Motorcycle fatalities dropped 37 percent from 2008 to 2010 but rose nearly 18 percent in 2011

Kern has most crashes in central valley

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Motorcycle fatalities dropped 37% from 2008 to 2010 but rose nearly 18% in 2011.

"Most of the car crashes that run into motorcycles that's the first thing they say, they didn't see us. We've got bright headlights, incredible loud pipes and they still don't see us or pay attention to us," said motorcycle rider and Harley Davidson dealership manager Ben Patten.

Crashed bikes are brought in too often at the Harley Davidson dealership.

"We get 2 or 3 crash bikes a month. We've taken in 10 this calendar year," said Patten.

CHP said every year Kern County has the most motorcycle crashes in all of the Central Valley.

Each year from 2008 and 2011, Kern county beat Fresno to have the highest number of motorcycle crashes.

California collision data said the primary causes of motorcycle crashes include speeding, unsafe lane changes and unsafe turning.

"People turn left in front of us. They pull out in front of us," said Patten.

Law enforcement and riders say look with your head, not just your eyes.

"Make sure when you make that lane change that you look over and see if there's someone occupying that lane change," said CHP officer Robert Rodriguez.

"Pay attention to your peripheral vision because that's where you'll catch us. You don't necessarily see us head on. Be careful," said Patten.

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