Checking the Facts on Motorcycle Accidents

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motorcycle accidents

You are riding the open road on your motorcycle. It’s exhilarating, it’s freeing and it’s exciting. It’s a rush, it’s romantic . . . and it is very dangerous.  

The incredible highs of riding in the U.S. also come with some sobering lows. Indeed, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new report recently, with data up to 2017, on motorcycle accidents and injuries.  

In the aggregate, the report confirms what most people already know about motorcycle riding. It is a dangerous activity. Because a rider is far more exposed on a motorcycle when compared to someone in a car, injuries from an accident are more frequent and more severe. Moreover, the report indicates that wearing a helmet, which is mandatory in many states, can minimize head injuries from a crash.

In this article, we will cover the statistics related to motorcycle accidents nationwide and discuss some ways in which you could minimize serious injury when riding your motorcycle.

If you are injured in an accident, however, or if you have additional questions after reading this article, we welcome you to contact the seasoned personal injury attorneys at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.  

We are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation in personal injury matters. Call us today at 888-899-8161 or schedule a free personal injury consult online with our online contact form. Remember, you pay no legal fee unless you receive compensation for your injuries.  

Results of the NHTSA Motorcycle Traffic Safety Report 

Overall, the report indicates that motorcyclist fatalities ticked down slightly, but the alcohol plays a significant role in motorcycle accidents overall. Here is a breakdown of some of the key findings of the report:

1. Increased Rider Fatalities. In 2017, there were 5,172 cyclists killed – a decrease of 3 percent from the 5,337 cyclists killed in 2016.
2. More Frequent Rider Fatalities. Per vehicle miles traveled in 2017, motorcyclist fatalities occurred nearly 27 times more frequently than passenger car occupant fatalities in traffic accidents.
3. Driving Without Rider License. Of the motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes in 2017, 29% of them were riding without a valid motorcycle license.
4. Alcohol-Impairment Highest with Motorcycles. One-quarter of all motorcycle riders who were involved in fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired at the time of the accident. That is the highest percentage when compared to drivers of other vehicles. Further, 43% of motorcyclists who died in a single-vehicle crash in 2017 were alcohol-impaired.
5. Alcohol-Impairment Increases at Night. Motorcyclists who were killed in accidents during the evening were three times more likely to be alcohol-impaired than those killed during the day.
6. Use of Helmets Saves Lives. NHTSA estimates that helmets saved 1,872 motorcyclists’ lives in 2017 and that 749 more could have been saved if all motorcyclists wore helmets.

The statistics above paint a fairly grim picture of motorcycle riding in the U.S. In essence, motorcycle riders are far more likely to be killed in a crash with another vehicle. Of those motorcyclists killed, about one in four motorcyclists did not have a valid motorcycle license and were alcohol-impaired. 

In addition, motorcycle riders tend to speed more often than drivers of other vehicles. In 2017, 32% of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 18% for passenger car drivers, 14% for light-truck drivers, and 7% for large truck drivers.  

Finally, when looking at the previous negative driving records of those involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2017, motorcycle riders top the charts in every category. More motorcycle riders had (i) DWI convictions, (ii) speeding convictions, and (iii) suspensions or revocations of license than any other type of vehicle.  

Motorcycles Get a Bad Reputation – What Can You Do?

Given that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash, and 6 times more likely to be injured compared to those in passenger vehicles, let’s discuss some ways to stay safe while enjoying the open road.  

1. Be sure you are licensed. Controlling a motorcycle is a whole different skill set compared to driving a car. All states require a motorcycle license endorsement as a supplement to your driver’s license. Most states mandate a written test and an on-cycle skills test.
2. Practice with a motorcycle that is new to you before hitting the road. Every motorcycle varies on handling and responsiveness. Take a little time to learn the idiosyncrasies of a bike that is new to you, in a controlled environment.
3. Brief Pre-Ride Check. It can’t hurt before every ride to check the tire pressure, tread depth, brakes, headlights, and signals, and fluid levels. Also, look underneath for any oil or gas leaks.
4. Wear Protection. Wear a Department of Transportation approved helmet, and keep arms and legs covered when riding your motorcycle.
5. Drive Carefully. Experienced riders don’t take risks. It is possible to enjoy your bike on the open road while still following the rules. Also, increase your visibility as much as possible when riding, given that the majority of multi-vehicle motorcycle crashes generally occur because other drivers did not see the motorcyclist.
6. Of course, lay off the alcohol if you are riding. As the report above suggests, chances of catastrophic injuries go up dramatically if a motorcyclist is alcohol-impaired.

We Invite You to Call Crary Buchanan

Being injured in a motorcycle accident can leave you feeling hopeless and overwhelmed, but our lawyers at Crary Buchanan are here to help you recover money to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for your pain and suffering. 

After an accident, people usually want to get back on their feet and will often settle too early for amounts that are significantly lower than what they deserve. With Crary Buchanan, you do not have to face this personal injury challenge alone. Talk to our team today. We want to hear from you, and we want the best for you. Call us today at 888-899-8161 or schedule a free personal injury consult online with our online contact form. Remember, you pay no legal fee unless you receive compensation for your injuries.