Road safety advocates have worried for years about an increase in the number of fatal motorcycle accidents across the U.S. The number of fatal motor vehicle accidents as a whole has declined in the U.S., but motorcycle fatalities have increased. California, however, has recently bucked that trend.
For a decade, the state had rising motorcycle deaths. The number increased from 204 in 1998 to 560 in 2008. But then motorcycle fatalities began to decrease. In 2010, according to news reports, the number fell from 394 to 352 fatalities. That's a 37 percent decrease since 2008.
The decline is positive news for motorcycle riders, although fatal motorcycle accidents increased in the area policed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department. Six motorcyclists were killed in that area in 2011; two motorcyclists died in 1993.
The Sheriff's Department recently announced that it would step up patrols of areas where motorcyclists most commonly ride. As part of the enforcement action, they planned to:
- Look for drivers and motorcycle riders who are impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Enforce traffic violations by motorcyclists as well as other vehicles, particularly violations known to cause motorcycle accidents
Motorcycle accidents may happen due to other drivers being distracted and not seeing them, alcohol or drug impairment, speeding, unsafe turns and many other causes. The Sheriff's Department urges drivers to watch out for motorcycles, especially when changing lanes or turning.
Source: KHTS AM 220, "L.A. County Sheriff's Department Promotes Motorcycle Safety," David Mariuz, July 26, 2013