In 2015, approximately 8.6 million motorcycles were registered in the U.S. That same year, motorcycle riders suffered 88,000 reported injuries, and 5,029 fatalities were reported. When you’re on a motorcycle, there is very little protecting you from serious injury during a crash. Cars have a harder time seeing you. If there’s a crash, the clothing and helmet you wear are the only protection you have between the ground and other solid surfaces. Here are five shocking statistics about motorcycles and motorcycle accidents.
#5 – 35% of Riders Don’t Use a Helmet
Since 2000, protective helmet use has declined. In that year 7 out of 10 riders wore a motorcycle helmet. In 2016 and 2017, 65% of motorcycle drivers have worn a helmet. The year with the lowest usage was 2005 when only 48% wore one. This is shocking as the NHTSA and General Accounting Office report that riders wearing a helmet decrease the chances of dying in a crash by more than 70 percent.
Helmet usage is essential to your safety when riding a motorcycle. That helmet has to meet safety criteria and needs to be certified for safety. Many riders purchase novelty helmets thinking it will protect them from traumatic brain injury in a crash. That’s not the case.
If possible, look for helmets that have been certified by the Snell Memorial Foundation. While it’s not required of a helmet company, Snell Memorial Foundation tests look at:
- How well a helmet performs when it hits different types of surfaces at varying speeds.
- How much force is needed to damage the helmet’s outer shell?
- If the helmet stays in place when it hits the ground or another surface.
- If the helmet’s jaw piece stays in place when it’s impacted.
- If the visor/face shield remains intact when an air pellet is fired at the visor from different distances.
Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) helmets must pass similar tests in order to gain the FMVSS218 certification. The difference is the levels at which pass/fail criteria are met. Snell requires helmets to withstand more force than the D.O.T. does. If your helmet doesn’t have certification from either of these agencies, your helmet is not safe enough.
After dropping your helmet or being in a crash, you need a new helmet. It’s recommended that you replace your motorcycle helmet at least every five years. This is to avoid normal wear and tear that can reduce a helmet’s ability to protect you. It’s also ideal as helmets continue to improve thanks to new safety features and technological advancements.
#4 – The Majority of Accidents Happen Between 3 and 9 p.m.
Just under 22% of fatal motorcycle accidents take place between 6 and 9 p.m. It’s dusk or dark at those hours, which can make motorcycles harder to see. Alcohol usage is also a reason for more crashes and fatalities at night.
For non-fatal motorcycle accidents, the hours of 3 to 6 p.m. are the riskiest with 23.1% of all accidents taking place. Busier roadways during rush hour and glare from the setting sun can impact driving in the late afternoon.
#3 – Most Crashes Occur in Intersections or on Curves
The Motorcycle Safety Foundation asked 100 motorcycle riders to record their mileage driven and accidents that occurred over a period of 2 months to 2 years. Of those 100 riders, 30 of the motorcycle accidents occurred on a curve. In multi-vehicle crashes, 37 of them involved being rear-ended.
Intersections and curves are the most common site for a motorcycle accident. A car coming around a curve that’s over the line is one issue. Motorcycles are better off avoiding being near the center of the lane when approaching and going around a curve.
Intersections are also problematic. Drivers may not notice you and start to make a turn in front of you. Make sure you’re visible to the car ahead of you by being in a visible location and not in a blind spot. Bright colors and reflective clothing will improve your visibility.
#2 – Older Riders Are More Likely to Be in a Fatal Motorcycle Accident
You might think of motorcycle accidents as being most common in younger riders. That’s not the case. Of the 4,976 fatalities in 2016, 36% of them were 50 or older. Riders 29 or younger were the second highest group and accounted for 29% of fatal accidents.
One belief is that older riders are more likely to have other health issues that increase the risk of complications following a motorcycle crash. Older riders are more likely to have high blood pressure, thinner bones related to aging, and less muscle mass.
#1 – Lower Extremities Are the Most Common Body Injury After a Motorcycle Crash
Whether a crash involving a motorcycle involves another vehicle or not, injuries to the lower extremities (legs, knees, feet, and ankles) are the most common area of injury. The upper extremities and neck take second and third place.
We hope you’re never in a motorcycle crash, but if you are, hire an experienced personal injury attorney. If the accident was the result of another driver’s error or poor road conditions that should have been repaired, KJT Law Group can help you get compensation for your motorcycle repairs or replacement and medical bills. Contact us for a free case evaluation today!