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Is California getting safer for motorcycle riders?

Motorcycles may be a lot of fun, but there is no question that they are more dangerous to operate than enclosed motor vehicles.

Motorcycle riders often have disproportionate representation in the annual statistics for crash fatalities. They are also at higher risk for severe injuries because they don’t have the structure of a vehicle to shield them from the impact of a crash.

To stay safe, motorcyclists wear special gear and practice defensive driving, as others on the road often cause the crashes that hurt them. Given that motor vehicle crashes and fatalities overall have been on the decline in recent years, does that trend also apply to motorcycles?

California’s data shows a promising downward trend

Data provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety seems to show that motorcycle riding has become slightly less dangerous in recent years. They have not released an analysis of 2020 data yet, but the 2019 data is positive. The overall deaths of people on motorcycles dropped by 9.4%, while the number of deaths resulting from not wearing a helmet went down 18%.

A combination of better safety practices and more public awareness may have contributed to this reduction, which means many more people ending their ride safely and going home to the people they love.

It is possible that the data for 2020 will show a minor reversal of this trend, as was true with other forms of crashes, but that change may not be permanent. Hopefully, motorcycle collisions will continue to become less frequent and fatalities less likely so that everyone can safely share the roads in the Golden State.