Link Between Rising Gas Prices & Motorcyclist Fatalities in California | Ellis Injury Law

Link Between Rising Gas Prices & Motorcyclist Fatalities in California

motorcycle rider in los angeles california

January 13, 2015

Ellis Law Corporation


Rising gas prices in recent years have put more motorcycles on the road – especially here, in California, where the weather is generally pleasant. More motorcycles spell more serious injuries and more fatalities. Per mile traveled, motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash and 5 times more likely to be injured, according to the most recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, compiled in 2010.

Los Angeles motorcycle accident lawyers can help victims and their families when factors outside the motorcyclist’s control – like driver negligence – have caused the crash.

Link between gas prices and motorcycle accidents

A study published in the British Medical Journal found a correlation between increased gasoline prices and the number of motorcycle accidents. The conclusion may seem obvious, as more people choose to ride motorcycles to save money on gas, but this is the first time data has been compiled to demonstrate the causal link.

Researchers looked at California’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System from 2002-2011. Since 2002, the number of fatalities and injuries increased 34 percent to 13,457. Most motorcycle riders involved in crashes were male (92.5%), middle-aged (46.2%), and non-Hispanic white (67.9%).

“We estimated that rising gasoline prices resulted in an additional 800 fatalities and 10,290 injuries from 2002-2011,” researchers concluded. They proposed investment in public transportation and a safety awareness campaign, as well as mandated training courses and stricter licensing tests to reduce injuries and fatalities.

Motorcycle accident statistics & factors in crashes

Consider these facts from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

  • 75% of motorcyclists are struck in the front, (as opposed to only 5% struck in the rear.)
  • 39% of crashes involved another vehicle turning left, while the motorcycle passed or continued going straight.
  • 35% of the motorcycles were speeding at the time of the crash.
  • 28% of motorcycle drivers in fatal crashes had a Blood Alcohol Content of 0.08% or higher when the accident occurred.
  • 24% of motorcycle accidents involved striking a fixed object.
  • 22% of the motorcyclists in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license.
  • 18% of motorcyclists in fatal crashes had a previous suspension or revocation of their driver’s licenses.
  • Motorcycle fatalities increased 41% from 2001 to 2010.
  • Motorcycle fatalities increased 100% among drivers over 40.
  • Motorcyclists riding larger bikes (1,001-1,500cc) represented the biggest fatality percentage.
  • 341 motorcycle riders were killed in California.
  • The only states with more motorcyclist fatalities were Florida (365) and Texas (383).
  • Helmets saved the lives of 1,550 motorcyclists in 2010 – and could have saved another 706 lives.

Other factors in motorcycle crashes

Much blame is placed on the motorcycle driver – who is often painted as a lawless driver, recklessly speeding without a helmet. However, the fact of the matter is many drivers are not looking out for motorcycle riders on the road. In many cases, lawyers can prove that motor vehicles operators were negligent.

Vehicle drivers can be held liable for a motorcyclist’s death or injuries if they were:

  • Swerving in front of the motorcyclist
  • Following too closely
  • Cutting off the motorcyclist
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence
  • Failing to yield the right of way

More often than not, drivers were distracted and “simply did not see” the motorcyclist. This excuse does not hold up in  a court of law. Injured motorcyclists and their families may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and wrongful death.

LA motorcycle accident lawyers advocate on your behalf

Attorneys experienced in California motorcycle accidents can help you:

  • Collect police reports and evidence from the scene
  • Gather witness statements and reconstruct what happened
  • Photograph the scene of the accident, if necessary
  • Investigate the other driver’s driving history
  • Review medical records
  • Consult experts
  • Contact the insurance companies on your behalf

For the past 20 years, Ellis Injury Law attorneys have set to work securing substantial settlements for victims of motorcycle crashes throughout the state of California. We have a talented team of fact-finding investigators, medical experts, and crash engineers standing by to build your case. Call 310-641-3335 for a free case evaluation.