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The factors that put motorcyclists in California at risk

In 2012, there were 459 fatal motorcycle accidents, according to the California Highway Patrol. The CHP reports that another 11,158 motorcycle collisions caused injuries. Before going out for a ride, it is imperative for operators to understand the risks they face, which includes assessing their own responsibilities as well as the role that other drivers play.

According to a report from the Insurance Journal, the most dangerous time for motorcyclists is their first year of riding. Further, their first 30 days on the road are four times riskier than their second year. This is largely due to driver inexperience and an unfamiliarity with tasks such as shifting gears, braking and balancing.

Motorcyclists have a responsibility to protect themselves through wearing the appropriate gear. By law, all riders and passengers in California are required to wear a helmet. Countless studies have demonstrated that helmets alone can reduce the risk of serious injury and even death.

Beyond a rider’s responsibilities, however, is the role that motor vehicle operators play in collisions. Some common causes for motorcycle vs. motor vehicle incidents include the following: 

  •        Alcohol impairment
  •        Failure to yield
  •        Failure to see the motorcyclist

Road hazards also put motorcyclists at risk, as they are much more exposed than people riding in vehicles. Potholes, uneven terrain and slick pavement can pose a problem for operators who are driving recklessly.

The California Highway Patrol recommends that all riders sign up for the California Motorcyclist Safety Program, which gives training to both new and experienced riders. Anyone younger than 21 is required to take the course. Riders who have the proper training and safety equipment may be better prepared and less likely to suffer an injury.

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