Are Motorcycle Accidents Increasing or Decreasing in California?

Michael James

The United States has miles of scenic roads and with proper riding Motorcycle Accidents can be avoided.

Riding a motorcycle can be a wonderful experience. But depending on which kind of rider you are, you could either be part of California’s yearly motorcycle accidents crash or a safe driver.

It’s disheartening to see motorcycle crashes make up nearly 15 percent of road accident deaths in the United States but are only three percent of the country’s registered motor vehicle owners.

The number of motorcycle accidents in California depends on various factors. For example, car accidents typically increase during specific times of the year. Most of these cases involve increases in car traffic, driving while under the influence or bad weather conditions.

Motorcycle Accidents can reduced with proper precauctions.
Motorcycle Accidents can reduced with proper precautions.

The latest year-to-year comparisons of accident rates by vehicle type show how using mobile phones and text messaging services has contributed to the rise in accidents. However, states with laws prohibiting various kinds of distracted or irresponsible riding have shown a decrease in fatal motorcycle deaths.

The Rise in Popularity of Motorcycles

With 800,000 motorcycles, California has 800,000 registered personal and commercial motorbikes, the most of any state. And with the most motorcycles in the country, Californians account for nearly 12 percent of the country’s total population.

California also has more than 1,100 miles of Pacific Coast shoreline, an extensive arid canyon and an abundance of mountain terrain and roads. Among the country’s most popular tourist states and technological hubs, California affords motorcycle riders incredible adventures.

However, good climate and scenic routes aren’t the only contributors to the increased number of motorcyclists. Automobile owners have realized how expensive it is to maintain, especially in California. Fuel expenses, insurance and maintenance costs are among the most costly contributing factors.

Motorcycle Accidents occur but can be curtailed proper safety guidelines.
Motorcycle Accidents occur but can be curtailed proper safety guidelines.

California also imposes a tax on fuel consumption. Its gas taxes have increased by 5.6 percent since July 2022. Compared to cars, motorcycles are much more energy-efficient. They are also cheaper to acquire, have minimal maintenance costs and lower premiums on insurance coverage.

For riders who are more environmentally conscious, there are electrical options. These motorcycles can go more than 200 miles without needing a recharge. Besides, depending on the efficiency of your battery and bike, recharging to total capacity should only cost you less than a dollar. The surge in motorcycle riders, therefore, isn’t surprising.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics in California

Despite bikers being less common than car owners in California, they are still the most significant contributors to road safety violations and even death. Riders are also more likely to get injured than a car driver in the same accident. Although, this is because cars offer some degree of cushioning from the impact while a bike openly exposes its rider.

According to the latest data, several thousand people are killed annually, and up to 50,000 suffer fatal injuries due to motorcycle crashes in the US. Solo car accidents/crashes account for up to 45 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents. Head and brain injuries are among the most common and lethal. The degree of fatality and the chances of suffering from these injuries increase with speed, use of drugs and alcohol, and the size of the motorcycle.

Motorcycle accidents accounted for only 5.7 percent of all automobile-related deaths in the United States in 1994. However, 2016 showed an increase of up to 15 percent. This increase is particularly concerning given that motorbikes account for only about 3 percent of all motorized vehicles in the United States.

However, in 2017, the Governors Highway Safety Association released an encouraging report that showcased a significant decrease in motorcyclists’ deaths. According to preliminary results, the number of motorcycle-related deaths in California decreased from 566 to 406 in 2017, indicating a downward trend.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of motorcycle accidents resulting from improper or no use of safety gear dropped by 33 percent. This meant that between 2017 and 2018, the number dropped from 45 to 30.

In 2019, 5,014 motorcyclists were involved in fatal accidents. This figure represented a slight drop in motorcycle crashes compared to the previous year, which saw 5,038 fatalities. However, approximately 84,000 motorcyclists were injured in 2019, a 2% increase from 2018. According to the California Office of Traffic and Safety, traffic deaths involving riders without helmets decreased by 18 percent between 2018 and 2019.

In recent years, rates of fatal motorcycle accidents have steadily declined, thanks to California’s helmet laws. However, the numbers are still concerning. Although helmet use has lowered the occurrence of fatal crashes, more than 80 percent of motorcycle crashes lead to serious injury or death.

Getting acquainted with the risks and statistics involving motorcycle riders is essential if you intend to take your bike on the road. Wearing a helmet any time you operate your bike might not prevent the accident, but it will reduce its impact.


It is easy to get discouraged as a rider in California. However, these statistics should not hinder you from using your motorcycle. As long as you abide by the traffic rules and are a responsible rider, you could help prevent the occurrence of an accident.

Rarely do motorcycle collisions happen when a bike comes into contact with a stationary object. Accidents almost always occur due to driver and rider negligence. Wearing safety gear and ensuring you are visible to motorists and pedestrians could be the difference between life and death.

Content provided by The Weekly Driver News Service and additional news sources.

Article Last Updated: July 27, 2022.

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