The Common Causes of Motorcycle-Rider Injuries and Fatalities

As the summer riding season begins, motorcycle safety advocates are advising riders to avoid some unsafe habits common to motorcycle accidents. In 2009, 4,462 motorcyclists were killed while riding, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, nearly 15 percent of all fatal crashes involve motorcyclists.

Use a Helmet

The NHTSA estimated that helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008. They also estimated that if all motorcyclists had worn helmets that year, an additional 823 riders would have lived even after a crash.

Legislation mandating helmet use for motorcyclists exists in all but three states. Twenty states, including New Jersey, require helmets for all riders. The other 27 states require helmets for certain riders, such as those who just received a license or anyone below a certain age.

Even though all states don't require universal helmet use, approximately 67 percent of motorcycle riders now wear a helmet at any given time, up from only 48 percent in 2005, according to a National Occupant Protection Use survey.

Crashes Involving a Traffic Violation

Motorcyclists are more likely to speed than other types of drivers, the NHTSA reported. Approximately 35 percent of all motorcycle riders sped while involved in a fatal crash. Additionally, about one in four motorcycle riders are unlicensed or improperly licensed at the time of the crash.

Motorcyclists are not the only ones to blame for traffic violations, however. Other vehicles may not see motorcyclists or give motorcycle riders the space they need. A car may ignore the motorcyclist's right-of-way, or make a left turn into the motorcycle. Unfortunately, these accidents tend to be severe for the motorcyclists, and can often result in catastrophic injuries or wrongful death.

Riding While Intoxicated

A higher percentage of motorcycle riders are killed in crashes involving a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher, the legal limit for riders, than any other type of vehicle. Twenty-nine percent of motorcycle riders were legally drunk when killed in an accident, while 23 percent of passenger car drivers killed involved a drunk driver.

An Attorney Can Help

Motorcyclists love being out on the road. But without proper safety measures, the road can be a dangerous place for riders. Whether you need compensation for medical bills and wage loss that occurred from a motorcycle accident, or you were charged with a DWI while riding, having an experienced attorney in your corner can help. Contact a local attorney who can further explain your rights.