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Motorcycle riders, deaths reach all-time highs in 2008 (Kern County)

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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:21 PM
Original message
Motorcycle riders, deaths reach all-time highs in 2008 (Kern County)
Motorcycle riders, deaths reach all-time highs in 2008


Last Updated: Friday, Jan 23 2009 5:13 PM

Last year saw a record number of Kern County residents hopping on motorcycles, and at the same time saw a record-trying amount of people dying as a result, year-end statistics show.

Motorcycle registrations in the county for 2008 passed all-time high numbers from previous year, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV saw 17,890 registrations last year, 500 more than in 2007.

In the last 10 years, registrations have more than doubled.

At the same time, motorcycle deaths last year tied record high levels from the year before. Twenty people died on motorcycles in both 2008 and 2007, according to the coroner's office. Of the 2008 fatalities, 10 were solo crashes, while the other 10 involved other vehicles.

Throughout the past several years, the number of motorcycle deaths has steadily risen. Fatalities have doubled in the last five years.

http://www.bakersfield.com/hourly_news/story/672140.htm...

With gas prices going up I wonder if this is a trend where you live (unless you live in Fargo or someplace similar...)
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. motorcycles are so dangerous.
i don't know if it's a trend, but a co-worker has lost 2 friends just in the past few months. both were on motorcycles, and both collided with automobiles.
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Gidney N Cloyd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Car drivers look right through us 2-wheelers. (Motorcycles and bikes, too)
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LT TX Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #3
9. Exactly!
See my post below...that is exactly how my husband had his wreck. Someone just pulled right out in front of him!
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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. So what you're saying is that cars are the sole reason for motorcycle accidents?
And all motorcyclists are responsible riders, correct?

So when some douchebag on a crouch-rocket lane splits at top speed and loses control of his bike, that's because car drivers were looking right through him?

:crazy:

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Gidney N Cloyd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:52 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. You got all that from "Car drivers look right through us 2-wheelers." ?
C'mon. I think you've got a valid point to make but you can certainly do it without twisting my point into something it wasn't.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. you are right. we do. i have. scares the shit out of me. i am so
paranoid when i have a motorcycle rider by me. they are just so vulnerable. (bicyclists too)
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devilgrrl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:01 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. you've got a valid point too - drivers don't paid attention as much as they should
But I'm saying is that there's recklessness on both sides. :shrug:
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #19
28. i think it is even a bigger phenomenon than just not paying attention.
i think there has been studies and motorists just dont see them, see thru them, why i am so paranoid with them.

but you are right too

a lot of these accidents are the motorcyclist. had one up our block a couple weeks ago. he was playin, going to fast, hit the side of a van turning left. so sad. so sad. 40's, friday afternoon, boom, family finds out he is dead. second death there of motorcyclist in two years.

they are fun, but dangerous.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
29. yeah.
i don't think they mean to look right through you, but i think there is little doubt that a lot if not most of car/motorcycle wrecks happen because the person driving the car did not see the motorcycle.
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. know anybody who
was hurt/killed in an auto accident?

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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
26. yes.
the death rate for motorcycles is 15 to 18 times that of cars.
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madmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:29 PM
Response to Original message
2. My SO and I used to ride all the time. He had a terrible accident in '84 haven't ridden since. We
came to the conclusion that people in cars equate motorcycles to bicycles and don't think they move as fast as they do, there fore they pull in front of, cut off etc.
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canetoad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:34 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Two of my bosses friends were killed
last week in that rare event, a two motorcycle crash.

Francis and his wife went head on into another bike who was overtaking a truck on a blind bend. He was killed instantly, Cath was removed from life support a few days ago.

I don't blame the machines, but people who take risks and allow themselves to become distracted, aggresive or impatient. We need to ask why this behaviour is increasing.
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
4. Let me offer up an alternative reason for the increase in the number of bikes
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 01:33 PM by ThomWV
I ride myself and I am typical of a lot of "new" bikers.

I got my first motorcycle license 3 years ago, I am 62 years old. I started riding motorcycles (legally) when I got my first driver's license at 14. I rode motorcycles more or less constantly until I was about 40 and then never sat on one for close to 20 years. I retired, had time and money on my hands. My health is very good. So its not at all hard to understand that I went out and bought myself sort of the Cadillac of bikes.

