Fatal motorcycle accidents on the rise

Contributing factors include drunk driving and speeding.

Motorcycles offer an entertaining and efficient means of transportation. The Federal Highway Administration reports that those who choose this method of transportation have grown in recent years. The most current data shows that there were almost 9 million private and commercial motorcycle riders on the nation's roadways in 2015. This number is up from a reported 8 million riders in 2009.

Unfortunately, this is not the only statistic tied to motorcycles that is on the rise. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the rate of fatal motorcycle accidents is also growing. Whether due to a mistake by another driver on the road or a miscalculation on the rider's part, motorcycle accidents often result in more serious injuries than those suffered by car accident victims. Motorcycles lack the same safety mechanisms present in standard passenger vehicles and put the rider at a greater risk for injury in the event of an accident. As such, riders can benefit from a basic understanding of the reason for the increase in accidents. This information can help riders avoid similar accidents and better ensure a safe ride.

How common are motorcycle accidents?

The most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there were 4,976 fatalities due to motorcycle accidents in 2015. This number was up 8.3 percent over statistics reported from 2014. An additional 88,000 individuals were injured due to motorcycle accidents.

What is causing these accidents?

The Insurance Information Institute (III) discussed some of the contributing factors in these accidents. According to the organization, top causes include:

  • Drunk driving. The III reports that 27 percent of motorcyclists who were fatally injured in a motorcycle accident had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or higher. This rate is over the legal limit in the state, making these accidents officially the result of drunk driving. The percentage of accidents attributed to drunk driving is higher than that found for both passenger car drivers and truck drivers in similar accidents.
  • Speeding. 33 percent of these accidents were also connected to speeding.
  • Licensing. Almost 25 percent of these accidents involved a rider that did not have proper licensure to operate the motorcycle.

The last factor, licensing, is important to note for a number of reasons. In order to get a motorcycle license in Massachusetts a rider must meet certain criteria. One of these is the completion of an approved motorcycle safety course or passing a Registry of Motor Vehicles road test. Both options are designed to ensure that those who are operating motorcycles in the state are doing so safely.

What if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?

Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents can happen to anyone - even those who take proper precautions. If you or a loved one is injured in a motorcycle crash and believe the accident is the result of another's negligent or reckless actions you may be able to hold that person accountable through a personal injury lawsuit. This can lead to monetary awards to help cover the costs connected to the accident.