With nearly 840,000 residents, Ventura County is the twelfth-most populous county in California. Due to its large population and proximity to major urban hubs like Los Angeles and Santa Monica, Ventura County has some of the state’s most congested and dangerous roads and highways, like CA-126, where 34 people died in accidents from 1990 to 1994 alone. The county’s most heavily traveled road, Victoria Avenue, carries an average of nearly 45,000 vehicles per day, creating plenty of opportunities for a serious accident to occur. Here, our Ventura County motorcycle accident lawyers examine state and county crash statistics to see how our local roads compare to the rest of California when it comes to motorcycle safety.
How Many Motorcyclists Are Killed or Injured in Accidents in California?
California auto accident statistics are tracked by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) using a tool called the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS). The CHP releases an annual SWITRS report containing detailed data on fatalities and injuries caused by vehicular accidents, including motorcycle accidents. Data is available for each individual county, which makes it simple to compare crash statistics by location.
According to the 2013 SWITRS report — the most recent version available as of July 2016 — over 223,000 people were injured in statewide auto accidents that year: more than the population of Oxnard. Sadly, 3,104 people lost their lives — a disproportionate number of them motorcyclists.
Consider that almost 30 million vehicles were registered in California as of 2013. About 872,400 of them (2.9%) were motorcycles, which means proportionally, motorcycle accidents would have accounted for about 6,470 out of 223,128 injuries and about 90 out of 3,104 fatalities. In reality, motorcycle crashes were actually responsible for 467 fatalities — closer to 15% — and almost 11,650 injuries, which is closer to 5.2%.
It is a well-known fact that, while motorcycle accidents occur less frequently than car crashes, they are more likely to cause death or catastrophic injury, such as a limb amputation, spinal cord injury, or traumatic brain injury. Because motorcyclists are not protected by seat belts, air bags, or enclosing walls — and because motorcycles are relatively small and lightweight — the risk of injury or wrongful death is greater in the event of a collision with another vehicle.
Ventura County Motorcycle Crash Statistics: Injuries and Fatalities
Even for highly skilled and experienced motorcyclists, the roads of California can be very dangerous when they are traveled by careless, fatigued, reckless, or intoxicated drivers. However, certain parts of the state are statistically safer than others. So how does Ventura County measure up against other counties in California?
According to the 2013 SWITRS report on motorcycles, 11,644 injury crashes and 467 fatal crashes were documented statewide that year. The 25- to 34-year-old demographic accounted for more injuries and deaths than any other age group, especially during the spring and summer months, when crashes are most likely to occur as people head outside to enjoy the balmy weather.
While several counties reported zero fatalities, all reported injuries. Glenn County and Modoc County tied for fewest injury collisions with just three reported in each county, while neither reported any deadly accidents. Of course, both of those counties have sparse populations — about 28,000 and 9,150, respectively — which helps to cut down on the risk of collisions. The same idea helps explain why Los Angeles County, with a surging population of more than 10 million, had the highest numbers of fatal and injury crashes: 105 and 3,509, respectively.
With slightly less than a tenth of L.A. County’s population in 2013 — 8.4%, to be exact — you might also expect Ventura County to have about 8.4% of its motorcycle injuries and fatalities, which would equate to roughly nine fatalities and 295 injuries. Yet that’s not how the numbers actually worked out. In 2013, Ventura County reported 199 injuries and 13 fatalities: fewer injuries than expected when compared against Los Angeles County, but also a higher number of deaths.
Here’s how the counties in California ranked for fatal motorcycle accidents, from least to most dangerous for motorcyclists:
- No Fatal Crashes — Alpine, Colusa, Glenn, Inyo, Kings, Modoc, Mono, Sierra, Siskiyou, Yuba
- 1 Fatal Crash — Amador, Butte, Imperial, Lassen, Madera, Mariposa, Nevada, Plumas, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Trinity, Yolo
- 2 Fatal Crashes — Del Norte, El Dorado, Marin, Napa, Pacer, Tehama, Tuolumne
- 3 Fatal Crashes — Humboldt, Mendocino
- 4 Fatal Crashes — Calaveras, Lake, San Francisco, Sonoma
- 6 Fatal Crashes — Monterey, Solano
- 7 Fatal Crashes — Contra Costa, Merced, Santa Clara, Shasta
- 8 Fatal Crashes — San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Tulare
- 9 Fatal Crashes — San Luis Obispo, Stanislaus
- 10 to 15 Fatal Crashes — Fresno (12), Kern (13), Ventura (13)
- 16 to 30 Fatal Crashes — Alameda (17), Sacramento (22), Orange (30)
- 31 to 50 Fatal Crashes — San Bernardino (32), Riverside (37), San Diego (47)
- 51 Fatal Crashes or More — Los Angeles (105)
Injured in a Motorcycle Accident? Call Our Ventura Personal Injury Attorneys
If you were injured while riding your motorcycle, or if one of your family members was killed in a motorcycle accident, know that you can turn to the dedicated, aggressive, and experienced personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Bamieh & De Smeth, PLC for legal help. Call our law offices at (805) 585-5056 to set up a free legal consultation.