Motorcycle deaths dropped in CA, rose nationwide, in 2015

Statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association about motorcycle fatalities are a mixed bag for California riders. First, the bad news: nationwide, motorcyclist deaths in traffic collisions jumped about 10 percent from 2014 to 2015. Last year, more than 5,000 riders were killed in the U.S., according to the Los Angeles Times.

But not every state followed the trend. In California, the number of motorcycle fatalities actually dropped 7 percent. Still, because of the state’s huge overall population and large number of riders, California still had the second-most deaths in the country last year. Only Florida had more.

The GHSA report believes that factors encouraging more people to ride motorcycles more often contributed to the national fatality increase. For example, the short, mild winter, lower fuel prices and improving economy likely led to more people riding motorcycles more often. And more riders on the road probably meant more riders getting killed.

The victims were overwhelmingly male. And the single most common age group among victims was age 20-29, who made up nearly one-fourth of all those killed.

Safety equipment like helmets and better brakes can help riders avoid some collisions, and may save their lives someday. But ultimately, responsible riders are still vulnerable to dangerous drivers. It only takes one driver who is drunk, distracted or simply taking unnecessary chances to take a motorcyclist’s life.

Of the more than 5,000 American riders killed last year, we are sure the vast majority were survived by families. These loved ones probably relied on the deceased for financial and emotional support. Now, they may have to turn to personal injury litigation to hold the driver financially responsible.

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