Motorcycles seem to be everywhere in Southern California, and one reason for this is the consistently good weather that brings riders out.
While there was a decrease in motorcycle fatalities for a couple of years, the available data shows that the number has been on the rise again, and the experts think they know why.
What the statistics say
Data gathered by the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicates that motorcycle crashes and fatalities increased from 2003 to 2012 by 23 percent. In fact, in just two years, from 2010 to 2012, motorcycle fatalities increased 15 percent in Los Angeles County alone, which had also seen a 49 percent increase in crashes since 2003.
The recession issue
For many people, motorcycles are secondary to cars or pickups. They are not the main mode of transportation but are kept more for weekend pleasure rides. Experts think that because of the recession, people did not have the money to maintain their bikes, so they remained parked in the garage for a couple of years.
The price at the pumps
An improved economy and lower gas prices brought motorcycles out of hibernation, but experts and other riders believe that the favorable prices at the pump also brought out more rusty or inexperienced riders, hence the uptick in motorcycle crashes and fatalities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the Los Angeles price for regular gas in the summer of 2008 was $4.49. By December, the price had gone down to $1.82. For a couple of years, the number of motorcycle fatalities decreased, but by 2011, the number had begun to climb once more.
Every rider has to be aware of the possibility of an accident happening at some point, and injuries are usually the result. Some are much more severe than others, but all deserve prompt evaluation by medical professionals, just as the crash itself deserves detailed investigation and follow-up. We are currently in another period of inflated prices at the pump. Will history repeat itself with lowered prices, more motorcycles on the road and an increase in crashes?