Rear-end accident deaths not as common


Question: Do you have any statistics on rear-end accidents (from cars) while stopped at intersections aboard a motorcycle?

-- Rick Lenning, Brea

Answer: The only information I have about rear-end accidents has to do with fatal motorcycle crashes, and it doesn’t specify if the rear-ending was from cars, though cars and trucks are the likely culprits. Statistics for 2005 from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System found that rear impacts were the “most harmful event” in fatal motorcycle crashes just 3.5% of the time. Front impacts ranked first (40.3%), followed by collisions with fixed objects (26%).


California certified

Q: If I buy a used motorcycle in another state, does California require that it have at least 7,000 (or some other minimum) miles on its odometer? A friend told me a horror story about a man who bought a Harley for $22,000, only to find that he was not allowed to ride it when he brought it in state. The DMV flagged the bike, so he can never register it unless he sells it to someone outside the state, then buys it back after it reaches the mileage minimum. Can this be true?

-- Norman Williams, Elk Grove, CA

A: Yes, it could very well be true. I called up my contact at the California DMV, who referred me to a part of the agency’s website called “What You Need to Know Before Buying a Vehicle From Out-of-State.” According to the site, “If you are a California resident and acquire a new car, truck or motorcycle from another state, it must be certified to meet California smog laws in order to be registered here.

“Not all new vehicles are manufactured to be sold to California residents or businesses. Many manufacturers make vehicles to be sold in the other 49 states. These vehicles (49-State) are made with smog equipment that meets federal emission standards, but not California standards. Fifty-state or California certified vehicles are made to be sold to California residents.

“California law considers any vehicle with less than 7,500 miles on the odometer when acquired by a California resident or business to be a new vehicle. This holds true whether or not the vehicle has been registered in another state. If you acquire a new vehicle from another state, you may not subsequently drive it to accumulate over more than 7,500 miles to circumvent the law. DMV cannot accept an application to register the vehicle, and you cannot register or operate the vehicle in California.”

Here’s the DMV link with all the info.