May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Motorcycle-related deaths have risen significantly since 2000. This is not surprising, given that motorcycle ownership is at an all-time high. At Fetterman & Associates, we know that all too often, motorcyclists are on the losing end of a motorcycle/car crash. We remind drivers to start seeing motorcycles!
Motorcycle Crash Statistics
In 2015 alone, almost 5,000 motorcycle riders and passengers were killed in crashes. Furthermore, 88,000 suffered nonfatal injuries. While motorcycles only make up 3 % of registered vehicles, motorcyclists account for 14 % of all traffic fatalities in the United States.In 2015, speeding was a factor in about a third of motorcycle crash fatalities. In 2014, alcohol impairment was a factor in almost a third of all fatalities in motorcycle cases.
Car Drivers Don’t See Motorcycles
Most of the time, when motorcycles and cars collide, the driver of the car is the one violating the motorcyclist’s right of way, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA). Some of the factors cited for motor vehicle drivers overlooking motorcycles include:
- Because motorcyclists make up a relatively small portion of the drivers on the road, motor vehicle drivers aren’t used to seeing them;
- Motorcycles are smaller targets, and may be obscured more easily;
- Drivers don’t anticipate the movement of motorcyclists; and
- Drivers of cars can be distracted due to texting, talking with passengers, or other distracted driving conduct.
Of note, studies show that people who ride motorcycles, as well as people who have family and close friends who ride, are less likely to get into accidents with motorcyclists. Scientists believe this is because these motorists have a heightened awareness of the dangers their loved ones’ face. This fact suggests all motorists could be trained to increase their awareness of motorcycles.
Re-Entry Riders are at Risk
“Re-Entry Riders,” those who ride motorcycles in the 20s and have decided to begin riding again in their late 40s to 60s may find additional challenges. The traffic patterns have increased in the past 20 to 40 years. There are more distracted drivers on the road. These factors may contribute to the fact riders 50 years of age and older comprised 35 % of all motorcycle fatalities in 2015. Returning to motorcycle riding is not “just like riding a bike.” Old skills must be re-learned, and riders must also be committed to learning new skills each time they ride. A good motorcyclist recognizes there is always room for improvement and learning opportunities.
If You Have Been Injured
As a motorcyclist, if you have been injured in a crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. This could include lost wages, past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and even replacement of your motorcycle, depending on the circumstances of your accident. However, there is a time limit on filing a claim. Don’t wait and wonder. Contact Fetterman & Associates to discuss your accident, your injuries, and your plans for the future. The call is free. We meet with potential clients at no cost. Additionally, we don’t charge a fee unless we win your case. You have nothing to lose. Call us today.