What Is The Reason Behind So Many San Diego Motorcycle Accidents?

San Diego is a remarkable city with a lot to offer. Gorgeous beaches, delicious food, and enjoyable weather all year round make it a perfect place to live. One way to take in all that San Diego has to offer is on a motorcycle. Motorcycles provide incredible freedom and offer riders a unique way to experience the city.

Unfortunately, San Diego is also home to a high number of motorcycle accidents which may result in both minor and severe injuries, as well as fatalities. Additionally, the expenses associated with motorcycle accidents can be significant. If you or a loved one have been injured in a motorcycle accident, it is essential to understand what causes so many San Diego motorcycle accidents and what you can do to protect yourself.

Motorcycle Accident San Diego 

In 2021, San Diego county registered a total of 3,038,801 vehicles with 86,269 being motorcycles. Naturally, the number of cars and trucks will outnumber the number of motorcycles on the road, but this number has been on the rise in recent years as motorcycles become increasingly popular. This also extends to the number of motorcycle accidents in San Diego.

According to the Transportation Injury Mapping System, in 2021, there were nearly 639 motorcycle accidents in San Diego, which accounts for approximately 2 accidents a day. Within this statistic, 717 people were injured and 18 were killed. This is a significant increase from the previous year when there were only 468 motorcycle accidents, with 511 wounded and 13 killed.

So, what is the reason behind so many San Diego motorcycle accidents? Let’s take a closer look.

Why Do Motorcycle Accidents Occur?

“Share the Road”.

This is a message from the Department of Transportation that reinforces the importance of all drivers, regardless of what type of vehicle they are operating, being aware of and respectful of other vehicles on the road. Motorcycles are smaller than cars and trucks, which can make them more challenging to see. Additionally, motorcycles provide riders with less protection than being inside a car or truck, which can result in more severe injuries if an accident does occur. Therefore, when driving, changing lanes, or making turns, all drivers need to take an extra moment to look for motorcycles.

Despite the efforts of the Department of Transportation, motorcyclists are still at a higher risk of being in an accident due to the negligence of other drivers.

Research shows:

  • Motorcyclists can suffer fatal injuries in a collision at rates 29 times higher than passenger car occupants per vehicle mile traveled.
  • Despite being 3% of all registered vehicles, motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic fatalities.

Common Factors of Motorcycle Accidents In San Diego

Several factors can contribute to motorcycle accidents in San Diego. However, the three most common contributing factors are listed below:

Instability When Braking

When a motorcyclist suddenly brakes to avoid colliding with another vehicle or object, the weight of the bike and rider is transferred to the front wheel. If too much pressure is applied, it can cause the front wheel to lock, which can cause the bike to become unstable.

Motorcycle & Second Vehicle Involvement

In San Diego, the most common type of motorcycle accident is when a motorcycle and another vehicle are involved. The majority of these motorcycle accidents occur when the second vehicle driver doesn’t see the bike or fails to yield the right of way. At the same time, the motorcyclist fails to recognize the danger and responds accordingly.

Crash Warning Technology

Although many newer vehicles are now being manufactured with crash warning technology, not all drivers have access to this feature. Additionally, even if a driver does have this technology, it is not always 100% effective. Sometimes, the crash warning technology failed to recognize and respond appropriately to the motorcycle.

How Severe Motorcycle Accident Injuries Occur

Ensuring your safety while riding a motorcycle should be your number one priority. Unfortunately, even if you take all the necessary precautions, there is still a chance that you could be involved in an accident. Motorcycle accidents often result in severe injuries or even death.

Understanding why severe motorcycle accidents occur can help you to be more prepared in the event of a collision.

Visibility Issues

Repeatedly, research has shown that one of the leading causes of motorcycle accidents is the fact that many drivers simply do not see motorcycles on the road. Motorcycles are much smaller than cars, which can make them more challenging to see. Vehicle drivers often fail to check their blind spots, or simply don’t see the motorcycle when making a turn. Thus, they are not equipped to yield, maneuver, or stop in time to avoid a collision.

Lack of Protection

Open-air freedom is a thrilling experience that many motorcycle riders take advantage of; however, it also puts them at a greater risk for injury. Motorcyclists do not have the same level of protection as that inside a car or truck. Motorcycles do not have airbags, seatbelts, or steel frames surrounding them to protect them in the event of an accident.

While motorcycles may don protective gear such as helmets, boots, and Kevlar gear, this does little to protect the rider from serious injuries.

Balance and Weight Issues

Motorcycles are not as stable as four-wheeled vehicles. They have a lower center of gravity and require more effort to balance, which can make them more difficult to control in certain situations. Motorcycles are also much lighter than other vehicles on the road. Therefore it is easy for them to be pushed around or toppled over by more powerful vehicles, or in the event of a collision.

Severe Motorcycle Accident Injuries

Due to the lack of protection that motorcycle riders have, they are more susceptible to suffering serious injuries in the event of an accident. These include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries that can result in paralysis
  • Pavement burns & road rash
  • Multiple open and closed fractures
  • Road rash
  • Internal bleeding

With these severe injuries come high medical bills, missed time from work, and in some cases permanent disability. Motorcycle riders who have been involved in an accident often find themselves struggling to cope with the aftermath.

What To Know About Motorcycle Rider Visibility

With the Get Up To Speed On Motorcycles campaign, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reminding all drivers to be more aware of motorcycles on the road and to take extra care when driving near them.

The following factors can contribute to other vehicle drivers being able to see motorcyclists:

Weather and Lighting Conditions

Motorcyclists are more difficult to see in low-light conditions such as night, dawn, rain, and snow. Drivers should use extra caution when driving in these conditions and be on the lookout for motorcycles.


Being surrounded by other vehicles can make it difficult to see a motorcycle. Motorcycles can easily get lost in a car’s blind spots or blend in with other traffic.

Size of Motorcycle

As previously mentioned, motorcycles are much smaller than cars, which can make them more challenging to see.

Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney In San Diego

If you or a loved one have been involved in a motorcycle accident, it is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. An experienced motorcycle accident attorney in San Diego will be able to guide you through the process of filing a claim and help you get the compensation you deserve.

At The Law Office of Michelle Gershen, we have many years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases. We understand the unique challenges that come with these types of cases and will work tirelessly to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact Us Today!