Los Angeles, CA

Motorcycle Safety Tips in Los Angeles, CA

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Motorcycle Safety Tips in Los Angeles, CA by M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers

California has more registered motorcycles than any other state in the U.S. With over 950,000 motorcycles, California has over 11% of the nation’s motorcycles.

The large population of motorcycles and motorcyclists means a large number of motorcycle accidents. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP), motorcycle accidents in California result in over 14,000 injuries and over 550 deaths every year.

Here are some motorcycle safety tips for reducing your risk of a serious motorcycle accident in Los Angeles, CA.

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

Causes of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

In the CHP report cited above, Los Angeles County had 4,315 motorcycle accident injuries and 317 motorcycle accident fatalities.

According to the CHP report, the primary crash factors when the car or truck driver was to blame included:

  • Unsafe speed
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper turn
  • Ignoring traffic signals or signs
  • Improper lane change

Bear in mind that the CHP report did not have a separate category for distracted driving. Instead, the report categorized crashes by the traffic violation that resulted from the distraction. 

For example, if the distracted driver failed to see someone in front of them stopping and did not stop before hitting them, the CHP would categorize the primary crash factor as unsafe speed rather than distracted driving.

The CHP report also listed the primary crash factors when the motorcycle driver was to blame. The report listed:

  • Unsafe speed
  • Improper turn
  • DUI
  • Improper passing
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way

Interestingly, the list of primary crash factors differs when the motorcyclist bears fault for the accident.

Motorcycle Safety Tips in Los Angeles, CA

Based on these crash statistics, you can reduce your motorcycle accident risk by following a few guidelines.

Practice Riding

Motorcycles are inherently less stable than vehicles with three or more wheels. You must maintain your balance while maneuvering your motorcycle. Driving a car or truck does not require the same level of skill.

The same close call in a car could result in an injury or death on a motorcycle if you lose control of your motorcycle or lose your balance. This risk inherent in riding a motorcycle is the reason California requires you to pass a skills test for your motorcycle license

Even after you pass your test, you should not assume you are ready for every scenario that can happen.

Practice riding your motorcycle. And do not take risks riding your motorcycle that could put you in an unfamiliar situation.

For example, as a new motorcyclist, you should be careful in poor road or weather conditions. Until you understand how your motorcycle will react, you should watch your speed and avoid risky maneuvers. Empty parking lots are excellent places for honing your riding skills.

Slow Down

One common primary crash factor between cars and motorcycles is speed. Speed increases the severity of a crash.

The energy of a crash increases with the square of the velocity. This means that doubling your speed from 25 miles per hour to 50 miles per hour will quadruple the energy of a crash.

Speed also increases your braking distance. This happens because you have less time to react at higher speeds, and your motorcycle is covering more distance per unit of time. Thus, at 20 miles per hour, you need 40 feet to stop your motorcycle, but at 40 miles per hour, you need 118 feet to stop your motorcycle.

Speeding also causes a unique problem for motorcyclists. If you brake too hard trying to avoid a collision, you risk putting your motorcycle into a slide.

This happens because your front brakes will cause your back wheel to catch up to your front wheel. But the only way this can happen is for your motorcycle to turn. As your motorcycle turns, you can lose your balance and set the motorcycle down on its side.

Pass Carefully

One of the riskiest maneuvers for motorcyclists is passing a vehicle. Motorcycles are less visible than cars and trucks because they are smaller and more agile. As a result, drivers are less likely to spot a passing motorcycle than a passing car or truck.

Just as importantly, drivers do not expect to spot motorcycles in the passing lane. Drivers are conditioned to spot cars and trucks. When a motorcycle passes, most drivers do not register the motorcycle next to them.

To avoid an accident while passing another car, you should pass quickly and watch for any sign of the driver moving into your lane. You may want to consider waiting to pass slower vehicles until you can safely lane split as defined by California law.

Do Not Drink and Ride

Drinking and riding will lead to a motorcycle crash. Drugs — including marijuana — and alcohol can impair a driver’s ability to drive safely. Intoxicants can:

  • Slow your reaction time
  • Make you drowsy
  • Impair your ability to concentrate and make decisions
  • Cause dizziness

Specifically, drugs and alcohol can affect your balance and ability to control your motorcycle. As a result, you could react poorly to a situation that you could avoid while sober. Or worse yet, you could create an avoidable situation by driving while impaired instead of getting a ride.

Wear a Helmet

You should follow California’s mandatory universal helmet law and wear a helmet every time you ride. This could reduce the severity of your injuries if you get into a motorcycle accident. It could even save your life.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, a motorcycle helmet reduces the risk of head injury by 69%. It also reduces the risk of death to operators by 37% and passengers by 41%.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, 2019 saw 28 motorcyclist deaths due to a failure to wear a helmet. Statistically speaking, if those 28 deceased motorcyclists had been wearing helmets, 69% of them — 19 riders — might still be alive today.

After a Crash in Los Angeles

Unfortunately, you cannot avoid every motorcycle crash. Even when you do everything correctly, you can still end up getting hit by a careless, distracted, or intoxicated driver. After a crash that resulted from someone else’s negligence, you can pursue injury compensation.

To discuss the injury compensation you can seek for your crash, contact or call M&Y Personal Injury Lawyers at (877) 300-4535 for a free consultation with a Los Angeles motorcycle accident attorney.