Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

A lot of motorcycle deaths in San Diego County

“The older gentlemen tend to crash on windy backcountry roads."

A freeway stunt going wrong
A freeway stunt going wrong

San Diego County has the dubious honor of ranking the fourth worst — of 58 California counties — in motorcycle crash deaths.

In 2016, the county broke its own record for the number of people (overwhelmingly men) who died in such crashes. “We see two groups in most of the crashes: military men who’ve been deployed and they come back with a big check and buy the fastest motorcycle they can find,” says California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Pearlstein. “Then we have the older gentlemen, people who always wanted a motorcycle and finally got it.”

Chris Cochran, spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, says his statewide numbers match Pearlstein’s observations. The rankings are determined through sophisticated statistical analysis that includes weighting for population, number of licensed drivers, miles of road and so on, he said.

“We’ve seen two spikes in deaths,” Cochran said. ”One is in the 19-to-25 age group, the other is the over 45-age groups.” Cochran noted a grim first that occurred September 17th, a head-on collision of two motorcycles on Ortega Highway in Orange County that left both riders, in their 20s, dead.

Sponsored
Sponsored

In San Diego, the 20-something returning-from-deployment group is four or five years older than the statewide numbers — because they were deployed in their early 20s, Cochran said. (The county Medical Examiner did not respond to requests for information on how many of the motorcycle deaths involved servicemembers.)

In 2016, the San Diego Medical Examiner reported 63 motorcyclists died, including one death classified as a suicide. That was a 33 percent increase from 47 motorcycle deaths in 2015, including one homicide — that of Zachary Buob, who was killed in a road-rage encounter by driver Darla Jackson.)

(Typical crash death numbers for years from 2012 forward are in the low to mid 50s, according to county records.) (The Medical Examiner’s Office and county communications staff did not respond to many calls and emails with questions for this story.)

The Office of Traffic Safety says there were about 1470 reported motorcycle-crash deaths and injuries reported in 2014 — the latest year available.

“Most of those crashes, about 70 percent, were single-vehicle crashes,” said Cochran. “The motorcyclist is nearly always at fault. When he’s not, it’s usually because an oncoming car turned in front of the motorcycle and the rider couldn’t stop.”

“Lane splitters,” motorcyclists who creep up the highway lawfully on the dotted lines between lanes, rarely die because of it, Pearlstein noted. “They tend to fall off and break something, but because they’re in slow traffic at slow speeds, they almost always survive.”

Pearlstein says each age group has its own crash pattern. The older motorcyclist tends to have bought a top-of-the-line Harley Davidson, when they should have started on a smaller cycle and gotten used to the heft and torque of the big brand.

“The older gentlemen tend to crash on windy backcountry roads because they went there thinking it’s safer, but they’re not experienced at handling switchbacks and curves,” he said. “We see indications that they braked heavily midway through the curve, where an experienced driver would lean into it and look ahead.” Those crashes tend to happen on weekends, he said.

While the different age groups have different M.O.s in crashing, there are some universal observations to the solo crash, which tends to be among inexperienced motorcyclists, Pearlstein said.

“They bought too much motorcycle, with the most power they could find,” he said. “Your first motorcycle should be a learner.” Young men with “crotch rockets” crash on Otay Lakes Road, on Palomar Mountain and in Julian, he said. Speed is almost always a factor and those crashes are also solo-vehicle crashes, he said.

“Oceanside [CHP sector] has more of the military crashes than we do, but we see them,” Pearlstein said. “The Navy and the Marines are very aware of this and they have on-base courses for motorcycle safety and beginning motorcyclists.”

The CHP has a 15-hour motorcycle-safety course that’s required for riders under 21 but is available to anyone. The classes are offered all over the state at hundreds of locations, including on military bases.

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Outstanding yellowtail and halibut action along the Baja coast

Bluefin edging northward toward San Clemente Island
A freeway stunt going wrong
A freeway stunt going wrong

San Diego County has the dubious honor of ranking the fourth worst — of 58 California counties — in motorcycle crash deaths.

