Anytime that a motorcyclist takes to the road, serious injury and death are a possibility. Most riders try to take all appropriate precautions to avoid such a grim outcome, but sometimes, accidents happen, and when they do, the Californian motorcyclist is particularly susceptible to injury.
According to preliminary data from the Governor's Highway Safety Association (GHSA), deaths from motorcycle accidents surged in 2015. Although the data is not yet final, the estimates are that more than 5,000 people died in motorcycle accidents last year. That would be about a 10 percent increase from the number of motorcycle accident deaths in 2014. Also, it would be only the third year ever that motorcycle accident fatalities have eclipsed 5,000. The last year that the death toll was that high was 2008.
Despite the high number of motorcycle deaths across the country last year, the news was not all bad. In 16 states, including California, accident deaths declined in 2015. In fact, California led the country in having the largest year over year decline in motorcycle accident deaths. The state's decline of 38 deaths between 2014 and 2015 made it one of only two states in the country to have a decrease of more than 20 deaths.
One of the authors of the GHSA's preliminary data opined that increased speed limits and lax helmet laws were among the reasons for the fatality increases in certain states. California is one of only 19 states in the country that requires all people to wear a helmet while they are riding a motorcycle.
Helmets help to protect riders from fatal head injury, but not even a helmet can save a rider from every accident. California motorcyclists, and drivers in other motor vehicles, should do all that they can to keep reducing the number of motorcycle accident fatalities in the state.
Source: GHSA.org, "New Data: Motorcyclist Deaths Surge 10% in 2015," accessed on June 2, 2016