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National report shows increased motorcycle fatalities

Massachusetts motorcyclists may be interested in data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The statistics from a 2012 report show a higher number of motorcycle fatalities and injuries when compared with the previous year.

Out of the 4,957 motorcyclist deaths in 2012, 52 percent were the result of the motorcycle colliding with another vehicle. Seventy-five percent of the motorcyclists hit the vehicle in front of them. In 41 percent of fatal two-vehicle accidents, the other vehicles were turning left. Motorcyclists hit stationary objects in 22 percent of fatal crashes, whereas 18 percent of fatalities in passenger cars were due to the same cause.

The number of fatal motorcycle crashes in 2012 was higher than that recorded in 2011 by 7 percent, and motorcyclist injuries had increased by 15 percent. Even though motorcycles account for 3 percent of registered motor vehicles and less than 1 percent of all miles traveled, bikers in 2012 had over a 26 times greater incidence of dying in a crash. Nationwide, of all fatal accidents involving motorcycles in 2012, 34 percent of the motorcyclists were speeding. This compares to 22 percent of passenger car drivers.

Helmets are required by state law in Massachusetts. Of the 51 motorcyclists killed in the state in 2012, 93 percent were wearing helmets. Seven percent of bikers who died were not wearing helmets.

Motorcycle accidents often occur because the other driver did not see the biker. Fatalities and serious injuries result from motorcyclists' vulnerability to negligent drivers. The family of a motorcyclist killed by a negligent driver may face end-of-life expenses as well as the lost financial support of the household. An attorney may assist by reviewing the accident data and build a strong wrongful death suit for the family.

Source: NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, "Traffic Safety Facts Motorcycles", October 11, 2014

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