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California is home to over 800,000 motorcyclists — more than any other state, according to UC Berkeley’s Safe Transportation Research and Education Center. “As a consequence, California is also a leader in motorcycle collision-related deaths each year,” the Center found. “Between 2011 and 2015, 2,299 riders of motorcycles were fatally injured during traffic collisions in the state.” The most recent data found that there were 12,844 motorcycle riders injured in traffic collisions in 2015, a 2% increase over the 12,608 injured in 2014 and a 14% increase over the 11,300 injured in 2011.
Leading causes of motorcycle accidents, according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, include: Drugs or alcohol; Speeding; Driver or biker inexperience; Unsafe road conditions; Unsafe lane changes or improper turns; Distracted or reckless driving; Malfunctioning or defective motorcycles; Impaired visibility; Falling to avoid colliding with an object; and Lane splitting (a practice which California still allows).
California law requires bikers to always wear a helmet. Still, injuries can be severe — and range from whiplash to Paralysis (paraplegia/quadriplegia) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI), as well as amputations, broken bones/bone fractures, neck/back or spinal cord injuries and burns.
If someone is injured as a result of an accident, they may be partly to blame for the accident or injuries — especially if they weren’t wearing their helmet. However, thanks to California’s comparative negligence ruling, you can still seek compensation as a result of a motorcycle accident. The driver of a car can also be found guilty of negligence is he or she is not driving defensibly near a motorcyclist, meaning they will be liable for injuring the motorcycle accident victim. A motorcyclist can be found negligent if they were being negligent while riding.
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