Motorcyclists face serious risks in Riverside County

In 2013, Riverside County had the third highest number of motorcycle fatalities in all of California.

Temecula-area residents live in one of the best places for motorcycle riding. However, this does not negate the dangers that motorcyclists face every day. News stories recounting these accidents are all too easy to find.

Take for example the death of a 24-year-old motorcyclist in a hit-and-run accident. The Press Enterprise notes that the suspected vehicle driver was later found and faces multiple criminal charges including those for DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter.

Then there is the story in which an on-duty police officer was hit by a truck returning to the road from the shoulder. The Temecula Patch explains that the officer survived and was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Would lane splitting help or hurt?

This question has been at the forefront of California motorcyclists' minds all year. A bill to officially legalize this practice failed the state legislature but may resurface next year according to the Sacramento Bee.

Research conducted at the University of California at Berkeley notes that approximately 1,000 of the nearly 6,000 motorcycle crashes statewide between June 2012 and August 2013 involved lane splitting. It also indicated that motorcyclists who split lanes were found to generally be driving slower and with better helmets than other bikers.

How many people die in motorcycle crashes?

The 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show that 453 people died in motorcycle accidents in California that year. Los Angeles County was the site of the highest number of these deaths with 102 followed by San Diego County with 43 deaths.

Data for Riverside County puts it clearly in third position. Specific information includes the following:

  • In 2013, 226 vehicular fatalities occurred in Riverside County. Of those, 38 were motorcyclists.
  • In 2012, there were 22 motorcycle fatalities.
  • In 2011, 18 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes.
  • A total of 36 motorcyclists died in 2010.
  • 2009 experienced 31 deaths in motorcycle accidents.

For 2013, San Bernardino and Orange Counties were the locations of 32 and 31 motorcycle fatalities, respectively.

Further data indicates that fatalities are not limited to the stereotypical young, reckless biker. Of the state's 453 motorcycle deaths in 2013, 128 were people in their 20's, 108 were people in their 30's and 82 were people in their 50's. Riders in their 40's accounted for 69 of the deaths and people 60 and older accounted for another 53. Thirteen people under the age of 20 died.

What can be done to help motorcyclists?

Safe bike riding is always important. That, however, is not enough to prevent a drunk, distracted or fatigued car or truck driver from crashing into a motorcyclist. Any biker hit should always seek help from an attorney to receive proper compensation.