While operating both types of vehicles is associated with risks, the death rates differ tremendously. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2019, the fatality rate for motorcyclists was 29 times higher than for passenger car occupants.
The main reason for such a difference is the lack of high-quality protection for motorcyclists and pillion riders. While passenger cars are designed to withstand serious accidents, motorcycles leave the occupants vulnerable.
If your loved one’s motorcycle accident resulted in a fatality, you need the assistance of a personal injury attorney. Our law firm has helped hundreds of people and their families recover damages and achieve justice. For more information, please contact us 24/7.
Common causes of motorcycle and car accidents that you can include as a basis for your claim
According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2019, motorcycle deaths accounted for 14% of all motor vehicle crash deaths.
While motorcycle and car death rates vary significantly, the causes of accidents are surprisingly similar. They include:
Driving under influence slows the driver’s reaction time, affects coordination, reduces concentration, and inhibits judgment. All the above leads to serious and often fatal accidents.
In the United States, drunk driving crashes take away 28 lives per day. That’s more than one person per hour.
According to NHTSA, in 2019 motorcyclists had a higher percentage of alcohol issues than drivers of other vehicle types (29% for motorcyclists vs 20% of passenger cars).
Since motorcycle riders aren’t protected by airbags, a metal cage, and seatbelts (in fact, seatbelts pose an additional danger to motorcyclists), they are more likely to die in a drunk driving accident.
According to CDC, about 3,000 people die in distracted driving accidents every year. Main distractions include smartphones, passenger activities, eating/drinking/smoking, and daydreaming. Motorcyclists also have to deal with weather fluctuations and pests.
No matter how focused the motorcyclist is, it can be impossible to avoid an accident with a distracted passenger car driver. The car driver may not even get hurt in such a crash while a motorist could sustain fatal injuries.
Motorcycles can achieve high speeds. An average motorcycle can go up to 165 mph. This causes many riders to lose track of their actions and ignore the speed limit. Since it’s hard for car drivers to judge the speed of a motorcycle, accidents occur frequently.
Just like motorists, motorcyclists can lose full control of the vehicle at high speeds, thus causing serious crashes.
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Motorcycles are proven to be less safe than other motor vehicles
The key reason why motorcycle crash fatalities are more common than passenger car crash fatalities is the lack of safety equipment. Besides the metal cage to keep them safe, passenger car occupants can take advantage of seatbelts and airbags. According to NHTSA, national seat belt use in 2020 was 90.3%.
The protection for motorcyclists involves wearing a helmet and being attentive on the road. These riders don’t have seatbelts, airbags, and bumpers to minimize damage.
Even though the helmet offers significant protection, many riders ignore them. In fact, some states don’t have universal helmet laws. In states without such laws, 57% of motorcyclists killed in 2019 weren’t wearing a helmet. In states with universal helmet laws, only 9% of fatally injured riders didn’t have a helmet.
According to the IIHS, the helmet use in states without the universal helmet law is only 71%, as compared to 99% in states with these laws.
How motorcycle fatality rates have changed over the past decade
The number of motorcycle fatalities has been growing over the years. According to motorcycle crash statistics collected by Insurance Information Institute, in 2010, 4,518 motorcycle accidents had a lethal outcome. In 2019, the numbers went up to 5,014 deaths.
While the number of motorcycles on the road goes up, the reasons for motorcycle accidents stay the same. From drunk driving to distractions, more and more motorcyclists are losing lives on the road.
When it comes to other vehicles, the numbers are higher, but only because there are more cars on the roads than motorcycles. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), 35, 332 passenger car occupants (drivers and passengers) died in 2010. In 2019, the number went up to 30,107 deaths.
How to prevent motorcycle accidents
Since the death rate in motorcycle accidents is going up, it’s imperative to implement preventive measures. It’s much easier to prevent an accident than to deal with its consequences.
The chances of a motorcyclist dying in an accident are extremely high. However, with the right approach to safety, it’s possible to keep the numbers down. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Always wear a full-face helmet even if the state law doesn’t require it.
- Buy a bike that suits your needs, skills, and capabilities.
- Wear protective gear like an abrasion-resistant jacket and durable jeans.
- Try to avoid riding in bad weather since it reduces visibility and traction.
- Always stay sober.
- Don’t ride a bike if you are tired since fatigue reduces your concentration.
While you can’t control what other people do on the road, you can drive defensively. This can keep the chances of a fatal accident down.
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When you need an attorney, contact Pacific West Injury Law
No matter how careful you ride, accidents happen. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, you need a personal injury lawyer. In case a loved one’s motorcycle accident ended in a fatality, you may be entitled to compensation.
At Pacific West Injury Law, we have a team of attorneys, who specialize in motorcycle accidents and fatalities. They can help navigate your case and fight for a fair outcome. Even if you think that the accident was the rider’s fault, you may still get compensated. For more information, please contact us at any convenient time.