Motorcycle accident fatalities are very much a reality in California and across the United States. In fact, a recent article in the San Diego Union-Tribune points out that with more and more baby boomers riding motorcycles, serious injury and fatality accidents are on the rise.
The article talks about the spike in motorcycle accident deaths in North San Diego County. According to the report, the California Highway Patrol has already investigated 15 fatal motorcycle crashes this year, compared to eight last year – that’s almost a 100 percent increase over just one year. CHP officials say they don’t know what’s causing these incidents and what can be done to stop these deaths.
This reflects a nationwide trend as well, according to a recent report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which shows that motorcycle fatalities last year made up 11 percent of all traffic deaths in the United States. That number was only at 5 percent in 1997.
The same report also shows that last year, California was among the states that led in motorcycle deaths with 506 fatalities – second only to Florida, which takes the first place on that list with 562 deaths. Authorities attribute the rise in deaths on several factors including distracted motorists and rider inexperience. In many cases, including a Thanksgiving weekend fatality crash in Oceanside, alcohol was involved. In many cases, the motorcycle rider was just going too fast, the Union-Tribune article says. Among the fatalities are veterans who return from Iraq and riders 40 and over, who just don’t survive injuries the way 20-somethings do.
This issue is obviously a two-sided coin. On the one hand, there’s the issue of negligent, careless drivers who are just not paying attention to motorcycle riders. Then there are those drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. And of course, sometimes it is the fault of the motorcycle rider who is either going too fast or is under the influence.
The lesson here – whether it’s a driver or a motorcycle rider – is to exercise care, caution and responsibility on the road. While drivers of passenger vehicles and big rigs must learn to share the freeways and roadways with motorcycle riders, riders themselves need to be responsible. They must wear protective gear, especially helmets. A majority of motorcycle deaths result from severe head trauma.