash than people in a car or truck, the best way to reduce the risk of injury is to prevent accidents in the first place. Promoting motorcycle rider training programs and creating driver awareness materials are some of the ways the NHTSA tries to reduce the number of accidents. The organization also encourages riders to wear protective gear, including jackets, gloves, eye protection and shoes. Statistics show that a properly fitting helmet is the most important piece of motorcycle gear, helping protect riders from serious head injuries.