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True, most motorcycle accidents involving young riders involve negligence on the part of the young motorcycle rider. Some teens since childhood have been riding on the back of motorcycles since they were kids. Because of this, they likely know about leaning into turns and the overall feel of open-air riding. But the teen motorcycle crash statistics don’t tell the whole story. Other motor vehicle drivers cause some accidents. Mainly, teens, even when not at fault, with proper safety training, can avoid being hit by another errant motorist.
I am a Los Angeles motorcycle lawyer, Michael Ehline. I am a parent, rider, and extremely famous motorcycle lawyer based in LA, California. I have been featured in CNN, Forbes, Newsweek Magazine, California Lawyer, and the Los Angeles Daily Journal. My law firm, Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. In writing this series on teen motorcycle riding, I aim to educate parents and youngsters about their rights, duties, and obligations while navigating California’s roadways. Please don’t take my expert knowledge with a grain of salt.
I have won hundreds of millions of dollars for my clients, many of whom were wounded or killed while riding motorcycles. My testimonials page says it all. Clients love me for a reason. And many of our past customers realize they could have taken additional steps reducing the chances of being hit or at least reduce the overall injuries to life and limb. Below, I am going to put my expert knowledge and years of legal experience to work for you.
Over the years, motorcycle accident statistics involving young people have shown the dangers for riders on the roadways. Because of this, youth safety programs have been created. And these programs can help reduce the overall motor vehicle accident toll. With rising fuel costs, more motorcycles are on the roads in California cities, highways, and freeways.
This could result in more people being severely injured or killed each year. In California, between the years 2004 and 2009, a total of 383 motorcyclists were killed in motorcycle crashes, and an additional 10,479 were injured. But how many wrecks involving youngsters are due to negligence instead of pure “accidents” with no one at fault?
The statistics for these years, when separated into age groups, show that the number of riders injured between the ages of 15 and 24 equaled 2,175. Surprisingly, despite this age group’s relative inexperience and “need for speed,” this young sampling doesn’t even account for the most significant number of casualties. The highest number of deaths (89) actually lies in the 25-34 age group, with 2,241 additional injuries.
In even older groups of riders, the number of injuries and deaths remains high, with 49 riders killed and 1,776 riders injured in the 54-64 age group. Some of these cases involved rider error and some were made worse by inexperience, even though the rider was blameless. When a rider is not at fault or less at fault, the person most responsible is at the risk of paying the accident victim their fair share of the liability claim for bodily injuries and property damages.
Negligence is a personal injury (like a cut or whiplash from a rear-ender), or injury to property (dents or scratches on your motorbike), caused by another person failing to act reasonably for the given set of facts and circumstances. It can be gleaned from these statistics that at least some of the wrecks involving riders are caused by the negligence of riders themselves, as well as other vehicle operators.
Many motorcycle lawyers believe the number of deaths and injuries is unlikely to decrease, partly because of the fluctuating fuel cost. Under President Trump, the U.S. is the world’s leader in energy production and moving towards a long-term, staged goal in green energy. So fuel costs are stable. But under a democratic administration, that usually changes as that party’s progressive wing wants to eliminate fossil fuels before having a viable alternative. This means that more people will use their motorcycles for daily transportation instead of running a vehicle that costs more.
Unfortunately, not all of these people are experienced in driving defensively, and there is no room for error in a two-wheeled vehicle. Single-vehicle collisions, stationary objects, or even potholes are just one of the many ways a teen or adult can be killed while riding a chopper.
California weather may permit a more extended riding season for motorcyclists. Moreover, for the years from 2004-2009, the data for deaths and injuries are categorized by month.
In January, there were 14 fatalities and 423 injuries, with a steady rise until:
These statistics do not reveal the severity of the injuries suffered by motorcyclists – i.e., if they became permanently disabled and who was at fault for the motorcycle crash. However, there are some statistics that do show the cause of motorcycle accidents. One of these statistical reports was released from a study conducted in 2006 by the University of Southern California and funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The study became known as the ‘Hurt’ Report, named after researcher Harry Hurt.
The study used data from 900 motorcycle accidents that occurred within the Los Angeles area and 3,600 other motorcycle traffic accidents that occurred within the area. What was found from the use of this data?
These few statistics available for teen riders prove two things:
Inexperience and youth go hand in hand. So naturally, some of the wrecks can be attributed to rider negligence. Unfortunately, youthful bikers have somewhat unfairly gotten a reputation for being bold and making rash decisions. But this is a false assumption in most cases, just as it is for most young enclosed-motor-vehicle drivers. In any event, the connection between young riders and their resulting injuries and fatalities is alarming.
Well aware of the high risk of injury and death, experienced motorcycle riders typically operate their bikes more carefully than most drivers operate their cars. When a motorcycle accident happens, the rider is often severely injured or even killed. And mainly, this is because they do not have the same protection as vehicle drivers. They have no airbags, seatbelts, or metal cages to protect their body in a collision, dip, or pothole.
In California and throughout the country, programs have been established to make motor vehicle drivers more aware of sharing the roads with motorcyclists. Teaching kids the importance of that layer of foam padding and plastic in a “helmet” is one of the many safety topics taught to kids. This has helped decrease motorcycle collisions and taught non-riders the importance of laws allowing “lane splitting,” as well as other issues, such as yielding to the biker’s right of way.
So, although no outright statistics show how many people were negligent, there are connections between young, relatively inexperienced riders and these types of collisions. Thus, it is clear that experience matters in reducing negligence-related mishaps in our youth. Above, we discussed teen motorcycle riding, accidents, statistics, and avoiding risks.
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Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, is local to all California cities with meeting places in Northern, Central, and Southern California to serve victims of severe injuries and death.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.