While 3,900 is already a large number, the last three months of the year still need to be tabulated before a final figure for 2012 is reached. At the same point in 2011 there were nine percent fewer deaths, a worryingly fast rise in fatal motorcycle crashes. Experts say that by projecting those same numbers out over the last quarter indicates that the total number of motorcycle fatalities could breach the 5,000 mark for the first time ever.
One of the things that is most surprising to safety experts is that the rise in motorcycle fatalities flies in the face of a general decline in deadly auto accidents. For years now the number of people killed on America’s roadways has been on the decline. The number of fatal tractor-trailer accidents is down, the number of passenger vehicle deaths is at a record low, even the number of alcohol-related crashes has dropped to record low levels.
Despite all this good news, motorcycle accidents remain not only stubbornly high, but are increasingly dangerous. Researchers say that over the past 15 years, the number of motorcycle deaths have increased in 14 of those years. Additionally, in that same time frame the number of motorcycle fatalities has almost doubled while the number of passenger vehicle deaths has dropped by more than 20 percent.
No one really knows why the number of motorcycle deaths is on the rise, though there are some ideas. For one thing, the weather has generally been warm in 2012, with a relatively mild winter across much of the country. This good weather combines dangerously with other factors to increase the number of motorcyclists on the road. High gas prices and a somewhat better economy also led more people to purchase motorcycles, creating more riders and thus more opportunities for deadly accidents.
Sadly, one of the largest contributors to fatal motorcycle accidents is head injury. While all cyclists are able to sustain a bad head injury, those without helmets are at exponentially greater risk. The NHTSA says that in 2010, more than 700 people who died in motorcycle accidents would have lived had they been wearing a safety helmet. Studies indicate that if a motorcyclist is wearing a helmet at the time of a collision that rider’s risk of death is reduced by 37 percent.
Some other injuries often encountered in motorcycle accidents include severely broken bones, especially legs, arms, shoulders and hands. The joints around a rider’s hips, knees and elbows are also vulnerable to breakage in serious accidents when riders are thrown from their bikes. Road rash and other damage to a rider’s skin is also common. Though serious injuries can occur regardless of safety precautions, a rider dramatically reduces the risk of such injuries by wearing a helmet, riding jacket and other safety gear.
Our attorneys understand how scary motorcycle accidents can be and are here to help following such a scary accident. If you’ve been injured in a Mississippi motorcycle accident and have questions, please contact the accident attorneys at Stroud, Flechas & Dalton for a free consultation.
Source: “New Study: Motorcyclist Deaths Spike in 2012,” [no longer available from source] published at GHSA.org.