Study of Motorcycle Accidents

Study of Motorcycle Accidents

There are many different modes of transportation, and all of them have their own risks and benefits. While there is a lot of focus on car accidents, motorcycle accidents are often overlooked. Unfortunately, these can lead to serious accidents, permanent injuries, and even death. Because of this, it is essential for everyone to understand a few basic points regarding motorcycle accidents. Some statistics on motorcycle accidents recently published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)include:

  • In 2016 alone, there were more than 4,900 people killed while riding a motorcycle.
  • This number is more than twice the number of people who were killed only twenty years ago.
  • Motorcycle accident fatalities accounted for about 10 percent to 15 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2016.
  • Close to 30 percent of motorcycle riders who were killed did not have a license to operate their motorcycle.
  • Around half of the motorcycle accidents were single-vehicle collisions while the other half involved another motor vehicle, such as a car.

These statistics help to demonstrate just how serious motorcycle accidents can be. Over the years, there have been extensive efforts to try to identify trends in motorcycle accidents so that preventative tactics can be used to save lives.

Overview: Study of Motorcycle Accidents

A recent study was published on motorcycle accidents and injury severity. The goal of the research article was to look for trends between the types of motorcycle accidents and injuries that people sustain. Based on the study of motorcycle accidents, it is important to note that crashes involving motorcycles are not just an American problem because the researchers pointed out that:

  • Almost 50 percent of the deaths on the road are suffered by people with the least amount of protection (pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and bicycle riders).
  • Motorcycle riders make up about one out of every ten road deaths in Europe.
  • They make up about one out of every seven people killed on the road in the United States.
  • Motorcycle riders make up about a third of the road traffic fatalities in Asia.

To help collect their data, the researchers conducted an extensive search of multiple electronic databases. They searched for key terms related to motorcycle accidents and collected various reports on these collisions. They reviewed the reports, including police reports, to try and find trends about the accidents themselves. Specifically, they looked for:

  • The circumstances that led to the crash, including the weather and the road conditions.
  • The type of motorcycle that was involved.
  • Information on the rider, including whether or not they had a valid license.
  • The types of injuries that were sustained.
  • The number of vehicles that were involved.
  • The impact point of the accident, if another object or vehicle was involved.
  • The overall prognosis of the injured parties.

After collecting this data, detailed statistical analyses were performed to draw statistically significant conclusions from the data sets. Some of the results from the study are discussed below.

Key Results from the Study

Overall, the researchers collected data on more than 20,000 motorcycle accidents. Some of the overall trends included:

  • Around 80 percent of the crashes the researchers looked at involved another motor vehicle.
  • About 5 percent of the collisions involved a single motorcycle without another object.
  • The remaining 15 percent of accidents involved a motorcycle colliding with a non-motor vehicle object.
  • Close to 90 percent of the fatalities resulted from motorcycles colliding with other motor vehicles.

The researchers then divided up the accidents to look at the various factors that could have played a role in the crash.

Age of the Motorcycle Riders

First, the researchers looked at how the age of the motorcycle rider impacted the severity of the accident. The researchers divided the age of the riders involved into three separate categories, which included minors (under the age of 18), adults aged 18 to 60, and elderly individuals over the age of 60. They found that those who were over the age of 60 were about 50 percent more likely to sustain a fatality if involved in a motorcycle accident. Some of the potential reasons that the researchers suggested for this include:

  • The overall physical shape that elderly individuals are in.
  • Slower reflexes in elderly individuals.
  • Changing perceptions of safe vs. unsafe conditions as people age.

Overall, the changing fatality rates across age groups are also reflective of changing experience rates, driving abilities, and physical conditioning as people age.

The Presence or Absence of Helmet Use

It is no secret that people should wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. Children are taught from an early age that wearing a helmet is a necessity on a bicycle and this is even more important when riding a bike due to higher speeds. The researchers found that:

  • Those who did not wear a helmet were at a 33 percent greater risk of dying in a motorcycle accident.
  • People riding motorcycles in states without universal helmet laws were about seven times less likely to be wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
  • Helmet use significantly decreased the risk of suffering a head, neck, or spinal cord injury.

Overall, there is a strong relationship between wearing a helmet and the behavior of the motorcycle rider. Specifically, the researchers point out that not only do helmets keep people safe, but those who wear a helmet are more likely to exhibit safe motorcycle riding behaviors.

The Role of the Other Vehicle

A significant percentage of the accidents analyzed involved another vehicle. As mentioned above, about 90 percent of the fatalities examined in the study involved a motorcycle colliding with another car. The researchers divided this number further and looked at the types of vehicles that were involved. Some of the critical statistics from this section include:

  • About 90 percent of the motorcycles that collided with cars resulted in severe injuries or death.
  • If a motorcycle collided with a pickup truck, the risk of fatality went up by about 75 percent.
  • If a motorcycle rider struck a tractor-trailer, the risk of suffering a fatality went up by more than 100 percent.

While it may appear obvious that collisions with another vehicle increase the risk of death, it is important to note that this risk jumps dramatically. Therefore, motorcycle riders need to make sure that they are aware of other vehicles on the road. Without the protection of a metal frame, the risk of death is significantly higher.

Time of Day and Location of the Accident

The timing of the accident also plays a role. The lighting can change throughout the day, and the location of the crash plays a role as well. Some of the key numbers from the research paper include:

  • Motorcycle accidents that occurred during the day were about 33 percent less likely to result in a fatality when compared to those that happened at night.
  • The chances of a fatality dropped another 33 percent of the accident did not occur at an intersection.
  • Intersections without adequate lighting were about 40 percent more likely to result in a fatality.

These numbers indicate that motorcycle riders need to exercise extra caution when riding at night. The lack of adequate lighting can obscure dangers that could lead to a severe accident. Furthermore, intersections are particularly dangerous because of the chances of colliding with another vehicle increase dramatically.

Watch YouTube Video: Avoid Accidents by Using these Motorcycle Safety Tips. This video provides some essential motorcycle safety tips on what you can do to make yourself safer on the road and avoid accidents.

Help from a Personal Injury Lawyer for Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries and could lead to irreparable damage to families everywhere. When a loved one suffers traumatic injuries in a motorcycle accident, this could leave families wondering where they should go for help. For help with tough questions, families should reach out to a motorcycle accident attorney in Sacramento. An experienced lawyer has the experience necessary to help families in their time of need.

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Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Sacramento

I’m Ed Smith, a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Sacramento. Accidents involving a motorcycle can have the potential to be deadly. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a motorcycle accident, call me at 916.921.6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I am a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

To see a list of our past cases, go to our verdicts or settlements page.

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