Columbus, Ohio. With increasing gas prices, more folks are taking to the streets on 2 wheels, personal injury lawyer David Bressman believes that it is important to refresh people's recollections about some of the dangers unique to motorcycle usage.
Single vehicle motorcycle crashes account for about 45 percent of all motorcyclist fatalities. More than 38,000 motorcyclists have died in single vehicle motorcycle crashes between 1975 and 1999.
From 1990 through 1999, there were a total of 11,038 fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. During that same time period, there were an estimated 294,000 non-fatal single vehicle motorcycle crashes. Of these, an estimated 39,000 involved property damage only and 255,000 involved injuries.
Motorcyclist fatalities in single vehicle motorcycle crashes decreased each year from 1990 to 1996, reaching a historic low of 937 in 1996 and again in 1997. In 1998, the fatalities increased to 1,042 (11.2 percent increase); in 1998 and in 1999 they increased to 1,140 (9.4 percent). The overall increase in motorcyclist fatalities from 1997 to 1999 was 203 (21.7 percent).
: Findings from the FARS (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) data illustrate possible reasons for motorcyclist fatalities in single vehicle motorcycle crashes:
*Helmet use among fatally injured motorcyclists below 50 percent
*More motorcyclist fatalities are occurring on rural roads
*High blood alcohol levels are a major problem among motorcycle operators
*Half of the fatalities are related to negotiating a curve prior to the crash
*Over 80 percent of the fatalities occur off roadway
*Undivided roadways account for a majority of the fatalities
*Almost 2/3's of the fatalities were associated with speeding
*Almost 60 percent of motorcyclist fatalities occur at night
*Collision with a fixed object is a significant factor in over half of the fatalities
*Braking and steering maneuvers possibly contribute for almost 25 percent of the fatalities
*More riders age 40 and over are getting killed
*Almost one third of the fatally injured operators did not have a proper license