The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released some alarming statistics concerning motorcycle accidents. An injury attorney is not typically the first thought after an accident, but a qualified lawyer may be helpful in ensuring the rider’s legal rights are upheld. In 2011, nearly 3 percent of all registered road vehicles were bikes, including scooters, mopeds, mini bikes, and off-roaders. The number of riders has drastically increased in recent years, and that translates to more bike related accidents.
According to the NHTSA, in 2011, there were 4,612 deaths associated with bikes; that number is up two percent from the previous year. Of those fatalities, almost half involved colliding with another motorized vehicle; only two percent involved collisions from behind. Thirty five percent of all fatalities were a direct result of the rider speeding, compared to only twenty two percent for cars and roughly nineteen percent for trucks. A motorcyclist is thirty times more likely to be in a fatal accident than a driver or passenger in a car.
Bike riders with 500 to 1000cc engines make up thirty nine percent of all deaths. Riders over the age of 40 represent seventy five percent of all fatalities with the average age of death being 42 years old. In the US, Texas is the state with the most bike related fatalities, followed by Florida and California.
A disturbing fact published by NHTSA shows forty two percent of riders involved in a single vehicle accident had a BAC or blood alcohol level of .8g/dL or higher. Those with high BAC were three times more likely to be involved in an accident at night, and more likely to be involved in a fatal accident or suffer a motorcycle injury. An attorney can be consulted should an accident or death occur.
It is alarming to learn that over forty percent of riders involved in an accident were not wearing a DOT approved helmet. But the NHTSA states helmets saved 1,617 lives in 2011. An estimated 700 other lives would have potentially been saved with the use of a helmet. As of 2012, nineteen states had universal helmet laws, twenty eight states only had partial helmet laws, and a surprising three states did not have any laws regarding helmet use. Riders may not be legally obligated to wear protective headgear, but statistics show that they save hundreds of lives every year.
Along with overwhelming medical costs comes the social cost of the accident. In fact, only about six percent of the cost is associated with medical fees. Work loss accounts for almost thirty percent, and reduced quality of life accounts for sixty three percent. According to the NHTSA, bike accidents cost roughly $19 billion in lost wages every year as a result of bike accidents. That is roughly $211,000 per person that has suffered a motorcycle injury.
An attorney can advise you of your rights and any possible recourse if you have been hurt or a family member has died due to a bike accident.