As attorneys and motorcycle enthusiasts, we're concerned about the safety of motorcycle riders on our highways and city streets. We're proud to represent bikers when they're injured—or the families of bikers who were killed—by careless and negligent motorists, but we would rather do what we can to ensure that they are safe to begin with.
We examine the most recent motorcycle crash statistics and share them with our readers—along with helpful tips—to promote the safety of motorcyclists in and around Kansas City.
What 2015 Statistics Tell Us
Because it takes time to gather data from various organizations, the crash statistics for 2015 were just released in the summer of 2017. They show an increase in the number of motorcycles on the road and unfortunately, an increase in the number of riders who were killed.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) compiled the following key statistics:
- 8.6 million motorcycles were on the road in 2015.
- 4,976 motorcyclists were killed in crashes in 2015, up 8.3 percent from 2014.
- 88,000 riders were injured in 2015, down from 92,000 in 2014.
- 40 percent of motorcyclists who were killed in 2015 weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the crash.
- The fatality rate for motorcycle riders was six times higher than that of other motorists.
- 54 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2015 were over the age of 40.
- 27 percent of riders involved in fatal crashes tested above the legal limit for alcohol.
- Speeding was an important factor, with 33 percent of fatal crashes involving riders who exceeded the speed limit.
- Of the riders involved in a fatal crash, 27 percent didn't have a valid motorcycle license.
- Supersport motorcycles had a rider fatality rate of more than four times that of other types of motorcycles.
Even though some of these statistics seem to point to rider fault, most collisions between cars and motorcycles happen because the driver of the car fails to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist. Whatever the cause, there are things both riders themselves and drivers can do to reduce injuries and deaths.
Protecting Motorcyclists With Simple Actions
Based on the III data, the National Safety Council offers recommendations that could save the lives of hundreds of motorcyclists every year. Their suggestions include the following:
- Drivers must be on the lookout for motorcycles. Starting with driver education classes, there must be an increased emphasis on drivers being alert to smaller vehicles on the road. The increase in distracted driving only compounds the problem. When drivers aren't 100 percent focused on the road and actively looking for motorcycles, they're much more likely to hit them.
- All riders should wear a helmet. As more states repeal universal helmet laws, biker fatality rates increase. Whether or not it's a law in the state you are riding through, wearing a helmet will likely save your life if a careless driver cuts you off.
- Take a motorcycle safety course. Statistics show that riders who take a training course—and regularly go through refresher courses—are less likely to be killed or injured in a collision. Practicing evasive maneuvers and learning to control your bike allows you to more easily escape from dangerous situations.
- Get a bike with ABS. Newer motorcycles come equipped with antilock braking systems (ABS). Studies have shown that bikes with ABS are 37 percent less likely to be in a fatal crash than those with standard brakes. This is because anti-lock brakes allow the rider to apply the brakes suddenly without risk of them locking up and causing the bike to skid.
Have You Been Injured In A Motorcycle Accident?
If you've been injured in a motorcycle accident you need to speak with an experienced motorcycle accident attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.471.5111 to schedule your free consultation.
You can also order your FREE copy of our book, "KC Biker Bible."