May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Here’s what you need to know about motorcycle accidents in our area and around the nation, plus top tips for staying safe.

Written on behalf of Aitken* Aitken* Cohn

It’s hard to deny the romance. Motorcyclists describe riding in rhapsodic terms: freedom, escape, adventure, adrenaline rush, unfettered connection to their surroundings, and the joy of the open road.

With its diverse and stunning terrain and endless miles of winding scenic roads, California is often considered the ultimate destination for riders—a motorcyclist’s paradise.

But the very factors that make motorcycle riding so thrilling also make it perilous—a balance of risk and reward. Motorcyclists are largely unprotected from their surroundings; they’re exposed to various road hazards and vulnerable to the mistakes and recklessness of other drivers in larger vehicles.

Sadly, the early months of 2024 have already seen several catastrophic motorcycle accidents in our area.

  • January 9th – A 47-year-old Harley-Davidson rider in Huntington Beach lost control of the bike and collided with a Honda Civic. The driver of the car was unharmed; the motorcyclist was killed.
  • February 1st – One 23-year-old rider died, and another was critically injured when two people on a Yamaha lost control of the motorcycle on dry roads in fair weather. Neither rider was wearing a helmet.
  • March 20th – A motorcyclist in Long Beach was ejected from his bike in a collision with a car and thrown into the path of an oncoming Metro A Line train, where he was hit and died.
  • March 21st – In Temecula, two young people sustained severe injuries when their electric motorcycle collided with a sedan.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Knowledge is power, and understanding the statistics and factors that contribute to serious accidents can help you ride more safely.

  • Although motorcycles make up only 3% of all vehicles registered in the U.S. and account for only 0.6% of total miles traveled, according to the National Safety Council, they are responsible for 14% of all traffic deaths.
    Nationally, motorcycle riders are 28 times more likely to lose their lives in a crash compared to drivers of other types of motor vehicles and four times as likely to be injured.
  • In 2021, according to Forbes’ most recent data, 83,000 riders were injured in motorbike-related accidents nationwide; 5932 were killed.
  • In 2022, there were a total of 10,597 motorcycle accidents in California alone, resulting in 632 injuries and 532 deaths.
  • In several recent years, California has ranked second in the country, after Florida, for the total number of fatal motorcycle accidents.
  • Males and riders ages 25-34 account for the highest number of motorcycle accident victims.
  • 76% of motorcycle accidents are head-on collisions. A motorcyclist is struck from behind in only 7% of crashes.
  • Always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet increases your odds of surviving a motorcycle accident by 37%. In 2,251 of 2021’s deadly crashes, the deceased rider was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. States with more lax laws have higher incidences of motorcycle fatalities. Yet, only 18 states require that all riders wear a helmet. It’s the law in California—all motorcycle riders must wear a helmet. Be sure to choose one that is Department of Transportation compliant.
  • Get trained and properly licensed. Many motorcycle accidents are at least partially attributable to inexperience or insufficient training—over one-third involve an unlicensed driver.
  • Slow down. 34% of motorbike fatalities involve speeding.
  • Stay Sober. In 2020, 27% of fatal motorcycle accidents involved alcohol; of those, 40% took place after dark.
  • The most dangerous times to ride: Weekend evenings (6-9 pm) and weekday afternoons/rush hours (3-6 pm) each account for about a quarter of deadly motorcycle crashes.

If you’re passionate about motorcycling, the veteran Orange County motorcycle accident attorneys at Aitken *Aitken * Cohn are passionate about helping keep you safe on the road. And, if the unthinkable happens, we’re here to help you recover the financial recovery you need to move forward with your life. We have decades of success in motorcycle accident suits, including securing a landmark $11 million settlement with a statewide political party after an unlicensed automobile driver—a paid employee campaigning for a candidate—struck down a father of six who was commuting on his motorcycle. The firm also obtained a $1.3 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of San Diego for the dangerous condition of public property. AAC’s motorcycle attorneys represented the daughter and widow of a man who died of catastrophic injuries after he hit a pothole and lost control while riding a motorcycle.