There are tens of thousands of guys just like me out there. Returning bikers is one name for us. Now here's the problem. Every one of us has slower reactions than we did in our hay-day. We can't see as well either. Traffic is twice as bad as it ever was back in the day and to top it all off today's bikes are much faster than the ones we used to ride. It show in accidents, at least locally. Lots of old farts getting run over or driving out into the trees at high speed. Don't get me wrong, young guys are still doing it too, but there are a lot, an awful lot, of older returning bikers on the road and sorry to say we are not the riders we once were, if we know it or not.

Sorry for the bandwidth, just can't help myself:
<a href="This image link contains an illegal code" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
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canetoad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Good point
but I would have thought that the older riders would ride more defensively and take less risks.
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. returning
bikers are, statistically, at bigger risk. their memories of abilities don't take into account the decreased abilities (reflexes) that age inevitably brings.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:56 PM
Response to Reply #4
15. Beautiful bike.
Myself, I'm looking for a big street legal enduro bike.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:35 PM
Response to Original message
6. It doesn't necessarily have to be so
Europe has much higher motorcycle ridership rates, but less than half the fatality rate.
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melm00se Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. In the USA
you can buy any motorcycle, regardless of power, whether you have been riding for 1 day or 40 years.

The UK has an excellent policy as it comes to motorcycles: they have graduated licenses and real world road tests before you can move up in power levels.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:24 PM
Response to Reply #16
23. It's not just the motorcycle rider either
The standards for driving a car are much higher also, at least in most European countries.
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LT TX Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:37 PM
Response to Original message
7. Doesn't surprise me
My husband had a motorcycle wreck on August 27 (my birthday) & almost lost his leg. He is still recuperating. He wanted a motorcycle for a while anyway, but when gas prices got so high, it was a good excuse. He had his motorcycle for 3 months when someone pulled out in front of him.

It was such a horrible experience all the way around, but I am so grateful that he is alive. After he had his wreck we heard of so many other stories of motorcycle wrecks and most were worse than his.

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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. I'm sorry to heat about that
And I'm glad your husband is recovering. MC accident's can be incredibly traumatic.

I'm not trying to belittle your husband in any way, please believe that, his accident may have been completely unavoidable but a person whose been riding for 3 months is probably in the most danger of anyone on 2 wheels. That's when you get confidant without yet having the skills to deal with problems when they crop up.

I was lucky too.
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LT TX Donating Member (74 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. I should have clarified..
He has ridden for years, just didn't own the bike. When gas prices went up, he decided to get one of his own.

The other driver pulled out right in front of him with no way for him to avoid it. From speaking to the EMT's and police at the scene, he did exactly the right thing - He laid over the bike and hit the side of her car to avoid going over head first. Unfortunately, his right leg did not have enough room to go under the car like his left leg did and he ended up shattering both bones.
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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
11. Too many people buying too much bike
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 01:53 PM by comrade snarky
No new rider should be on anything over a 650cc engine. I'd recommend something in the 350cc range actually as the 650s today can be monsters compared to the bikes of the 70s. That's if you can find one of course.

Here in California I've seen way too many kids and adults (who should know better) that are obviously new on sport bikes. A 17 year old on a Ducatti or a Hayabusa. Only an irresponsible ass would sell a bike like that to a new rider. You also see it in the Harley crowd. A 55 year old dentist who's never ridden before buys into the marketing and gets himself a "bad boy" bike. Is he going to want the trainer? Hell no. He gets the 1600cc monster that weighs as much as a VW bug and the dealerships are happy to sell it to him.

You need to learn to handle the machine, reflexes have to be built up. It takes time and practice. The most dangerous time for a new rider is when you start to get confident. I sold my last bike about 4 years ago and I'm looking at buying another in the near future, no way in hell will I get a machine as powerful as my last one. I need to build the skills again myself and I've been riding for over 20 years.

I'd like to see a tiered licensing system. Get a motorcycle license and for the first year it restricts you to a less powerful machine. That's why the UK has a lower death rate. Lot's of lives would be saved.

