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Helmets are not just mandatory in California, they are a necessary part of a biker's gear and estimated to be 37% effective at preventing a serious head injury.
SACRAMENTO, CA, May 11, 2019 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Because May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney Ed Smith and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) are asking motorists and bike riders to share the road. The CHP is using a $625,000 grant to help riders stay safe. Events through their Get Educated and Ride Safe (GEARS) program will work on promoting motorcycle safety.
Motorcycle Accidents and Fatalities
The vast majority of vehicles on the road belong to motorists. Motorcycles represent merely 3 percent of all registered vehicles.
"Yet, motorcyclists were involved in 14 percent of all roadway fatalities," said Ed Smith, a personal injury lawyer in Sacramento.
In 2017, 5,172 riders and their passengers died in motorcycle crashes. In California, there were 17,000 motorcycle crashes and over 450 deaths. About 28 percent of those killed in a crash was drinking before the accident. The majority of motorcycle riders (91 percent) killed in a crash were male.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, motorcyclists have a 28-time greater chance of being killed in a traffic accident. The number of fatalities doubled in the 10 years leading up to 2017.
Age and Fatalities
Thirty-six percent of all riders killed in a motorcycle accident were 50 or older. Many of them were active motorcyclists in their 20s and resumed riding later on in life. In addition, drinking and riding is more common in this group.
"Another issue is the emergence of more powerful bikes along with lessening physical skills," Sacramento Motorcycle Accident Attorney Smith said. "Those over 40 have the highest rate of mortality compared with younger riders."
Baby boomers experience the highest mortality rate at 48 percent.
Refresher Courses in Motorcycle Safety
The CHP is encouraging riders to enroll in a safety course to learn new skills and refresh old ones. One such course offered at 107 locations statewide is the California Motorcyclist Safety Program. Qualified riders can impart some of their experience by becoming a certified instructor.
Helmets Save Lives
Helmets are not just mandatory in California, they are a necessary part of a biker's gear. They are estimated to be 37% effective at preventing a serious head injury.
"In 2017, 1,908 bikers killed in a crash were not using a helmet," said Smith.
Smith added that it is important to get the right type and size.
"Helmets that provide full head and neck coverage are the best at preventing injury," said Smith.
When buying a helmet, look to see if there is a Department of Transportation sticker on it.
"This sticker means that the helmet meets the federal safety standards," Smith said. "It is better not to use a previously used helmet, particularly if they have been worn in a crash."
Basics of Motorcycle Safety
Smith said there are things you can do to ensure that you'll enjoy the time you spend on your bike safely. They are:
• Right size bike: Not all motorcycles are the same when it comes to size and power. For instance, those who ride high-performance bikes (supersports models) have a death rate that is about four times that of other models. These light, powerful bikes reach high speeds due to increased horsepower.
• Safety courses: Don't ride without taking a refresher course whether you are new at motorcycling or experienced.
• Brakes: It is wise to invest in anti-lock brakes. They are important for motorcycle safety and reduce traumatic head injury.
• Passengers: It is harder to ride with a passenger. Make sure you have the skill set needed to do that before you invite someone.
• Rules: Motorcyclists are wise to know the rules of the road. The DMV has manuals available online.
• Be alert: It is important to be alert for dangerous situations when riding. This is particularly true at intersections where 50 percent of crashes occur.
• Drinking: Never ride while you are impaired. Remember, even a BAC level of 0.04 percent can make you less capable.
• Lights: Use headlights during the day and at night. They help you be more visible.
• Hazards: The road poses a hazard to motorcycle safety. Keep watch for oil slicks, leaves, debris, potholes, puddles or railroad tracks. They can destabilize your bike.
• Speed: Speed is linked to more accidents. Maintain the proper speed for safety.
• Visibility: Since motorcyclists are not easily visible to motorists, it is important to place yourself in spots where you are more easily seen.
• Clothing: Wear reflective clothing to be visible, particularly at night. Bright colors help during the day.
• Goggles: These help you see better. Make sure they won't fog. Some goggles have a protective coating that prevents this.
Sacramento Motorcycle Attorney Ed Smith has been awarded a 'superb' or 'perfect' rating of 10.0 by Avvo. This largely peer-reviewed rating reflects his unrelenting commitment and personal dedication to his clients since 1982. Mr. Smith's legal practice, the Law Offices of Edward A. Smith, focuses exclusively on personal injury and wrongful death claims.
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