Two deadly motorcycle accidents marked the longest day of the year in Orange County. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the first accident killed a 27-year-old man on the Ortega Highway near San Juan Capistrano. The crash occurred between the motorcycle and another vehicle the morning of June 21. The 27-year-old motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.
The second crash occurred the afternoon of June 21 at the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Starr Street in Stanton. The motorcyclist, a 21-year-old man, died at the scene and the driver of the vehicle was also transported to a local hospital. Details about the driver's injuries were not available. Both of these fatal motorcycle accidents are under investigation.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) said motorcycle fatalities for 2014 remained stubbornly high, even when traffic accident fatalities fell. Even though motorcycles account for only 3 percent of vehicles on the road, their riders and passengers account for 14 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle related deaths. Statistics show that only 19 of the 50 states have universal helmet laws, most of the other states requiring helmets only for riders under 18 or in some cases 21. In those states, the GHSA report stated, helmet use is typically below 50 percent.
What Causes Motorcycle Accidents?
There are a number of reasons why motorcycle accidents occur. Here are some of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents in Orange County:
- Speeding: The higher the speed, the greater the impact and more severe the consequences. The higher the vehicle speed the greater the injury to the motorcyclist, who is, without question, the more vulnerable party in a motorcycle accident.
- Driving while impaired: When a driver is operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs, there is more of a chance that he or she may not see a motorcyclist at an intersection. This could have devastating consequences.
- Unsafe lane changes: When a driver doesn't properly check his or her blind spot or use turn signals while making a lane change, there is a very real danger of causing a motorcycle accident.
- Sudden stops: When drivers come to a sudden or abrupt stop there is the likelihood of a motorcyclist rear-ending the vehicle. This could result in catastrophic injuries or even death.
- Left-turn accidents: Right-of-way errors or misjudgments of distance while making a left turn are one of the most common causes of motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that one-third of motorcycle versus vehicle collisions occur when vehicles are making left turns.
- Defective motorcycles: When a motorcycle is defective or is equipped with defective parts, an accident could occur. In such cases the manufacturer of the motorcycle and/or the maker of the faulty part can be held liable.
What to Do After a Motorcycle Accident
If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, make sure you get medical attention, treatment and care for your injuries right away. File a police report with the responding officer. Obtain a copy of the report for your own records. Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident. This may include photographs, contact information for all parties involved, contact information for eyewitnesses, etc.
If you are injured and have to go to the hospital or emergency room, ask a family member of friend to collect this type of evidence and information. Do not repair your motorcycle unless an expert has had a chance to thoroughly examine it for defects, malfunctions, design flaws and other evidence. Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney in Orange County who will fight for your rights and help you obtain fair and full compensation for your losses.