- Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association shows a total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017 and accounted for 14 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths. In Michigan, the number of motorcycle fatalities reported in 2017 was 142.
- Metro Detroit areas, including Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties average more than three motorcycle-vehicle crashes every day in peak riding season during May-September with nearly half occurring on weekends, after 6 p.m.
- The Michigan Secretary of State’s office is implementing a first-of-its-kind campaign called “Look Twice. Save a Life.” to promote motorcyclist awareness, safety, and education.
- While motorcyclists are typically to blame for their injuries, the state’s summer campaign will focus on what other drivers can do to keep motorcyclists safe.
Michigan’s Highest Motorcycle Crash Ratings Come from Metro Detroit
According to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties average more than three motorcycle-vehicle crashes every day in the peak riding season. Seven areas and intersections in Metro Detroit with the worst motorcycle crash ratings identified by Benson’s office come from a review of the most recent crash data that determined the location, frequency and prior actions involved in motorcycle-vehicle crashes.
Detroit Tri-County Area corridors with high motorcycle crash ratings include:
- Woodward Avenue between Interstate 94 and Grand Boulevard in Wayne County
- Woodward Avenue between Royal Oak and Birmingham in Oakland County
- 8 Mile Road between Mound Road and Livernois Avenue in Wayne County
- McNichols Road/6 Mile Road between the Lodge and Southfield freeways in Wayne County
- Ford Road between John Daly Street and Telegraph Road in Wayne County
- Gratiot Avenue between 13- and 14-Mile Roads in Macomb County
- Southfield Road between Fort Street and Interstate 94 in Wayne County
In response to this list, the state has launched a 2019 education campaign to inform Michigan motorists how best to prevent crashes with motorcyclists, including where and when to be most alert to help reduce and eliminate motorcyclist injuries and fatalities.
The campaign dubbed “Look Twice. Save a Life.” is supported by the Motorcycle Safety and Education Fund created by the Michigan Legislature in 2017 and directed by Secretary Benson with the help of driving instructors and local and state police.
Where and When Motorcycle Crashes Happen Most Often
Contrary to what most believe, about 84 percent of all motorcycle crashes happen on city streets versus highways, leaving all types of motorists responsible for rider safety.
Motorcycle crash risk facts for drivers to consider include:
- A majority of crashes happen when a vehicle driver is attempting to make a left turn, and others misjudge its speed and turn in front of the oncoming motorcyclist’s path.
- Most crashes occur between 4 and 7 p.m., during the rush-hour drive.
- An estimated 58 percent of motorcyclist deaths occur during May-September with nearly half occurring on weekends, after 6 p.m.
- The proportion of fatally injured motorcyclists who are 50 and older, has increased.
- Male and female vehicle drivers between ages 20 and 29 who don’t ride motorcycles are another group involved in deadly crashes.
- Alcohol or drugs isn’t usually a factor.
- Thirty-one percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a valid driver’s license.
Early estimates published in May of 2018 from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that even though motorcyclist fatalities in the United States are expected to decrease, these trends are creating new types of hazardous road environments for both young and old riders. Our attorneys recently took a closer look at that report here.
What Motorists Can Do to Prevent a Crash with A Motorcycle
Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die in a roadway accident than those in other types of vehicles. Our team at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm encourages all drivers to do their part in making the roads safer for motorcyclists and their passengers by following these tips from the “Look Twice. Save a Life.” campaign.
- Look twice at intersections before you turn or pull out.
- Always assume motorcyclists are closer than they appear.
- Motorcyclists can get lost in a vehicle’s blind spot.
- Be extra cautious when merging or changing lanes.
- You can’t always hear motorcycles, especially when they are oncoming.
- Allow yourself extra space when you’re following a motorcyclist, particularly on busy city streets.
- Motorcyclists often use hand signals, similar to bicyclists, to let others know their intentions on the road. A right turn is signaled by a left arm raised, a left turn by the left arm straight out to the side and a stop by the left arm downward.
- Double-check your blind spots.
- Keep all devices out of reach while driving so you won’t be tempted to look at them and become distracted – even when you’re stopped at intersections. GPS devices, eating, drinking or reaching for an object all can take your eyes – and your mind – off the road.
The motorcycle accident injury attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm encourage all of our readers to review and share the Secretary’s campaign information about motorcycle safety at Michigan.gov/LookTwice.
Motorcyclists Should Wear a Helmet
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a helmet decreases the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent, yet only 61 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers in 2017 were helmeted. Wearing a helmet has also been statistically proven to decrease a rider’s chance of serious personal injury such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) by nearly three times.
Helmets are still not required for most Michigan riders even though head injuries have increased after the state repealed the Motorcycle Helmet Law set in place in 2012. Due to this unfortunate oversight in rider safety, there has been a substantial increase in significant TBIs resulting from motorcycle crashes. Highway safety officials say that the repeal of Michigan’s all-rider helmet law is likely a contributing factor related to the increase in fatalities as well.
Contact Us Now About Your Motorcycle Accident Injury
If you or a loved one has been involved in a motorcycle accident, our motorcycle accident and wrongful death attorneys know you need to focus on healing. Let us take on the legal fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form to set up your absolutely free, no-risk consultation.