Leading Causes of Bakersfield Motorcycle Accidents & How to Avoid Them

Leading Causes of Bakersfield Motorcycle Accidents & How to Avoid Them

Bakersfield, nestled in California’s Kern County, offers motorcycle enthusiasts some of the best routes for their rides. With its winding roads and picturesque scenery, it’s a popular destination for riders of all kinds, but despite the thrill of the open road, this city also comes with its own set of potential dangers for motorcyclists, making it a challenging ride.

Bakersfield has a history of frequent traffic accidents, thanks to its status as a hotspot for vehicular activity. Factors contributing to this reputation include the city’s growing population size, traffic congestions, and mix of particular and large commercial vehicles on its major roadways, making it tricky to navigate safely. 

Bakersfield ranks 48th in the ranking of the 100 most dangerous cities for motorcyclists according to Forbes Magazine, and the California Highway Patrol has begun efforts to curb the number of yearly motorcycle crashes happening in the city.

In this blog, we will dive into the primary factors contributing to motorcycle accidents in Bakersfield, and provide practical guidance for riders to minimize these risks. Our goal is to create a safer riding environment, ensuring that all motorcyclists can enjoy their journeys without unnecessary hazards. In particular, we will focus on:

  • The most common causes of Bakersfield motorcycle accidents
  • Tips to help avoid motorcycle accidents in Bakersfield
  • Filling a claim after a motorcycle accident that wasn’t your fault
bakersfield motorcycle

The Most Common Causes of Bakersfield’s Motorcycle Accidents

According to the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), Bakersfield has seen an average of 155 motorcycle crashes with serious injuries and/or fatalities each year since 2020. Considering the high amount of traffic passing through Bakersfield each day, as well as the nearly 18,000 motorcycles registered in the city, some trends have started to emerge. As of 2023, the most common causes of motorcycle crashes in the state of California include:

  • Speeding: Excessive speed is a major factor in motorcycle accidents. Riders who exceed the speed limit or ride too fast for road and traffic conditions are at a higher risk of crashing.
  • Lane Splitting: Lane splitting, where motorcycles ride between lanes of slow-moving or stopped traffic, is legal in California but can be a risky maneuver if not done properly.
  • Driver Inattention: Many accidents are caused by drivers of other vehicles failing to notice the motorcycles in their vicinity. Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone, can be a significant contributor.
  • Impaired Riding: Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common cause of motorcycle crashes. Impaired motorcyclists have reduced reaction times and impaired judgment, and impaired drivers are less likely to react to a motorcycle on time.
  • Inexperienced Riders: Novice riders who lack the experience and skills to handle various road conditions are at higher risk. Motorcycle training and education can help reduce this risk.
  • Road Conditions: Poor road conditions, such as potholes, uneven surfaces, or debris are common thanks to the congested traffic of Bakersfield, and they pose a threat to motorcyclists, who are more vulnerable to losing control when navigating such hazards.
  • Running Red Lights and Stop Signs: Violating traffic signals is a dangerous behavior that can lead to collisions at intersections, especially for large vehicles not paying attention to the motorcycles on the road.
  • Blind Spots: Motorcycles can be easily hidden in the blind spots of large vehicles. Riders need to be aware of this and try to stay out of these blind spots when riding, as well as increase their visibility as much as they can.

It’s important to consult the latest reports and data from the California Department of Transportation or the California Highway Patrol for the most up-to-date information on Bakersfield’s motorcycle accidents and personal injury vehicle crashes. Being aware of the road and traffic conditions, as well as their most dangerous hotspots, can help reduce the risk of motorcycle accidents for every rider.

Need help after a motorcycle accident in the city of Bakersfield?

Tips to Avoid Motorcycle Accidents in Bakersfield

To avoid a Bakersfield motorcycle crash, prioritize safety and practice defensive riding techniques. Nothing beats proper training when it comes to riding on two wheels, but information also always helps. Here are some tips to help you stay safe on your motorcycle:

Wear Protective Gear

Always wear appropriate protective gear, including a DOT-approved helmet, motorcycle gloves, a jacket, long pants, and sturdy, over-the-ankle boots. This gear can significantly reduce the severity of injuries, or even deaths, in case of a crash.

Follow Traffic Laws

Obey all traffic laws, including speed limits, lane changes, and signaling. Motorcyclists are subject to the same rules as other drivers while on the road.

Stay Visible

Make sure you’re visible to other motorists. Use your motorcycle’s lights and wear high-visibility and reflecting gear. Position yourself in a way that reduces the chances of being in a vehicle’s blind spot, and be careful with lane splitting in particularly light traffic.

Ride Sober

Never ride under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any substances that impair your judgment or reflexes. This is a widespread problem among veteran riders, according to the Bakersfield Harley-Davidson Owners Group, causing around 41% of all motorcycle fatalities in the state.

Keep Your Bike Maintained

Regularly maintain your motorcycle to ensure it’s in good working condition. Check tire pressure, brakes, lights, and other crucial components, as they do a lot of the work keeping you safe during a Bakersfield motorcycle adventure.

