What steps can riders take to prevent motorcycle wrecks? What actions are most effective at improving rider safety? Riders who want to avoid injury or death must be proactive. Staying sober, wearing a helmet, adjusting riding behaviors, and maintaining their motorcycle are practical steps that can protect them on the road.
Declining Motorcyclist Deaths Nationwide
Nationwide, 4,985 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018. This was a 5% decrease from 2017. However, it still means that nearly 1 in every seven traffic fatalities is a motorcyclist. Furthermore, the rate of non-fatal injuries remains high. From 2009 to 2016, the number of motorcyclists injured in accidents rose from 82,000 to 88,000.
The Influence of Location, Weather, and Light
In 2017, 60% of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred on urban roads. A total of 35% occurred at intersections, and 38% occurred after dark. Surprisingly, 97% occurred on clear/cloudy days where the road was unobscured as opposed to just 1% when fog, or 2% when rain was present. Non-interstate principal arterial roads were the most dangerous. 30% of fatal motorcycle accidents occurred on these arterials.
By comparison, 23% occurred on non-interstate minor arterials, 19% on non-interstate collectors, 9% on interstates, and just 5% on non-interstate freeways or expressways. Looking deeper into the data, it shows that road congestion and traveling speed are more significant risk factors than low light or weather conditions.
Reducing the Risk
Motorcyclists can reduce their accident risk by slowing down. 32% of fatal accidents in 2017 involved speeding riders. Further, 23% of fatal accidents involved riders striking fixed objects. These accidents occurred when riders drove too fast for conditions, were distracted, or had poorly maintained braking systems that prevented them from stopping in time.
It is also vital to watch out for front-end collisions. A full 75% of all motorcycle wrecks in 2017 were head-on collisions. Many of these occurred when the rider or motor vehicle driver performed a left-turn at an intersection. Closely monitoring driver behavior, slowing down at intersections, and not attempting illegal turns can greatly reduce the risk of a front-end impact.
Motorcycle operators should also closely monitor their alcohol consumption. Of the 4,885 cyclists who died in 2017, 28% had a BAC of .08 g/dL. By comparison, the fatality rate for passenger vehicle drivers was 21%, and light-truck drivers at 20%.
Finally, helmets most definitely save lives. The NHTSA estimates that 1,872 motorcyclists survived their crash in 2017 because they were wearing a helmet. A further 749 could have survived if they had worn their helmet.
Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. It is our pleasure to schedule a free consultation with you to discuss the details of motorcycle wrecks in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. Day or night, holidays or weekends, we are available to answer your questions. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.