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Facts relating to motorcycle accidents

In 2015, there were nearly 90,000 reported motorcycle-related injuries, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Because motorcyclists are almost 30 times more likely to die in a collision per mile traveled and about five times more likely to suffer an injury, motorcycle riding can be risky for Pennsylvania residents.

There are a variety of reasons behind motorcycle-related fatalities, and one is that many motorcycle riders and their passengers do not wear helmets. In fact, the NHTSA reported that nearly 2,000 lives were saved in 2015 because motorcyclists and their passengers were wearing helmets. In Pennsylvania, motorcycle operators must abide by the state's helmet use law during the first two years of licensure, unless they undergo a state-approved safety course.

The age of motorcyclists is also linked to motorcycle fatalities. According to reports by the NHTSA, more than 50 percent of all biker deaths involve motorcyclists who were 40 years old or over. In comparison with younger bikers, older bikers suffer more severe injuries, largely due to their vision, reaction time and the fact that they tend to ride larger, heavier bikes that are more likely to overturn. Older bikers are more likely to need medical treatment for their injuries, such as brain damage, dislocation and fractures. Another reason behind many motorcycle accidents is alcohol use. In nearly 30 percent of fatal biker crashes in 2015, motorcyclists had a blood alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent or more, according to the NHTSA. Speeding, driving without a valid license and the type of motorcycle were additional factors behind motorcycle fatalities.

Unfortunately, many motorcycle fatalities are due to the negligence of other drivers. The surviving family members of a rider who has been killed by another motorist who was speeding, impaired or distracted might want to meet with an attorney to learn how best to seek compensation for their losses.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Motorcycle Crashes", May 12, 2017

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