In 2016, the county broke its own record for the number of people (overwhelmingly men) who died in such crashes. “We see two groups in most of the crashes: military men who’ve been deployed and they come back with a big check and buy the fastest motorcycle they can find,” says California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Pearlstein. “Then we have the older gentlemen, people who always wanted a motorcycle and finally got it.”

Chris Cochran, spokesman for the state Office of Traffic Safety, says his statewide numbers match Pearlstein’s observations. The rankings are determined through sophisticated statistical analysis that includes weighting for population, number of licensed drivers, miles of road and so on, he said.

“We’ve seen two spikes in deaths,” Cochran said. ”One is in the 19-to-25 age group, the other is the over 45-age groups.” Cochran noted a grim first that occurred September 17th, a head-on collision of two motorcycles on Ortega Highway in Orange County that left both riders, in their 20s, dead.

Sponsored
Sponsored

In San Diego, the 20-something returning-from-deployment group is four or five years older than the statewide numbers — because they were deployed in their early 20s, Cochran said. (The county Medical Examiner did not respond to requests for information on how many of the motorcycle deaths involved servicemembers.)

In 2016, the San Diego Medical Examiner reported 63 motorcyclists died, including one death classified as a suicide. That was a 33 percent increase from 47 motorcycle deaths in 2015, including one homicide — that of Zachary Buob, who was killed in a road-rage encounter by driver Darla Jackson.)

(Typical crash death numbers for years from 2012 forward are in the low to mid 50s, according to county records.) (The Medical Examiner’s Office and county communications staff did not respond to many calls and emails with questions for this story.)

The Office of Traffic Safety says there were about 1470 reported motorcycle-crash deaths and injuries reported in 2014 — the latest year available.

“Most of those crashes, about 70 percent, were single-vehicle crashes,” said Cochran. “The motorcyclist is nearly always at fault. When he’s not, it’s usually because an oncoming car turned in front of the motorcycle and the rider couldn’t stop.”

“Lane splitters,” motorcyclists who creep up the highway lawfully on the dotted lines between lanes, rarely die because of it, Pearlstein noted. “They tend to fall off and break something, but because they’re in slow traffic at slow speeds, they almost always survive.”

Pearlstein says each age group has its own crash pattern. The older motorcyclist tends to have bought a top-of-the-line Harley Davidson, when they should have started on a smaller cycle and gotten used to the heft and torque of the big brand.

“The older gentlemen tend to crash on windy backcountry roads because they went there thinking it’s safer, but they’re not experienced at handling switchbacks and curves,” he said. “We see indications that they braked heavily midway through the curve, where an experienced driver would lean into it and look ahead.” Those crashes tend to happen on weekends, he said.

While the different age groups have different M.O.s in crashing, there are some universal observations to the solo crash, which tends to be among inexperienced motorcyclists, Pearlstein said.

“They bought too much motorcycle, with the most power they could find,” he said. “Your first motorcycle should be a learner.” Young men with “crotch rockets” crash on Otay Lakes Road, on Palomar Mountain and in Julian, he said. Speed is almost always a factor and those crashes are also solo-vehicle crashes, he said.

“Oceanside [CHP sector] has more of the military crashes than we do, but we see them,” Pearlstein said. “The Navy and the Marines are very aware of this and they have on-base courses for motorcycle safety and beginning motorcyclists.”

The CHP has a 15-hour motorcycle-safety course that’s required for riders under 21 but is available to anyone. The classes are offered all over the state at hundreds of locations, including on military bases.

Comments
Sponsored

The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Sandollar, Courtly Noyse, Shelbi Bennett, Jewel, and Punk Rock Chili Dog Social

Folk, world, punk, rock, and reggae in Ocean Beach, City Heights, Carlsbad, Little Italy, downtown
Next Article

Fleet After Dark, Lake Street Dive, Comic Con Bar Crawl

Events July 25-July 27, 2024
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

This Week’s Reader This Week’s Reader