Why Michigan Motorcycle Crashes Are Getting More Dangerous & Deadly

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Why Michigan Motorcycle Crashes Are Getting More Dangerous & Deadly

deadly motorcycle accidents in michigan

Key Points of This Article:

  • According to Michigan State Police, there were about 120 motorcycle crash fatalities in Michigan in 2019 and over 2,000 injuries to motorcycle riders.
  • Since Michigan weakened the all-rider helmet law in 2012, the reports show that un-helmeted riders who crash are dying at a rate approximately double that of riders who are wearing a helmet.
  • Michigan is not making significant progress in the motorcycle crash fatality rate, and there is no steady decline in the fatality rate per million population.
  • Main factors correlated with an increase in deadly motorcycle crashes include alcohol or drug impairment, rider training, crashes with larger vehicles, and helmet use.

The Skilled Motorcyclist Association – Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc. (SMARTER) has released data reported annually by the Michigan State Police Traffic Crash Reporting Unit and The National Motorcycle Institute Fatality Reporting System on the most recent motorcycle crash trends and fatality statistics in Michigan. The report sounded the alarm that although the number of motorcycle crashes has slightly declined across the state, there is a trending increase in motorcycle rider fatalities and the seriousness of motorcycle crash injuries.

  • There has been a steady increase in Michigan motorcycle fatalities for nearly three decades. Between 2003 and 2011, fatality numbers varied year to year but averaged about 110 per year until 2012, when the average fatalities per year rose to 130 through 2020.
  • Michigan is not making progress as measured by a reduction in motorcyclist fatalities. Michigan motorcyclist fatality numbers in the recent decade show only a 3% reduction per year to represent theoretical progress.
  • The average number of fatalities per year has increased nearly 20% in the nine years post Michigan’s helmet law changes compared to the nine years prior. Michigan weakened its universal helmet law in April 2012. In the nine years prior, the yearly average was 110 fatalities compared to an average of 130 fatalities in the nine years post law change.
  • Crashing without a helmet is getting more dangerous – and the injuries are getting worse. While there is a reduction in motorcycle crashes, it has not resulted in a corresponding reduction in fatalities due to these factors.
    • Over 30% of all Michigan motorcyclists killed each year involve alcohol and/or drugs.
    • Half of all Michigan motorcyclist fatalities were not wearing a helmet.
    • An increase in dangerous and deadly crashes that have occurred involved large SUV-type vehicles and delivery trucks attempting to make a left turn in front of the oncoming motorcyclist’s path.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmets reduce the risk of death by 42% and head injury by 69% in riders who crashed.

Urban Drivers and Suburban Commuters Can Do More to Keep Motorcyclists Safe

Motorcyclists are 35 times more likely to die in a roadway accident than those in other vehicle types. For those who survive, motorcycle accident injuries can range from mild road rash and burns and scarring to severely broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.

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 motorcycle accident injury attorneys at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. also see many car and truck accidents involving motorcycles on I-75 and along some of the more significant expressway corridors that connect I-94 or I-96. However, most motorcycle crashes are happening closer to home and on local community streets rather than the busiest and most congested Michigan roads.

No matter if you are in Detroit, Lansing, Kalamazoo, or Grand Rapids, we encourage everyone to review information about motorcycle safety at Michigan.gov/LookTwice.

Understanding Motorcycle Accidents and Michigan No-Fault Benefits

Suppose a motor vehicle is involved in a motorcycle accident. In that case, this is the only way an individual injured while riding or a passenger of a motorcycle can collect Michigan no-fault benefits.

Example: A motorcycle hits the curb because the rider was distracted. Unfortunately, even if the rider sustains a severe injury, they cannot claim Michigan no-fault benefits because a motor vehicle was not involved in the accident.

Now, if a motorcyclist hits a moving vehicle in the middle of an intersection, the motorcyclist can make a claim for no-fault benefits. Physical contact with the motor vehicle is not required.

Example: A motorcyclist is forced to drop their motorcycle before hitting a car or turns away from an oncoming car to avoid being hit. The motor vehicle is still considered to be involved in the accident, and the motorcyclist may make a claim.

If you have questions about claiming your motorcycle accident injury, how the Michigan no-fault law works, or how your motorcycle insurance works and applies to injured motorcyclists, the team at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. is experienced and ready to help.

What Is My Motorcycle Case Worth?

Motorcycle accidents in Michigan resulting in injury are a select type of claim. To ensure the injured victim receives total compensation, these cases demand a thorough analysis of evidence and require the expertise of motorcycle accident specialists. Finding the value of a Michigan motorcycle accident injury case depends on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, evidence and injury documentation, and the strength in proving negligence or fault.

If someone dies in a motorcycle accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there is no magic formula for determining how much a motorcycle crash or personal injury case is worth.

Contact Us About Your Motorcycle Injury Case Today

If you or a loved one has been involved in a Detroit motorcycle crash, our motorcycle accident and wrongful death attorneys know you need to focus on healing. Call The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. toll-free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) for a free, no-risk consultation. We will be right there.

Watch Attorney Eric Steinberg: What Are The Most Common Motorcycle Accident Injuries? | Michigan Motorcycle Accident

Source: Michigan Motorcyclist Crash and Fatality Data and Charts. Skilled Motorcyclist Association – Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc. (SMARTER), 1 Nov. 2020, smarter-usa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Charts-2020-Michigan-Motorcyclist-Crash-and-Fatallity-Data-and-Charts-Nov.-2020-data-through-Oct.-2020-1.pdf