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Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries and extensive property damage for those involved. But where do most motorcycle accidents actually occur?
Do they happen in rural areas or urban areas more often?
What types of roadways are motorcycle accidents more likely to occur on?
Here, our Orange County personal injury lawyers want to discuss where most motorcycle accidents occur so that you can take the steps necessary to remain safe on the roadways of California.
Data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety indicates that nearly 13,000 total motorcyclists sustained injuries as a result of traffic collisions during the most recent reporting year. Additionally, 474 motorcyclists lost their lives during that same year.
In some states across the country, the Departments of Transportation will break down the general location of where motorcycle accidents occur. In particular, the states will examine whether motorcycle crashes occur in rural or urban areas. However, the California OTS does not break down the data for us like that.
What we can tell you is that motorcycle accidents are much more likely to occur in urban areas in California than they are in rural areas, a trend that we also see across the US. This makes sense because urban areas are where traffic is going to be much more congested. Areas with large amounts of traffic are more dangerous for motorcyclists. Stop and go traffic, in particular, is a challenge.
Motorcyclists are much more likely to be rear-ended when they are in the middle of traffic jams or crowded roadways than anywhere else. That is why California has legalized lane splitting, which is the practice of a motorcyclist traveling down the centerline of two lanes of traffic going in the same direction. This is not legal in any other state, though research has shown that this helps increase motorcyclist safety.
However, we do want to point out that motorcyclists in rural areas do need to remain vigilant on the roadways. Motorcycle crashes do occur in rural areas, and they often result in significant injuries or even fatalities. These are areas where motorcyclists and other drivers up tend to operate at higher rates of speed. Additionally, driving in rural areas can lull motorcyclists into a false sense of security and get them to let their guard down. This can be dangerous.
Intersections, regardless of where the intersection is located, are dangerous for motorcyclists. Intersections are where drivers in every type of vehicle come together in one spot, though they typically have different goals in mind.
One of the main causes of motorcycle accidents involves left-hand turns, which occur in abundance at intersections. This can include a motorcyclist needing to make a left-hand turn at an intersection. When a motorcyclist has to make a left-hand turn, they wait for oncoming traffic to clear. If a motorcyclist fails to time their turn appropriately, they could pull in front of another vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed, which can lead to a deadly collision.
If a passenger vehicle needs to make a left-hand turn and fails to yield the right of way to an oncoming motorcyclist, this can lead to the motorcyclist slamming into the side of the other vehicle.
In addition to dangerous left-hand turns, we know that traffic signals, stop signs, and intersections all present challenges for motorcyclists due to the stop-and-go nature of traffic around these areas. As mentioned above, stop-and-go traffic is incredibly dangerous for motorcyclists.