Two Santa Barbara County Motorcycle Crashes are Reminders of the Risks Motorcyclists Face
Motorcycle accidents occur all too often here in California. In 2021, Los Angeles County alone logged more than 3,000 injuries in crashes that involved motorcycles. Nationwide, motorcycle crashes killed more than 5,000 in 2019. In terms of vehicle miles traveled, motorcyclists are nearly 29 times more likely to die as compared to the occupants of cars and trucks. If you've been hurt, a knowledgeable Santa Barbara motorcycle accident lawyer can advocate for you and aid you in getting authentic justice.
As noted above, when the motorcyclist or his/her passenger is hurt, the injuries are often severe... or fatal. One recent example occurred here in Santa Barbara County last summer. Along Highway 1 just south of Santa Maria, a multi-vehicle accident claimed the life of a motorcyclist. The motorcyclist was traveling southbound on Highway 1 when a northbound GMC SUV crossed the center median and entered the motorcyclist's path. The GMC slammed head-on into the motorcycle, sending it into the path of a Lincoln SUV, which also hit it.
The second impact threw the motorcyclist from the bike and into the path of the GMC. Two other cars sustained minor damage. Only one driver was taken to the hospital, but the motorcyclist died at the scene.
This is tragically not atypical. Motorcycles make up only 3% of the registered vehicles in the U.S., but motorcyclists and their riders comprise 14% of all traffic fatalities.
Another fatal accident to our north is a reminder of a different problem when it comes to motorcycle accident injuries. In that August crash, a car and a motorcycle collided on the northbound freeway lanes of Highway 101. The California Highway Patrol told news reporters that the driver of the 2022 Yamaha motorcycle -- a 31-year-old man from Ojai -- "was going in and out of traffic lanes at a high rate of speed" before coming into contact with a Honda CRV. The motorcyclist died at the scene.
Overcoming the Bias that Exists Against Motorcyclists
Perhaps this man from Ojai really was driving dangerously, but these kinds of conclusions are common in motorcycle crashes and, too many times, the facts don't bear them out. Many people, including members of law enforcement, have a bias (sometimes overt but often subconscious) against motorcyclists. They see them as reckless thrill-seekers. This may lead them to draw conclusions that place blame on a motorcyclist when the reality was far more complex, or even 100% different.
That's one of the reasons why having the right legal team -- and retaining them as soon as possible -- is crucial. Our team has run up against countless occasions where police reports and witness accounts have been colored by unfair bias against the person driving the motorcycle, even though the real cause was a car, truck, or SUV driver driving negligently. In one of those cases, the police had concluded that our client (the motorcyclist) was 100% at fault. When our team finished with the case, our client received nearly $4 million from the insurance company.
The skilled Santa Barbara personal injury lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP are here to work diligently on your behalf to get you the compensation you're owed. Our team has decades of experience serving motorcyclists and their families, assisting in every phase of the process from insurance claims to civil litigation. Contact one of our helpful attorneys at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation and find out more.