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California Motorcycle Culture and Crashes

Legal Insight on California Motorcycle Culture

In recent years, California has seen a rapid growth in popularity of motorcycles. In 2019, the Golden State was reported to have the most motorcycle registrations in the nation, with an estimate of 808,377 registered private and commercial motorcycles. Many benefits have contributed to the increase in the interest of wanting to own this type of vehicle, such as easier parking and storage, lower prices of gas and repairs, and positive social perceptions. With a significant amount of motorcycles occupying the roads, the chances of getting into an accident have greatly increased.

West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced motorcycle accident attorneys who will help you get the justice you deserve for damages caused by the collision. Contact us today to get a free consultation.

California Motorcycle Culture

Live Free: A California Motorcycle Culture 

To highlight the increasing popularity of the motorcycle culture, the California Automobile Museum opened up a new exhibit called “Live Free: California Motorcycle Culture.” The new exhibit showcases motorcycle history and features bikes dating back to 1903. The museum holds over 60 classic motorcycles and memorabilia.

To complement the motorcycle culture, museum curation Carly Starr stated, “This exhibit was difficult to organize with the number of bikes and their significance. In putting the exhibit together to tell the story of the California (motorcycle) culture and how motorcycles affected California culture, we were offered more than 150 classic and neo-classic motorcycles and while we originally planned for about 40 to 50 bikes for the display, we ended up with about 60, turning down more than 100 great bikes. There are about 40 bikes in the main exhibit area with about 20 more strategically scattered throughout the museum.” Carly continues to report, “We have worked hard with the story and its structure to let visitors who don’t know much have an acceptable and friendly experience while the enthusiast can experience the history of their avocation.”

Motorcycle Clubs

Many motorcycle enthusiasts agree that the best part of riding a motorcycle is conquering the road with your very own motorcycle crew. Specialty clubs in California have catered to “non-traditional” riders, such as women and diverse ethnic groups.

There are now over 30 motorcycle groups made just for women. A representative of the Litas made a comment mentioning how the group has “different backgrounds, interests, jobs, [and] lives, but find common ground when [they] cruise the canyons, scraping pavement and letting go of all inhibitions.”

Motorcycle Crashes in California 

With motorcycle ownership continuing to grow, the number of collisions is predicted to increase. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that nearly 509 fatal motorcycle accidents occurred in California, making it the second state, behind Florida, to have the most deaths in a motorcycle-related crash.

California Vehicle Code 27803 requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, however, there are many who choose not to. In 2019, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gathered data for helmet use in fatal motorcycle accidents that took place in the United States. Out of 5,014 bodies found, 60 percent of motorcyclists and passengers had on a helmet, while 36 percent did not. It is not always a guarantee that safety gear may protect a motorcyclist from an accident since the level of impact may vary. Regardless, wearing protective gear can still be effective in decreasing the chances of a motorcyclist enduring serious injuries or fatal crashes.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a majority of motorcycle accidents are caused by:

  • Lack of experience.
  • Riding on the wrong side of the road.
  • Under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Speeding.
  • Poor weather conditions.
  • Not licensed or improperly licensed.
  • Failure to yield.
  • Bad turning.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Understands California Motorcycle Culture and Law 

If you have sustained injuries in the city of Los Angeles as a result of a motorcycle accident, West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you get the compensation you deserve for the losses you have suffered, which include medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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