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With oil prices reaching $100 per barrel, who wouldn’t want to find transportation alternatives to gas guzzling automobiles. In the last decade, motorcycle dealers have seen a 24% increase in sales. Moreover, the motorcycle industry reports that each year over 1 million units are sold so motorcycles are here to stay. Orange County as well as California in general, has lots of open spaces and country roads-places motorcyclists love to be!

Are Motorcyclist risk takers, reckless drivers and prone to disobeying traffic laws? Is this our culture’s perception of motorcycle drivers or unjustified biased? According to a new study out by the University of Southern California (USC), the facts are that a vast majority of motorcycle accidents are not the fault of the cyclist. Additionally, three quarters of all motorcycle accidents involves a collision with an automobile and two thirds of those accidents, it was the automobile driver that was at fault. In most cases, motorists do not typically look for motorcycles.

Unfortunately, with the increase in sales comes an increase in the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities. 2004. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, (NHSTA), there has been an 89% increase in motorcycle fatalities since 1997. In fact, motorcycle fatalities have increased for the eighth straight year. Each year more than 5,000 fatalities occur and tens of thousands are injured. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, don’t hesitate to call a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Let’s look at some of the causes and educate drivers to avoid potential personal injury to fellow drivers. Motorcyclists are 32 times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers of other vehicles. With those odds, there must be some incentive to take such risks. Many riders are reducing stress by riding rural roads. It may be a beautiful scenic drive with the wind on your face, but these are where most accidents happen. Also, since driving motorcycles has become a popular mode of transportation fairly quickly, many drivers are not properly educated on the dangers of cycle riding and easily lose control.

In the state of California, you will need a Class M1 license which will allow you to operate any two-wheeled motorcycle or motor powered bike. Even though you must take a separate exam, emphasizing specific rules of the road for motorcyclists, no other practical exams are required.
Lane splitting or lane sharing is one of the most disputed motorcycle laws here in California. The law basically states that it is legal if a driver cuts in between cars and it is permissible so long as it is done in a safe and careful manner. The DMV considers this practice very dangerous and highly recommends against it.

The California Highway Patrol does not consider this practice illegal because it realizes that most motorcycles have air-cooled engines, unlike car radiators that are cooled by fans, and they must keep their vehicles moving to keep them safe from overheating.

Motorcycles and cars must share the roads, so here are some useful guidelines to keep safe while experiencing your new motorcycle:
· Allow plenty of space between you and all other vehicles.
· Pay attention to vehicles intending to turn left after intersections. This is the leading cause of injuries to motorcyclist.
· Always wear a helmet and safety clothing · Never drink and drive · Know your limitations and consider taking a motorcycle safety course to gain better skills.

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