According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), your chances of dying in a motorcycle accident are 26 TIMES HIGHER than if you had chosen to drive a car, pickup truck, SUV, or any other kind of motor vehicle.
Motorcycles are dangerous for riders if there is any kind of accident on the road, since there is little if any protection (other than helmets, leathers, boots) for the human body in a crash. From NHTSA:
- There were an estimated 88,000 motorcyclists injured during 2013, a five percent decrease from 93,000 motorcyclist injured in 2012.
- Per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist fatalities occurred 26 times more frequently than passenger car occupants in a traffic crash.
- 25 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were riding their vehicles without valid motorcycle licenses.
- 40 percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes in 2013 were alcohol impaired.
- Motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes at night were almost four times more frequently to be alcohol impaired than those killed during the day.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month
To protect people from being seriously hurt in motorcycle accidents across the country, every year the federal government mounts a national campaign — Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month — to educate those who ride motorcycles about the risks they face while on the road as well as helping make drivers who share the roads with motorcycles more aware of the risks and how drivers can give more respect to motorcyclists driving alongside them.
“Sharing the road means looking out for your neighbors, whether driving, riding, or walking – and when everyone obeys the rules of the road we all travel more safely,” said Secretary Foxx. “It’s especially important now as the weather gets warmer and more motorcyclists will be out on the road – we must look out for their safety.”
Helmet Laws in Indiana and Illinois
One of the biggest controversies surrounding motorcycle safety is whether or not the rider should wear a motorcycle helmet. Helmets are not federally mandated, it is up to the individual states to pass laws regarding who has to wear a helmet in their state.
Right now, there are 19 states (and the District of Columbia) that make it illegal to drive a motorcycle without a helmet. That means in most states, helmets are either not required, or they are only required for certain riders (like motorcyclists who are under 18 years old).
Illinois is one of three states that has NO HELMET LAW.
In Indiana, you only need to wear a motorcycle helmet if you are under the age of 17 years.
Head Injury Risk in Motorcycle Accidents
According to NHTSA research, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death in motorcycle crashes. Proponents for motorcycle helmets argue that helmets are around 37% efficient in preventing fatalities in motorcycle crashes involving the driver of the bike and 41% efficient in protecting those who are passengers on the motorcycle at the time of the accident.
Their argument is that helmets protect the wearer from brain injury in a motorcycle accident.
Those who don’t like wearing motorcycle helmets argue that wearing the helmet makes it more dangerous for the driver to see what’s going on around him and can be the cause of accidents just as much as preventing them. Additionally, they are cumbersome and curtail the freedom of movement that is part of the pleasure of riding a motorcycle on the open road.
Injury Claims After Motorcycle Crashes
For those riding motorcycles that are in a serious traffic accident here in Indiana or Illinois, the risk of serious injury is great. Traumatic brain injuries, even if they aren’t fatal, all too often result in permanent damages and life-altering harm.
Motorcycle accidents often mean huge damage claims where medical expenses, long term medical care, pain and suffering in the past and future, lost earning capacity, loss ability to enjoy life, and other claims must be advocated on behalf of the accident victim and their families. If you or a loved one has suffered in an accident involving a motorcycle, then you may have legal recourse under state laws protecting victims form personal injury or wrongful death.