- According to the CDC, registered motorcycle users have gone up by more than 60 percent since 2000, and motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled.
- Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to experience a fatal crash than drivers or passengers in cars.
- Riders involved in an accident are incredibly vulnerable to severe injuries or death compared to those who travel in closed passenger vehicles.
- Although Michigan is home to some of the best scenic trips for riders, the state has also received a bad reputation of having damaged roads and reckless drivers which both contribute to motorcyclists’ accident injuries.
New Motorcycle Crash Risk Factors Reveal Changing Trends In Rider Fatalities
Today, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. Motorcycles are far less visible to other drivers and less stable than four-wheel vehicles, making riders and their passengers more vulnerable to weather hazards, road conditions, and the most severe accident injuries than other drivers. 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 there are several new trends to be aware of that are creating hazardous road environments for both young and old riders.
Here is a brief look at some of GHSA’s findings based on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety data regarding motorcycle crashes in 2017.
- A total of 5,172 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2017 and accounted for 14 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths the same year.
- Sixty-two percent of motorcyclist deaths occurred in multiple-vehicle crashes.
- Thirty-one percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were operating without a valid driver’s license.
- The proportion of fatally injured motorcyclists who are 50 and older has increased, rising from 14 percent in 1997 and 36 percent.
- Twenty-eight percent of the fatally injured motorcyclists were younger than 30, and 91 percent were males.
- Among motorcycle drivers killed in 2017, 33 percent drove motorcycles with engine sizes larger than 1,400 cc, compared with 9 percent in 2000.
- Only about half of fatally injured drivers of touring bikes and of cruisers or standard motorcycles are helmeted.
- Motorcycle fatalities peak in high riding season in July and 58 percent of motorcyclist deaths occurred during May-September with nearly half occurring on weekends, after 6 p.m.
- Fifty-three percent of motorcyclist deaths occur on major roads other than interstates and freeways.
- Twenty-eight percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent; in single-vehicle crashes, this was 42 percent.
Michigan is also home to some of the nation’s most poorly kept infrastructures, and underfunded roadways which may be contributing to crash factors. The Midwest’s brutal winters often create a deep freeze, and the resulting thaw brings havoc to roadway composites. Substantial truckload weight limits are also twice as high as any other state in the nation putting more stress on area roads and causing deep ruts, potholes, uneven surfaces, and debris which can create dangerous road conditions that lead to serious motorcycle crashes and severe rider injuries.
The Risk Riders Take Because of Michigan’s Lax Motorcycle Helmet Law
According to GHSA, in 2017, 61 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers were helmeted. Although helmet use is an important preventive measure against the most severe accident injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries which can lead to paralysis, permanent disability, or even death, Michigan is one of 28 states that have helmet laws covering only some riders, usually those under 18.
Today, motorcyclists 21 and older in Michigan may ride without a helmet if they have either passed a motorcycle safety course or have held the motorcycle endorsement on their driver’s license for at least two years. Also, riders who choose not to wear helmets must have at least $20,000 in medical payment coverage and higher coverage for any passengers who ride unhelmeted, too. In states like Michigan, with helmet laws that cover only some riders, 42 percent of fatally injured motorcyclists are helmeted.
Helmet or no helmet, these motorcycle accident trends still seem to fall on the wheels of riders when really it is passenger vehicle motorists who cause 70 percent of motorcycle related accidents, injuries, and rider fatalities. Our legal team feels this statistic should make everyone who shares the road with a motorcycle rider responsible for their safety by operating sober, safe, not distracted, and within the rules of the road.
Motorcycle Accident Injuries and Michigan’s No-Fault Law
Victims of motorcycle accidents are not entitled to Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits, also known as first-party benefits, under the Michigan No-Fault Law unless the accident involved a motor vehicle like a car or truck. Even if you or your loved one were not wearing a helmet, you may still have a strong personal injury case and could recoup a considerable portion of your medical expenses, as well as damages for lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Additionally, if someone dies in a motorcycle accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical expenses, lost wages, and pain, suffering, and loss of companionship for the survivors.
Michigan motorcycle accident injury cases demand specific detail and expertise. The motorcycle accident injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Lee Steinberg can help provide more information on the insurance rules in the event of a Michigan motorcycle crash to clear up any questions or confusion.
How Michigan Motorcycle Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help
If you or your family member is suffering from physical and emotional pain due to a motorcycle accident caused in some part by another person, the motorcycle accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Lee Steinberg can help. In an initial consultation, we can discuss your claim in depth and help you to understand all your legal options.
Please call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) if you have any questions about Michigan motorcycle accident injury law.
Source: National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, October). 2017 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview (Traffic Safety Facts Crash Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 603). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.