Motorcycle Accidents: Understanding 4 Risk Factors

Due to their lower stability and lack of exterior protection, motorcycles are more dangerous than cars. This danger is particularly true if you find yourself involved in a collision. There were over 5,000 nationwide accidents involving motorcycles in 2016, which was more than a five percent increase from the previous year.

In the event of a crash, bikers are far more likely to suffer serious injuries — lost limbs and possibly even fatal injuries. In fact, based on per miles traveled, it is roughly 28 times more likely for a motorcyclist to die in a collision than an individual in a motor vehicle. Motorcyclists can minimize the risk of injury and death by familiarizing themselves with the various factors at play for motorcycle accidents.

Risk Factor #1: Helmets

By far, the most effective way to save the lives of motorcyclists is a universal helmet law, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Thankfully, Maryland has a universal helmet law, which requires that all motorcyclists — regardless of their age — wear a DOT-approved helmet when operating a motorcycle.

According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helmets can reduce the risk of suffering a head injury by 69 percent and death by 37 percent. In 2016, helmets saved over 1,800 lives, and if helmets had been worn by all motorcyclists, over 800 more lives could have been saved according to the CDC.

However, the importance that motorcyclists make sure they are purchasing DOT-approved helmets cannot be overstated. Novelty helmets are designed for looks and are not designed to truly protect your head. If you’re involved in a crash wearing a novelty helmet instead of a DOT-approved, full-face helmet, you are nearly twice as likely to suffer fatal injuries.

Risk Factor #2: Age

Age can play a significant factor in whether a motorcyclist gets into a collision. From the 1970s to the mid-2000s, bikers under 29 years of age were involved in the most accidents.

However, over the past couple of decades, things have taken a turn. The most popular age group to be involved in motorcycle accidents and suffer fatal injuries, as a result, is 50+. In fact, in 2016, more than one-third of motorcyclist deaths involved those who were at least 50 years of age.

Risk Factor #3: Alcohol

Similar to individuals operating a car, a motorcyclist’s ability to operate his or her motorcycle safely is impaired when he or she has been consuming alcohol. In 2017, 28 percent of motorcyclists who suffered fatal injuries were tested and had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or higher than the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The most common time of day during 2017 for these deaths occurred during the nighttime hours at 49 percent.

Risk Factor #4: Unlicensed Drivers

When motorcyclists have failed to undergo the proper testing, training, and receive the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license to operate a motorcycle or receive a motorcycle license, the lives of all drivers and passengers on the roads are put at risk.

In 2016, nearly 30 percent of motorcyclists who were fatally injured in motorcycle accidents were operating the bike without a valid license. From 2006 to 2017, the number of motorcyclists who were operating motorcycles without a valid license was always significantly higher than motorcyclists who were operating a motorcycle with a valid license.

While there are other risks that may increase a motorcyclist’s risk of injury or death, these four are the most common. By avoiding these four risk factors, you may reduce the risk of getting involved in an accident. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, these factors may play a significant role in helping to establish fault and liability for your case.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident in Maryland and suffered serious injuries or if your loved one has suffered fatal injuries in a motorcycle collision, contact us at The Jaklitsch Law Group, voted the #1 Personal Injury Trial Law Firm in the entire country.


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