Think back to when you were a child. You knew (or your parents should have told you) that you needed to exercise additional care and caution when riding your bike. This was because, of course, a bicycle and its rider was no match for the driver of a car in the event of a collision. Whereas you as a young bicyclist might suffer serious injuries, the car and its occupants would often escape unscathed. The same principle holds true with motorcycles: In a motorcycle crash, the motorcyclist is no match for a car or truck and its occupants. This can mean that while drivers of cars and trucks walk away unharmed from a motorcycle accident, the motorcyclist him- or herself suffers fatal injuries.
Motorcycle Accident Fatalities Statistics
It should not be a surprise that motorcyclists are more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the occupants of trucks or passenger vehicles. In fact, the federal government approximates that motorcyclists are 27 times more likely to die in a crash than passenger vehicle occupants.
Other statistics maintained by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show that:
- Helmet use can decrease the risk of motorcycle fatalities by about 37 percent and can decrease the risk of traumatic brain injuries by about 67 percent;
- Despite the above statistics, only 19 states (along with the District of Columbia) have passed laws that require motorcyclists to wear helmets;
- In 2014, over 4,200 motorcyclists died on the road in motorcycle crashes (compared with over 21,000 occupants of passenger vehicles);
- Motorcyclists who are male and who are either 29 years of age or under or 50 years of age or older are most likely to be killed in a motorcycle crash;
- Males account for approximately 92 percent of all motorcyclists killed in crashes;
- Most motorcyclists are killed in crashes that occur between the hours of 3 p.m. and midnight;
- Approximately 55 percent of motorcycle crashes occur in urban areas (a majority of them on major roads other than interstates); approximately 44 percent of motorcycle fatalities take place in rural areas;
- About 2,300 multiple-vehicle motorcycle crashes that result in at least one death – most often to the motorcyclist – involve motorcycle drivers with a blood or breath alcohol of at least 0.08 or greater.
As one can see, riding a motorcycle is not a safe activity. However, there are actions motorcyclists can take to prevent themselves from being fatally injured. This includes wearing a helmet and not riding after consuming alcohol. In addition, motorcyclists should exercise additional care when riding their motorcycle late in the afternoon and in the evening.
Causes of Motorcycle Accident Fatalities
Many motorcycle accident fatalities could be prevented if other drivers exercised due care when driving and operating their vehicles around motorcyclists.
Unfortunately, not all drivers do this. Motorcyclists can be killed in accidents that are the result of:
- Distracted driving, where the driver’s attention is diverted from the road and the driver fails to see the motorcyclist in time;
- Drunk driving, in which the driver’s ability to safely operate his or her car around a motorcyclist (or any other vehicle operator) is impaired;
- Drowsy driving, where the driver of a car has not obtained sufficient rest and the driver falls asleep or doses off at the wheel;
- Reckless driving, in which the driver of a car or truck disobeys traffic laws or the rules of the road.
Once a motorcycle crash occurs, the motorcyclist may not be killed immediately but rather may suffer life-threatening injuries. If emergency medical care is not obtained quickly, the motorcyclist may succumb to his or her injuries. For this reason, it is imperative that a motorcyclist summon emergency medical help immediately following an injury. If the motorcyclist is unable to do so, this important duty falls upon an occupant of the other motor vehicle involved and/or any witnesses or bystanders who may be present at the scene.
Legal Counsel for Surviving Family Members After a Motorcycle Accident Fatality
Motorcyclists who are killed in a crash often leave behind stunned and grieving family members. Oftentimes these loved ones are ill-prepared to take the steps necessary to wind up the deceased motorcyclist’s affairs while asserting their own legal rights and the rights of the decedent against the party who caused the crash. The guidance and representation of a motorcycle fatality crash attorney like attorney Ken Stern of Stern Law, PLLC is extremely valuable during this time. Stern Law, PLLC will assist the surviving family members in understanding the cause of the motorcycle crash as well as what legal rights the decedent and the family members may have that can be raised. If another motorist caused the fatality crash because he or she was driving carelessly, monetary compensation may be available to assist the surviving family members in picking up the pieces of their lives and moving forward with financial security. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (844) 808-7529 and learn how Ken Stern can help you begin the recovery process.