:edited for splleng
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:18 PM
Response to Original message
21. My first bike in 1961 was a 90cc Ducati. My current ride is a Suzuki
Edited on Sat Jan-24-09 02:23 PM by Obamanaut
C90T (aka 1500, but actually 1462cc). No accidents thus far, but watched wife crash her 49cc scooter. Broke her up pretty good - neuro surgeon was not sure if she'd make it, and if so how much brain damage she would have.

She did make it, and is about 90% physical and mental of what she was.

My point is, I am 66 and have been very fortunate, wife not so much. I attribute my survival to being extremely cautious, assuming not a single other person can see me regardless of the vehicle they are in or on - and make an effort to get in their line of sight.

Before I retired from the Navy, I went through their motorcycle safety course several times. The permit issued for on-base registration was only good up to the size of the bike you took the course in. If you got a larger one, back through the course you went. It was a good thing, but I don't know how it works now (retired in 1988, may have changed.)

Edited to add wife is here because of her helmet. Neuro surgeon told me that without it we would not have been having a conversation at all.
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comrade snarky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 03:22 PM
Response to Reply #21
31. Early 70s Honda 350 for me
It's true that speed and size aren't the only factors. Someone I know nearly died from a slow speed bicycle accident even with the helmet.

It's caution and fear that keep a motorcycle rider alive. Never trust another vehicle or stop thinking about that concrete 5 inches beneath your feet.

Sorry to hear about your wife's accident but it's a good lesson for everyone else. Helmets save lives.
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Buns_of_Fire Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #31
33. Amen and amen about the "caution and fear"
I lost track of the times I had to veer over onto someone's lawn (or once, even climb a sidewalk!) because someone just wasn't aware that I was there, putting along in my own lane. I could count on being run off the road at least once a day. It got to the point where it just wasn't fun anymore.

And that was 40 years ago, when my reflexes were a lot quicker than they are now (and bones mended a lot faster, too).
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:23 PM
Response to Original message
22. I gave up motorcycle riding maybe 25 years ago.
I got tired of riding with my heart in my throat always fearful of a car simply pulling in front of me or pulling out in front of me. I don't have a death wish. But cyclists themselves can be just as bad with their weaving in and out of traffic and riding between lanes. I do think that Harley riders in particular should get a tax credit if they sign a donor card because I see so many of them riding without a helmet. The funny one is the guy who rides his motorcycle and wears a helmet, but he is shirtless, wearing cutoffs and sneakers. If he even lays his bike down at 30 mph he will be having skin grafts for years.

The main trouble with riding either a motorcycle or a bicycle here in WI is that the weather is so bad for at least 4 months. In the summer I will ride my bicycle, but I can ride it nearly everywhere in my city of 50,000 without having to mix with traffic. I did go for 2 months last summer without having to fill up my gas tank in my 30+mpg car and that was only because I was going on a trip out of town.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Wife's damages from her accident at under 25 mph were brain
bleeding in three areas, one broken collar bone, the other displaced, broken ckeekbone, five ribs broken in nine places, broken arm, too much road rash to list. She was helmeted and dressed appropriately. I was on my bike about 50 - 75 feet behind her. Nasty sight to witness.

What you said is true. Now when we see people riding wearing what you described wife shakes her head and says they're not gonna like it if they fall down.
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elocs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:34 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. For me, it is not worth riding a cycle for the freedom thrill or to save gas.
My bicycle, well that I can ride nearly all the time on the sidewalk or bike trails or on lightly travelled side streets which parallel the busy ones.
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Obamanaut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:47 PM
Response to Reply #25
30. Not surprisingly, wife won't ride with me. nt
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FreakinDJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 02:35 PM
Response to Original message
27. Kern Co. - that is where FreeRepublic is from - what did you expect
from a bunch of stupid Freepers
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MadHound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 03:40 PM
Response to Original message
32. I'm glad I live, and bike, out in the country
Any decent size city is a nightmare to ride a motorcycle in, too many idiots on the road who either can't or won't see you.

I live in the country and take the backroads in to the little town for school. About the worst I have to deal with in the way of traffic are deer, who for some reason don't seem to see me any better than a lot of motorists, they just stand in the road, watching me approach. I've gotten so close a few times I could have swatted them on their rear.
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