The California Office of Traffic Safety reported a decline in motorcycle injuries and fatalities from 2017 to 2018 (the most recent available data). However, bikers are still disproportionately impacted by catastrophic auto accident injuries.

Defensive driving techniques can help motorcycle riders avoid serious collisions.

Know the laws

California requires bikers to follow the same traffic laws that apply to car and truck drivers. The bike must have a designated seat and footrest for each person and handlebars less than 6 inches above the rider’s shoulders. State law allows motorcyclists to travel between traffic lanes.

Keep your distance

When operating a motorcycle, bikers should double the following distance they would use when driving a car. Doing so provides extra reaction time to avoid a collision if another driver swerves or slams on the brakes.

Maintain visibility

Bikes made in 1978 or later must have working headlights that remain illuminated at all times. Motorcyclists should take care to avoid drivers’ blind spots and use turn signals to ensure other motorists know what to expect.

Brush up on your skills

Defensive driving courses with approval from the National Safety Council help new and veteran riders stay safe on the highway. Bikers should consider taking this type of class within two years after they begin riding, a time period when most serious motorcycle accidents occur. Safety courses can also be helpful for riders who have decades of motorcycle experience.

California has more motorcycle riders than almost any other U.S. state. All motorists share the responsibility of keeping one another safe when traveling on state roads. These defensive driving tips can help motorcyclists avoid debilitating auto accident injuries.