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Motorcycle fatalities are declining in California

In California, motorcycle safety campaigns often focus on rider responsibility. The thought is generally that when car vs. motorcycle collisions occur, the motorcycle rider is the one left with catastrophic or even fatal injuries--so, motorcyclists should take some responsibility for their own safety. While it is true that some motorcycle accidents occur because of a motorcyclist's error, a great number of these serious collisions also take place because drivers fail to keep a lookout for motorcycles.

Fortunately, both drivers and motorcyclists do appear to be trying harder to share the roads, because motorcycle accidents are actually declining in California. From 2008 to 2010, there was a 37 percent drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities.

This decline represented a significant change in trends. From 1998 to 2008, the number of motorcycle fatalities had risen sharply--from 204 to 560.

In some areas of California, however, motorcycle accidents are still happening very frequently. In the Los Angeles County area, the number of motorcycle fatalities almost quadrupled from 1998 to 2013.

The LA County sheriff's department recent held a motorcycle safety awareness campaign in an attempt to lower the number of motorcycle injuries and deaths. The campaign took place late last month, as patrols were ramped up in an effort to apprehend both motor vehicle drivers and motorcycle riders who were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The department also focused on cracking down on traffic violations committed by both drivers and riders that tend to lead to collisions.

And, very importantly, the campaign included a reminder to all motorists to be on the lookout for motorcycles--especially during lane changes and before turns.

It is critical for campaigns like these to encourage both riders and drivers to follow the rules and share the roads. Of course, when accidents do occur, motor vehicle drivers who were negligent can end up being held liable for the accident.

Source: KHTS AM 1220, "L.A. County Sheriff's Department Promotes Motorcycle Safety," David Mariuz, June 26, 2013

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