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Major predictors of motorcycle accidents and serious injury

June 4, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Michigan motorcycle accident lawyer cites lack of helmet use, drinking and riding, and bigger engines as motorcycle crash characteristics

I came across this list from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and I wanted to share it with my fellow motorcycle accident lawyers and my readers who are bikers.

There’s always talk in the media about motorcycle accidents in Michigan, especially given the recent proposed laws to repeal the helmet requirement. Some driving behaviors are obvious predictors of motorcycle crashes. I’ve written about this many times, and hopefully we can prevent motorcycle accidents and keep riders safe.

In an action plan to reduce motorcycle fatalities, the NHTSA listed the characteristics of motorcycle crashes, based on motorcycle accident injury and death statistics from 2005.

Who’s getting hurt in motorcycle accident crashes?

o Mostly Caucasians – The majority of motorcyclists killed were Caucasian (77 percent), followed by African-American (9 percent), Hispanic (7 percent) and Native American (1 percent).

o Motorcycle operators – The majority of those killed in motorcycle-related crashes were motorcycle operators (90 percent), while motorcycle passenger fatalities have been constant at 10 percent for several years.

o Males – Over the last decade, 90 percent of motorcyclists killed were male.

o Bikers with larger engines – The largest number of motorcycle fatalities (41 percent) is still in the 501-1,000 cc engine size group, followed by 38 percent in the 1,001-1,500 cc engine size group.

o Motorcyclists over 40 – Two-thirds of motorcyclists killed on 1,001-1,500 cc engine size motorcycles were riders over 40 years old.

Naughty Bikers – How dangerous habits turn injuries into fatalities

o Drinking and driving bikers in fatal crashes – In 2005, 27 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle operators had BAC levels of .08 g/dL. An additional 7 percent had lower alcohol levels.

o Single-vehicle motorcycle accidents – Forty-one percent of the 1,878 motorcycle operators who died in single vehicle crashes in 2005 had BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher. Sixty-one percent of those killed in single vehicle crashes on weekend nights had BAC .08 g/dL or higher.

o No motorcycle helmets – Forty-five percent of fatally injured motorcyclists did not wear helmets.

o States that don’t require helmet use – Helmet use rates are lower in states that do not require all riders to use helmets. In 2006, 68 percent of motorcyclists in states requiring helmets wore DOT-compliant helmets, compared to 37 percent in States not requiring all riders to use helmets.

When are motorcycle accidents occurring?

o Weekend motorcycle crashes – Twice as many motorcycle fatalities occurred on weekends as opposed to weekdays.

o Multi-vehicle motorcycle accidents – Motorcyclists are more likely to be killed when there are crashes involving more than one vehicle; 55 percent were killed in multi-vehicle crashes, while 45 percent were killed in single vehicle crashes.

o When there is an invalid motorcycle license – Nearly one out of four motorcycle operators (24 percent) involved in fatal crashes were operating their vehicles with invalid licenses at the time the collision.

Please, always wear a motorcycle helmet. And if you have questions about motorcycle accidents and the law in Michigan, call one of our motorcycle accident lawyers at (248) 353-7575. There’s no fee or obligation, and we can answer all of your questions.

Steven M. Gursten heads Michigan Auto Law and is recognized as one of the nation’s top motorcycle accident lawyers. He received the highest motorcycle accident settlement in Michigan last year, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve has spoken at seminars on winning motorcycle accident lawsuits, and is available for comment.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Anindo Ghosh

Related information:

Choosing a safe motorcycle helmet

Michigan motorcycle accident FAQs

What do to after a motorcycle accident in Michigan

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you.

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