California has the legendary scenic highways and boulevards to make it one of the best places for a motorcycle ride in the world. Motorcyclists line up for the chance to enjoy the ocean air and sunshine on Highway 1 or to take a curvy ride through the mountains.
Sadly, California’s notorious traffic levels factor into any motorcycle trip and create hazards for all riders. The actions of careless and reckless drivers often place even the most careful motorcyclists at risk.
Maison Law of California decided to examine the most recent motorcycle accident numbers available. By highlighting recent increases in the frequency of California motorcycle collisions, there’s hope that more and more drivers will make the extra effort to pay attention to the road ahead. This extra vigilance on the part of all motorists would give motorcyclists the best chance to enjoy a ride and arrive back home safe and sound.
U.S. Motorcycle Collision Trends
Many 2021 motorcycle accident totals are still preliminary at this point, but a recent upward trend indicates that the news likely won’t be positive when the official numbers are in. From 2018 to 2019, motorcycle accident injuries increased from an estimated 82,000 victims to 84,000 victims. However, the recent jump in the tragic loss of life in motorcycle collisions has been even more dramatic.
Motorcycle accident fatality cases across the nation have reached levels above 5,000 victims every year since 2015. 2020 went down as one of the worst years on record for motorcyclist deaths. 2021 is expected to continue this trend.
The National Safety Council (NSC) compiled the discouraging path of motorcycle accident rates across the U.S. over the past several years.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), when considering vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.
Nationwide, California made national lists as one of the most dangerous states to ride a motorcycle in. California reported the second most motorcycle fatalities in 2020. The NSC found that Florida ranked first on that list and Texas ranked third. All three states held the same ranks in 2019 as well.
Motorcycle Crash Statistics in California
In California, motorcycle accident fatalities have remained steady over the past three years. But as mentioned, each year’s tragic totals consistently rank near the top when compared with other states.
2021 Motorcycle Accident Statistics in California Cities
Rural counties along the coast, in the mountains, and in the Central Valley, certainly contribute to these sad accident figures. Yet it’s the biggest cities in California that record the most heartbreaking motorcycle collision totals.
Los Angeles and the surrounding county provide the most hazardous roads for riders by far. The interstates and freeways record thousands of accidents and injuries each year.
California’s Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS) keeps the most up-to-date records of motorcycle accidents in the most populous cities in the state. Their 2021 accident totals are not official yet, but the trends are easy to see in busy places like Los Angeles County.
TIMS recorded just over 3,000 injuries stemming from motorcycle impacts in Los Angeles County in 2021. According to their preliminary numbers, motorcycle accidents involving injury or death took a slight step back in 2021. The numbers are still much higher than they should be.
Santa Clara County includes some of the most populated areas in all of California. San Jose, Mountain View, and Sunnyvale are home to many motorcycle enthusiasts. Those riders must confront busy street traffic and packed interstate traffic on most trips.
Santa Clara County motorcycle collisions left 277 people with injuries in 2021. An early look at unofficial 2021 statistics shows that motorcycle crashes involving an injury or a fatality fell in 2021. However, cases resulting in death rose slightly.
Fresno is another busy city where people depend on their motorcycles to commute to work, run errands, or just to enjoy the open air. Fresno motorcycle crashes left around 235 people injured in 2021. TIMS data shows that accident cases involving an injury or death took a dramatic leap when compared to 2020 numbers.
Motorcycle Helmet Use in Accidents
The California DMV Motorcycle Handbook confirms that all riders on motorcycles must wear a helmet approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation. You can visit our Motorcycle Helmet Laws in California page for more information.
These helmets are proven to save lives and reduce the severity of injuries. They are especially effective in reducing head and brain injuries in victims.
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reports that deaths involving riders without helmets had fallen in 2019. The numbers showed that there was an 18% drop from 2018. However, it remains to be seen if that positive trend continued into 2020 and across 2021.
The NHTSA found that in California, around 6% of all motorcyclists killed in 2019 were not wearing helmets. In states that don’t have universal helmet laws, that figure jumped to 57% on average.
A word for motorcycle accident victims in California…
No matter how cautious motorcyclists are, they’ll always be placed at risk by careless and distracted California drivers. Unfortunately, it appears the constant threat that reckless motorists pose will continue to impose on the safety of riders into 2022.
If you or a loved one become the victim of a motorist’s carelessness, don’t wait to seek legal help. Take advantage of a free consultation with a California Motorcycle Accident Lawyer to find out what your injuries may be worth. Maison Law works with motorcycle accident victims to make sure car insurance companies provide them with everything they need to heal and return to their bikes.