Most people understand that riding a motorcycle doesn’t come without some danger. The sheer lack of physical protection means that the risk of something bad happening is greater than when traveling in passenger vehicles. Motorcycles are much smaller, weigh much less, don’t have seat belts, airbags or a whole host of other crucial safety features. Despite all these potential drawbacks, motorcycles continue to sell at a brisk pace and, according to experts, the number of motorcyclists continues to increase.
Though the motorcycle manufacturing business may be doing well, the same cannot always be said for the riders. Recent statistics released by the Governors Highway Safety Association indicate that riding a motorcycle has become even more dangerous in recent years, with the number of deaths tied to motorcycle crashes rising by double digits. The latest data shows that slightly more than 5,000 people were killed on motorcycles in 2015, an increase of approximately 10 percent over 2014 numbers.
Putting that into a bit of context, that means that slightly less than 500 more motorcyclists were killed in accidents in 2015 than in the prior year. That’s 500 families that suffered a traumatic loss due to largely preventable accidents. Safety experts say things like the repeal of state helmet laws, an increase in distracted driving, increased speed limits and increases in drug or alcohol use could all be partially responsible for the rise in motorcycle fatalities.
The latest numbers indicate that 2015 will mark only the third year that motorcycle fatalities exceeded 5,000. The last time so many people died in motorcycle wrecks was in 2008. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2015 the number of fatalities increased in the majority of states, rising in 31 states, falling in 16 and remaining at or near the same in three. Given the latest figures, experts say that riding a motorcycle is now, on a per mile basis, vastly more dangerous than riding in a car. In fact, motorcycle riders are 26 times more likely than those in passenger vehicle to die.
Though the numbers are bad, the GHSA says all is not hopeless. In fact, changes can be made that have big impacts on reducing motorcycle fatalities. The single best thing lawmakers could do to address the rising death rates is to pass helmet laws in every state. Currently, only 19 states require motorcyclists to wear helmets, meaning that 31 others are missing a huge opportunity to save lives.
If you have been injured in a Mississippi car, motorcycle or tractor-trailer accident and think you may have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.