Statistics Show Nationwide Increase in Motorcycle Fatalities in 2015 and Slight Decrease in Pennsylvania
Motorcyclists may be the minority in terms of vehicles on the road, but the number of catastrophic or fatal accidents among motorcyclists is high, and rising. Rider error accounts for some accidents, but others are caused by careless vehicle drivers inexperienced with sharing the road with motorcycles. In many cases, motorists fail to see a motorcyclist.
As compared to 2014, motorcyclist fatalities increased by 10 percent in 2015, based on data provided to the Governors Highway Safety Association by the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Preliminary data provided by states to the Governors Highway Safety Association and compiled in a report on Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by state indicates that while 2014 saw about 4,585 fatal motorcycle accidents, that number increased to 5,010 in 2015. While total fatalities increased, some states, including Pennsylvania, saw a decrease in the total number of fatal motorcycle accidents. Pennsylvania reported a decrease of 4% in fatal motorcycle accidents.
Factors Contributing to Changes in Motorcycle Fatalities
Factors that contributed to the increase in fatalities nationwide include a longer riding season and less expensive gasoline. Due to the drier and warmer weather in 2015, more motorcyclists remained on the road for a longer period of time. Additionally, the increase in fatalities in urban environments indicates that more people are riding motorcycles in these environments.
The Governors Highway Safety Association report stated that in order to reduce motorcycle crashes and fatalities, motorcyclists must wear helmets that meet federal safety standards. According to the report, motorcycle helmets decrease the risk of dying in a collision by 37%. Currently, 19 states plus the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws, and 28 require only those younger than a certain age to use helmets. Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire do not have helmet requirements. The report indicated that restoring helmet use laws in all states would have the largest impact on rider safety.
In addition to documenting the trend of an increase in fatalities, many states reported that motorcyclists who were fatally injured in traffic crashes were often middle-aged. Some states suggested that older riders may have rusty skills, and the power of today’s motorcycles creates an additional risk. States noted that most of the motorcyclists were male, and in Pennsylvania, more women registered and attended training courses in 2015.
Consult an Attorney Following a Pennsylvania Motorcycle Accident
Motorcycling remains a risky form of transportation when compared with other modes, such as riding in a car. The exposure of the rider and the instability posed by a two-wheeled vehicle make riding a motorcycle more challenging than driving a car. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries or a fatality in a motorcycle accident, the motorcycle accident attorneys at Needle Law Firm can help you understand your legal rights and advocate on your behalf. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing injured motorcyclists. Contact our office for a complimentary consultation by calling (570) 344-1266 or contacting us online.