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Why has the number of motorcycle crashes increased in L.A.?

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Data compiled by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System showed a marked decrease in California motorcycle crashes in 2009 and 2010. Unfortunately, that was just a lull. Why do motorcycle accidents continue to increase in our state, especially in and around Los Angeles?

What we know

The latest figures available from the SITRS cover the years between 2003 and 2012, during which motorcycle crashes and resulting fatalities increased statewide by 23 percent. Los Angeles County saw a 49 percent increase in crashes and deaths while motorcycle fatalities in Orange County rose 15 percent in that time period.

A good economy

You may have noticed how a good economy brings more vehicles out on the road. For some people, a motorcycle is a second mode of transportation, simply because it is fun and takes less gas than the family car. Due to the year-round fine weather in Southern California, many people ride their bikes to work or for running errands.

Older riders

You may also have noticed how many seniors ride motorcycles these days. Some of these riders may be novices or have rusty skills and are more accident-prone. Historically, younger riders get into more accidents, but older riders sustain more severe injuries when they crash. They are more likely than their younger counterparts to spend time in the hospital with broken bones, head and chest injuries, and injuries to their ankles and feet.

Lane splitting

In California, lane splitting is not illegal, and many riders prefer to use this method of maneuvering through clogged traffic. In 2014, the Safety Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California Berkeley published a report indicating that while lane splitters were less likely to be rear-ended, they were more likely to rear-end other vehicles.

Accepting vulnerability

Motorcycle riders are aware of their vulnerability to accidents and must be alert at all times. Any rider who does become a crash victim will face the difficult prospect of obtaining fair insurance compensation to cover medical bills and more. Motorcycle accidents are all too common in our area, but those affected have rights to protect and legal options to explore. If you have suffered injuries or a family member has been killed while riding, speak with an attorney.

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