California’s open roads and gorgeously diverse scenery are a motorcycle enthusiast’s dream. Yet as thrilling as they are, motorcycles come with some risk. Unlike cars and trucks, motorcycles offer little protection against the elements, which exposes riders to serious injury from the negligence of other motorists. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to be killed compared to car and truck drivers and passengers.
Data from the GHSA also shows that roughly 700 people are killed in motorcycle accidents every year — making it one of the deadliest states in the US for motorcycle riders.
To help keep you safe out on the roads, here’s what you need to know about motorcycle accidents.
Common Types of Motorcycle Accidents
Motorcycle collisions often share the same characteristics — and by learning what to look for and what to avoid, we can enjoy the roads with less risk. Here are a few of the most common collision scenarios:
- Head on collision — an extremely dangerous accident and likely to be fatal at high speeds. Responsible for more than half of all motorcycle fatalities. To avoid, try to read the road as you go and travel at a safe speed.
- Lane splitting — this occurs when a motorcyclist attempts to weave between two lanes, a move often done to avoid sitting on California’s slow-moving freeways. Other motorists, however, often do no expect to see motorcyclists attempting this maneuver in stop and go traffic, which can lead to collisions. This means it’s essential to proceed slowly and ensure you have enough room to split the lane.
- Left turn crashes — it’s estimated that more than one-third of collisions fit this scenario, which often occurs when a car is waiting to turn at an intersection. Situational awareness is key here, as you need to anticipate what the other driver will do.
- Intoxication or excess speed — these situations are extremely dangerous, especially given how vulnerable and exposed motorcycle riders are. Always ride sober and at legal speeds.
What to Do if a Collision Occurs
Sometimes even the most cautious riders are victimized by another person’s negligence. Should this happen to you, make sure you follow some smart safety protocols, including the following:
- Move injured people out of the road
- Call 911
- Exchange insurance and contact information
- Use videos and photos to document the scene
- Get contact info from witnesses
- Do no admit fault
- Keep track of any lost wages and medical bills
- Contact an attorney