According to the most recent statistics, the number of crash deaths involving motorcycles has decreased yet motorcycle riders remain disproportionately represented in traffic deaths across the United States.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports more than 37,000 people died on America’s roadways in 2017, and more than 5,000 of those deaths were motorcyclists. Florida led the nation in motorcycle fatalities with 515 deaths or one out of every 10 in the U.S.
Leading causes for fatal crashes
While the 2017 statistics represented an overall decline from the year before in the number of fatalities for both cars and motorcycles, the GHSA cites several factors why motorcycle death rates remain high:
- Alcohol: Nearly a quarter of all motorcyclists killed had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over the legal limit, the highest for any vehicle type.
- Drugs: Experts point to the legalization of recreational marijuana in many states as a possible reason for increased numbers of drivers under the influence of drugs.
- Distracted driving: Several states reported an increase in the number of distracted driving deaths.
- Aging motorcyclists: Riders over 40 years old make up the majority of deaths in motorcycle fatalities across the nation, which is a shift from years past when more younger riders died in crashes.
Florida has a partial helmet law
The GHSA says only 19 states have universal helmet laws where riders must wear a helmet at all times. Florida is one of 28 states with a partial helmet law. Riders under 21 must wear a helmet at all times, while those 21 and older are not required to if they can prove they have a $10,000 medical insurance policy to cover injuries.
To address the high number of motorcycle deaths, the Sunshine State created the Florida Motorcycle Safety Coalition, also known as Ride Smart Florida, which seeks to educate riders as part of the Florida Motorcycle Safety Program’s strategic plan.
Car drivers are often the cause of fatal crashes
Statistics show distracted car drivers cause a significant number of fatal accidents involving motorcyclists. Ride Smart Florida advises cyclists always to drive defensively while sharing the road with other vehicles.
Motorcyclists are 75% more likely to be killed or injured in a crash involving a car or other vehicle, causing massive medical bills and additional costs, including lost wages.
If you have been injured in any type of motorcycle accident, seeking the help of a legal advocate is advised.