Orange County is a dangerous place to ride a motorcycle, according to new Orange County motorcycle accident statistics released by the California Highway Patrol. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, there were 980 motorcycle accidents in Orange County in 2007, which resulted in 24 fatalities. By comparison there were 3,472 motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles County and 714 in Riverside County in 2007. According to CHP officials, Southern California has a high incidence of motorcycle crashes because more people like to ride two-wheelers here. And that of course is because of the year-round good weather.
In Los Angeles County, the number of motorcycle accident deaths has increased at a significant rate, CHP statistics show. There were 85 deaths and 2,792 injuries relating to motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles County in 2007. CHP studies show 96 people died in motorcycle collisions in 2008 in Los Angeles County compared to 58 deaths in 2001.
More people have started riding motorcycles over the last five years because of the economy and rising gas prices. It is simply more cost-efficient to ride a motorcycle than maintain a car, truck or sport utility vehicle. About 1.2 million Californians have licenses to drive motorcycles, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles. That is 300,000 more riders than in 2001.
Statistics show that motorcycle fatalities are only continuing to increase — with 564 total killed in California last year, compared to 363 in 2004. In Orange County, 24 people — 22 of them motorcyclists — were killed in such motorcycle collisions in 2007. According to CHP officials, the most common causes of motorcycle collisions (whether the motorcyclist or another vehicle is to blame for the crash) include:
- Unsafe speeds (3,565 incidents)
- Improper turning (1,550)
- Improper passing (300)
- Unsafe lane changes (287)
- Right-of-way issues (284)
Safe and accident free riding is not only the responsibility of the motorcyclist, but also other drivers who must remember at all times that they share the road with motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians as well. A number of Southern California motorcycle collisions we see involve cars making left turns at intersections and colliding with a motorcycle because they “did not see the approaching motorcyclist.” On the other hand, motorcyclists must also remember to stick to speed limits, take safety precautions, wear helmets and other safety gear and take the required training. Please ride safely!