According to recent reports from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Alaska experienced more motorcycle fatalities in the years 2018 to 2019 than in any two-year period combined since 2015. In 2018 alone, there were 12 fatal motorcycle accidents, which accounted for fifteen percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Although the number dropped in 2019, experts predict that the coming years could see a significant increase in motorcycle-related accidents, particularly as fuel costs remain high and people search for less expensive forms of transportation.
How Motorcycle Accidents Differ from Other Vehicle Crashes
Motorcyclists are far more likely to be killed or injured in a crash than drivers or passengers of any other types of vehicles. According to the NHTSA, approximately 13 out of every 100,000 fatal crashes involve a passenger car. In contrast, nearly 72 out of every 100,000 fatal crashes involve a motorcycle. This means that motorcycle riders are almost six times more likely to die in a crash than drivers or passengers in a car.
Why are motorcycle crashes so much more likely to result in fatalities? There are several reasons.
- Lack of protection. Physical protection for occupants is much greater in passenger vehicles than on motorcycles. Passenger vehicles have seat belts and airbags, and occupants are much less likely to be ejected from their vehicles than those riding a motorcycle. While motorcyclists may wear helmets, the greatest risk in any collision is being ejected and hitting another vehicle, a tree, or some other object.
- Driver “blindness.” Drivers have been shown in many studies to be “blind” to motorcyclists in their range of vision. In one study, driver reaction to an oncoming car or motorcycle was measured, and in every case, drivers estimated motorcycles to be going much slower than their passenger vehicle counterparts. This means that drivers were unable to judge how much time they actually had to safely pull out in front of a motorcycle when compared to an oncoming car or truck.
- Lack of road courtesy. Psychologically, drivers seem to give motorcycle riders less courtesy than those driving large vehicles. No one is sure exactly why, but drivers of passenger vehicles tend to yield more often and sooner for other cars or trucks than for motorcycles. They also tend to change lanes more closely, with less room to spare and to cut off motorcyclists at a higher rate than other vehicles.
Because of these and other factors, those riding motorcycles are far less protected from accidents than other drivers or passengers. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are also more likely to result in serious injury or death than accidents involving passenger vehicles, leaving victims to suffer a greater loss.
At Barber & Associates, we have spent many years defending those who are the victims of motorcycle accidents. We stand up for your rights and ensure that those who caused your injuries are made to pay for their negligence. Give us a call today if you have been injured in a motorcycle accident to see what we can do to help you.