Dangers to motorcyclists in Sacramento County

A motorcyclist in West Sacramento was killed late on a Friday night after being hit by a motor vehicle. An article published by KCRA.com noted that the car was attempting to turn and went into the path of the motorcyclist. The deadly accident happened near Webster Road and Jefferson Boulevard.

This story is just one example of how motorcyclists can be in grave danger when struck by other types of vehicles. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in all of California, there were 453 motorcycle fatalities in 2013. Helmets were worn by 409 of those victims at the times that their accidents happened.

In Sacramento County, 22 motorcyclists were killed that year out of a total 121 vehicular fatalities. Neighboring counties also lost many motorcyclists with eight such deaths in San Joaquin County, seven in Contra Costa County and five in Solano County. Another six motorcyclists died in Yolo, Amador, El Dorado and Placer Counties combined.

Who is most at risk?

Motorcyclists come in all ages and motorcycle fatalities can happen at any age as well. The NHTSA records show the following breakdown by age of all people who died in motorcycle-vehicle crashes in California in 2013:

  • 128 motorcyclists between 20 and 29 years old died.
  • 108 motorcyclists between 30 and 39 years old died.
  • 69 motorcyclists between 40 and 49 years old died.
  • 82 motorcyclists between 50 and 59 years old died.
  • 53 motorcyclists over the age of 60 died.

Among motorcyclists under 20 years old, 13 people died.

Will new legislation help or hurt?

Currently, California is the only state in the nation that does not expressly outlaw lane splitting. According to The Sacramento Bee, the law is somewhat ambiguous toward this practice, both allowing it not but directly highlighting it. A new effort in the state Assembly has been underway to more clearly make lane splitting legal. However, the bill was recently put on hold for potentially up to one year.

Whether or not this law could impact safety for bikers is unknown. In the meantime, many motorcyclists will continue to split lanes.

What should a biker do if hit by a vehicle?

It is important for all motorcyclists to know that their rights matter. Any time they are hit by a motor vehicle, they should seek help from an attorney. Obtaining compensation from negligent motorists can be done but is most successful with the involvement of an experienced lawyer.

What else should a motorcycle rider do?

  1. Drive cautiously, carefully. Assume that other motorists don't see you and will turn in front of you without warning.
  2. Obtain as much un-insured motorist (UM) coverage as you can possibly afford. Strangely, motorcyclists often have low insurance limits, though their accident-related injuries are often severe, if not fatal.
  3. And if you need representation, hire a talented lawyer. Contact Eliot Reiner, Esq.