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California Motorcycle Accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2006, there were 506 motorcyclists killed in California motorcycle accidents. Even when people survive, California motorcycle accident injuries can be catastrophic, including serious brain and spinal cord injuries.


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California Motorcycle Accident Injuries

California motorcycle accident injuries can be serious and even fatal. People who survive their motorcycle accident may suffer from life-altering injuries, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, lost limbs, permanent disfiguration and chronic pain. Financial difficulties can also occur, including loss of livelihood, loss of future wages and expenses incurred for medical care.

The NHTSA estimates that motorcyclists are 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and eight times more likely to be injured.

Types of California Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycles can be involved in the same types of accidents as any other motor vehicle. These accidents include head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, left-turn collisions, running stop signs or red lights, speeding, DUI, and broadside collisions.

Furthermore, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2005), motorcycles are less stable and less visible than passenger cars, making them more likely to be involved in motorcycle crashes. When they are involved in crashes, riders have less protection than people in passenger vehicles do, making them more likely to suffer injury.

The Hurt Report ("Motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures")

A 1981 study conducted by Harry Hurt at the University of Southern California, with funding from the NHTSA, is widely recognized as being a groundbreaking report regarding the causes and effects of motorcycle accidents. Although the study is almost 20 years old, many of the conclusions are still considered accurate and insightful.

According to The Hurt Report, which examined motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles, the most common motorcycle accidents involved another driver causing a collision by violating the right-of-way of the motorcycle, often by making a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcycle. This is because the motorcycle is less visible and the driver making the turn often does not see the oncoming vehicle.

The report further found that approximately 75 percent of motorcycle accidents involve a collision with another vehicle—usually a passenger vehicle—and approximately 66 percent of those accidents were caused by the driver of the other vehicle violating the motorcycle's right-of-way. Finally, the study found that in the motorcycle crashes studied, 98 percent of multiple vehicle collisions and 96 percent of single vehicle collisions resulted in an injury to the motorcycle rider, with 45 percent resulting in an injury considered more than minor.

Helmet Laws

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as of January, 2010, California law requires all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.

California Motorcycle Accident Legal Help

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Last updated on


Two People Killed in California Motorcycle Crash
Two People Killed in California Motorcycle Crash
February 21, 2010
Palm Springs, CA A California motorcycle accident killed two and injured two others on Valentine's Day when a car collided with a motorcycle on a twisting section of Highway 74.


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