California leads the nation in motorcycle registrations, boasting 952,977 registered motorcycles. Trailing behind is Florida, with 645,012, and Texas, with 380,830 as of 2021.

However, California motorcycle accidents—especially in Los Angeles—have remained a serious concern over the years, with sobering statistics pointing to a significant number of fatal motorcycle accidents.

According to IIHS, 6,084 motorcyclists were killed in traffic collisions in 2021 alone, with intoxicated motorcycle drivers accounting for nearly 30% of all motorcycle fatalities. In Los Angeles, the number of motorcycle accidents resulting in injury reached 13,907.

The Landscape of Motorcycle Accidents in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a bustling city known for its heavy traffic, crowded highways, and Hollywood. It’s the top county in California with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities and serious injuries—way higher than San Francisco, Sacramento, and other Southern California counties such as Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego.

Recent Statistics

Los Angeles motorcycle accidents are almost a day-to-day occurrence, with numerous incidents reported daily. These accidents often result in severe injuries and, in some cases, fatalities.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released its latest projections for traffic fatalities in 2022, and the numbers are in. It’s estimated that 42,795 people tragically died in motor vehicle accidents, marking a slight decrease of about 0.3% from the previous year.

The estimated fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also slightly declined. In 2022, it dropped to 1.35, down from 1.37 in 2021. While this is a positive sign, it’s worth noting that Americans are hitting the road more than ever, with an almost 1% increase in driving observed compared to the previous year.

The NHTSA also predicts a decrease in fatalities for the fourth quarter of 2022. This marks the third consecutive decline, following a troubling seven-quarter increase that began in Q3 2020.

Causes and Contributing Factors

Motorcycle accidents in Los Angeles occur due to various factors, ranging from road conditions to rider behavior.

Traffic Congestion

Los Angeles is infamous for its heavy traffic congestion, which significantly impacts motorcycle safety in the city. High traffic volumes often increase risks for motorcycle riders for several reasons.

For instance, congested traffic often involves frequent stops and starts, leading to rear-end motorcycle collisions—especially if drivers do not maintain a safe following distance. Some motorcyclists may resort to risky overtaking maneuvers or speeding to bypass traffic congestion.

Motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, often side-impact or ‘T-bone’ collisions. Heavy traffic congestion can increase the risk of such accidents, as drivers may fail to notice motorcycles while trying to navigate through the intersection.

Lane Splitting

Lane splitting, also known as white-lining or stripe-riding, is where motorcyclists navigate between slow-moving or stopped traffic lanes. It’s a common practice among motorcyclists, especially in heavy traffic situations.

While lane splitting can help motorcyclists navigate through heavy traffic, it also increases the risk of accidents (i.e., hit-and-run and head-on collisions) due to limited space, high speed, reduced visibility, and proximity to other vehicles. To mitigate these risks, motorcyclists should lane split cautiously and at a speed that is not significantly faster than the surrounding traffic.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a major issue on Los Angeles roads and a large contributor to motorcycle accidents. It refers to driving while engaged in other activities, diverting the driver’s attention from the road.

Mobile phone use is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. Dialing or talking on a cell phone—even just reaching for it—significantly increases the risk of crashes and near-crashes.

Other serious distractions include eating, reaching for objects on the floor, changing clothes, or engaging in animated conversations with passengers

And with external distractions, drivers can be distracted by billboards, buildings, pedestrians, and animals.

Weather Conditions

While weather conditions can pose challenges for all drivers, they can be particularly hazardous for motorcyclists due to reduced visibility, wet and slick roads, wind, snow, road hazards (potholes, asphalt cracks, wet leaves), and temperature fluctuations.

Motorcyclists should stay current with weather forecasts, take necessary precautions, and consider alternative transportation when unfavorable weather conditions occur.

Legal Implications

California has a universal helmet law, as outlined in Statute 27803, which mandates that all drivers and passengers wear helmets when riding or operating a motorcycle. The state’s helmet laws are critical for several reasons:

Impact on injury and fatality rates: Research has shown that states with universal helmet laws have significantly increased helmet use, reducing injury and fatality rates. Helmets are known to be 29% effective in reducing fatalities in motorcycle crashes. When California’s universal helmet use law took effect on January 1, 1992, motorcyclist deaths decreased by 37%.

Economic impact: An economic evaluation of California’s motorcycle helmet law showed that it positively affected injury costs. States with universal helmet laws have achieved nearly 100% helmet use rates, significantly decreasing societal costs due to motorcycle accidents.

Reduction in severe head injuries: The introduction of helmet laws has also reduced the proportion of deaths involving severe brain injury.

Penalties for non-compliance: Non-compliance with California’s helmet law can result in fines, which serve as a deterrent and further encourage helmet use.

In conclusion, California’s helmet laws have profoundly impacted motorcycle accident rates. By making helmet use mandatory for all motorcyclists, the state has reduced the number of fatalities and severe injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents.

Liability and Compensation

Motorcycle accident claims are often complex and involve several legal considerations. Here is a brief outline of the critical aspects:

Safety Initiatives

Motorcycle safety is a critical issue, and several initiatives have been launched to raise awareness and improve the situation. Both awareness campaigns and infrastructure improvements are crucial for improving motorcycle safety.

Awareness Campaigns

Infrastructure Improvements

Enhancing road infrastructure can significantly improve motorcycle safety. Some of the efforts in this regard include:

Frantz Law Group’s Expertise Can Help in Your Time of Need

The current landscape and startling motorcycle accident statistics in Los Angeles underscore the urgency to understand the prevalence of motorcycle accidents and the importance of responsible riding and adherence to traffic laws.

The impact of these accidents extends far beyond the immediate physical harm. Victims often face long-term health issues, emotional distress, and financial hardships. Families of victims bear the emotional toll, often compounded by sudden financial instability due to medical bills and loss of income.

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is crucial to seek legal counsel immediately.

Frantz Law Group has a longstanding reputation for successfully handling motorcycle accident claims. Our team of personal injury lawyers brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the intricacies of such cases. We have a track record of securing favorable outcomes for our clients, including substantial compensation for damages.

Our law firm comprises skilled attorneys well-versed in motorcycle accident law. They are committed to providing personalized service and robust representation for each client.

The motorcycle accident lawyers work hard to investigate each case thoroughly, gather compelling evidence, and build strong cases to ensure the best possible outcome.

Our experienced motorcycle accident attorneys are ready to provide the legal support you need to seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you navigate this challenging time.