Practice Defensive Riding

Always anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared for sudden stops or lane changes. Maintain a safe following distance and never assume you are 100% visible to all drivers all the time.

Avoid Riding in Poor Weather

Rain, fog, and low visibility conditions can make riding more hazardous. California has pretty good weather most of the year, but these conditions still happen. If possible, avoid riding in adverse conditions, and if you must, reduce your speed and increase your following distance.

Be Cautious at Intersections

Many motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, especially in Bakersfield. Slow down, and be extra cautious when approaching or passing through intersections, paying attention to the stoplights and any pedestrians around.

Avoid Distracted Riding

Just as you should avoid distracted driving in a car, stay focused on the road and eliminate distractions like texting or phone use while riding. Also be cautious of drivers using their phones, as they are one of the leading causes of motorcycle crashes in the US.

Take Motorcycle Training

Consider taking a motorcycle safety course to improve your riding skills and knowledge of safe riding practices. California has some of the best ones in the country, thanks to its strong motorcycling culture, so choose the best one for you.

Respect Lane Splitting Laws

In California, lane splitting is legal but controversial. It must be done cautiously and at a safe speed in congested traffic, otherwise, it can hit the blind spots of most vehicles. Be aware of these specific guidelines and follow them.

Plan Your Route

Before setting out, plan your route and share it with someone. Ensure your loved ones know your whereabouts, and always let it be known when you have reached your destiny.

Ride with a Clear Mind

Riding a motorcycle requires your full attention. Avoid riding when tired, stressed, or emotionally distracted.

Stay Updated

Stay up to date with changes in traffic laws and motorcycle safety recommendations.

Remember, motorcycle safety is a shared responsibility. While these tips can help you avoid a crash, it’s also important for other drivers to be aware of motorcyclists on the road. Always stay vigilant, ride defensively, and prioritize safety to reduce the risk of a motorcycle crash in Kern County or anywhere else.

Filling a Claim After a Motorcycle Accident That Wasn’t Your Fault

Filing a claim for a Bakersfield motorcycle accident involves a series of steps. It’s important to consult with an experienced attorney for guidance on your specific case. Here is a general outline of how to initiate a personal injury claim:

  • Contact Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your own insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with basic information about the accident, such as when and where it occurred, or who was involved.
  • Gather Relevant Information: Collect all information related to the accident, including your own account of what happened, police reports, witness statements, and the other involved driver’s information.
  • Consult with an Attorney: It’s highly recommended to consult with a personal injury attorney experienced in motorcycle accidents. They can guide you through the process in Bakersfield and protect your legal interests.
  • Follow Liability: Your attorney will help establish the liability of the accident. Remember that California is a “partial liability” state where the responsibility can be shared by several individuals, so following your attorney’s advice here is critical, and always be updated about your motorcycle insurance.
  • Request Compensation from the At-Fault Party’s Insurance: Your attorney will communicate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to negotiate a settlement for your damages. They will provide the necessary evidence to support a fair claim.
  • Assess Damages: Calculate and document all your damages, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. All of this will help your attorney to determine a fair compensatory amount.
  • Negotiate Settlement: Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement. Be cautious when dealing with the insurance company, as they may try to offer a lower settlement, or drag the case longer than necessary.
  • Consider Mediation or Arbitration: If an agreement can’t be reached through conventional means, mediation or arbitration may be options to resolve the dispute outside of court, which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • File a Lawsuit if Necessary: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, however, your attorney will probably recommend filing a lawsuit. This involves initiating the legal process, letting you pursue compensation through the court system.
  • Settlement: The case may settle during the trial or reach a judgment. If a judgment is awarded in your favor, it will outline the compensation you are entitled to under the laws of California.
  • Collect Compensation: If you receive a settlement or judgment in your favor, your attorney will work to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to, including medical bills and other damages.

Throughout this process, your Bakersfield motorcycle accident attorney should provide legal counsel and handle the administrative and legal aspects of the claim. They will help protect your rights and work to secure the best possible outcome for your case. Work closely with your attorney and follow their advice to navigate the legal system effectively, that’s the best way to reach the justice you need.

Don’t let a motorcycle accident change your life forever.

Get Expert Help From Ayuda California

Having an experienced attorney on your side can be a huge source of comfort and security during the difficult times after a motorcycle accident in Bakersfield. They can provide essential support and understanding, helping to take an enormous weight off your shoulders and allowing you to focus on recovering emotionally and physically.

At Ayuda California, we believe in justice and uncompromising representation for our clients. We fight to ensure that clients receive the financial compensation they deserve, regardless of the circumstances. Our motorcycle injury attorneys are passionate about representing each of our cases with meticulous preparation, strategic negotiation, and thorough trial advocacy.

Our team of attorneys is dedicated to helping individuals and families in their pursuit of justice while they recover from their losses. We understand the hardship a victim may go through, from extensive medical bills to mental anguish. We fight for the medical care you need, and the money you deserve. At Ayuda California, justice always remains our core principle at all times when fighting for our client’s rights and best interests. We are available 24/7 and work on a contingency fee basis so you don’t have to pay us until we win your case. Call us now and get a free consultation on your case.

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