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Fatal vehicle-related stats in California revealing, troubling

A story from last week concerning the efforts of a local police department in Los Angeles County to temporarily ratchet up its on-the-streets presence in promotion of a motorcycle awareness and safety campaign strongly spotlights the concerning topic of motorcycle accidents in California.

It is sad to note that, when fatal motorcycle crash statistics are extrapolated across a calendar year, California motorcyclists are dying at a rate that far exceeds one rider every day.

And what is worrying to safety officials and advocates is that fatality numbers are trending in the wrong direction. According to the state Office of Traffic Safety, 447 riders died in crashes in the state in 2012. In 2013 (the most recent year for which relevant numbers can be gleaned), that number rose to 453.

Such numbers are obviously worrisome. What might be centrally contributing to them?

Economic constraints continue to pose tough challenges for many people, of course, and some commuters looking to save money might be opting for the comparatively cheap conveyance provided by a bike. At the same time, a general economic rebound has put more motorists of passenger vehicles back behind the wheel.

Simply put, the single variable of more traffic out on the roads can be a directly contributing factor in some accidents.

Accident statistics similarly show an upward spiking trend in fatal outcomes involving pedestrians and bicyclists, which the above-noted article calls "dramatic." More than 700 pedestrians died in California in 2013 after being struck by vehicles, with that number evidencing a nearly seven percent rise from the preceding year.

And the surge in bicyclists' deaths was even more pronounced, with the 141 fatalities reported in 2013 marking a jump of 8.6 percent from 2012.

It is manifestly evident why state officials are unremittingly focused on accident avoidance and safety-enhancing measures across California.

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