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Throughout the United States, hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists have lost their lives in traffic crashes. When comparing automobiles with motorcycles, it is obvious that motorcycles provide far less protection than automobiles when a collision occurs. Nevertheless, many motorcyclists find riding to be beneficial and enjoyable for a variety of reasons.

Safety organizations, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), have monitored the statistics related to motorcycle-related accident injuries and fatalities for many years. The data is released with hopes of raising awareness about motorcycle accidents, the fatalities stemming from those accidents and the risks factors leading to motorcycle crashes. The motorcycle accident attorneys at McGahren, Gaskill & York want all riders to stay safe. If you or someone you love has been hurt, do not hesitate to call our office to get the help you need to handle your case.

Motorcycle Accident Trends and Stats

According to the most recent data from the IIHS, almost 4,300 motorcyclists in the U.S. lost their lives in collisions in 2014. As a matter of fact, of all deaths resulting from automobile crashes in 2014, 13 percent of those were motorcycle deaths. The Institute noted an increase in motorcycle fatalities beginning in the late 1990s and unfortunately, such accidents were trending upward between 2010 and 2012 prior to declining in 2013 and 2014.

Another trend noted by the IIHS in 2014 was that 42 percent of motorcycle fatalities that occurred were single-vehicle crashes, while 58 percent were multiple-vehicle collisions.  Additionally, Institute researchers found that the number of fatally-injured riders who were 50 years of age and older started to increase from the 1980s (with only 3 percent), to 13 percent in 1997 and 36 percent in 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, fatally-injured riders under 30 years of age decreased to 30 percent, which is significantly down from 80 percent in the mid-1970s.

Researchers also found that, of the motorcycle fatalities that occurred in 2014, 30 percent of those drivers had blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) either at or above the legal limit of .08 percent, while 19 percent had a BAC at or greater than .15 percent.

A Look at Some Georgia-Specific Numbers

According to the 2012-2013 data gathered by the NHTSA, there were a little over 130 motorcycle fatalities in Georgia in 2012, which was slightly under the average of 152 deaths that occurred over the prior five years. The Administration also noted that eight of the fatalities that occurred in 2012 stemmed from the fact that the operator was not wearing a helmet. Under Georgia law, helmets are required; still, each year, the state sees numerous deaths that potentially could have been avoided had the rider been wearing a helmet. An average of almost 80 lives are saved each year in serious motorcycle accidents where the riders were wearing helmets.

The NHTSA also found that some of the causes contributing to motorcycle collisions include speeding, alcohol and negligence by automobile operators. In fact, the Administration noted that in 38 percent of the motorcycle accidents that involved multiple vehicles, the crash occurred due to the automobile operator making a left turn when the motorcyclist was either traveling straight, passing or overtaking another vehicle. In just about all the cases, the turning automobile was found to be at fault for the crashes. Additionally, most of the fatalities stemming from motorcycle crashes that occurred between 2012 and 2013 took place in Fulton County and DeKalb County, with the majority of those involving male victims between the ages of 20 and 39.

In a Motorcycle Accident? York Gaskill Can Help

The statistics are concerning, but there are ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safe when operating and/or riding as a passenger on a motorcycle. If you have sustained injuries from a motorcycle crash, or have lost a loved one in a collision, contact us today to discuss your legal rights and options.