Increase Voluntary Helmet Use
In a new report, the Governors Highway Safety Association reported that motorcyclist deaths increased approximately 9 percent in 2012, to more than 5,000 lives lost. Comparing the first nine months of 2012 to 2011, motorcyclist fatalities increased in 34 states and decreased in 16 states.
Oklahoma was one of the states in which motorcycle fatalities declined. According to the report, 62 motorcyclists died in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 74 motorcycle accident deaths in the first nine months of 2011. While the downward trend is positive, preventable motorcycle accidents causing serious injuries and deaths still occur far too often.
On June 7, a motorcycle accident on Avery Drive, in Tulsa, OK resulted in the death of a passenger. The motorcyclist took a curve at a high rate of speed, crossed a lane and hit a guardrail, killing his passenger. Both were wearing helmets. A trooper who was interviewed regarding the incident explained that the road “is pretty windy, lots of curves,” with “people driving real high rates of speed.”
Many motorists do not look out for motorcycles and cause avoidable accidents. Regardless of who is at fault, motorcyclists usually suffer the brunt of injuries in any collision.
Motorcycles are enjoying a surge in popularity for recreation and transportation. High gas prices may cause more individuals to choose fuel-efficient vehicles like motorcycles as their preferred mode of transportation. The GHSA report found that as gas prices increased, motorcycle registrations and fatalities also rose.
Another factor influencing motorcycle safety is the decrease in the number of states with universal helmet laws. Currently, only 19 states require all riders to wear helmets, down from 26 states in 1997. Oklahoma only requires riders under 18 to wear helmets and has not had a universal helmet law since 1976.
The report recommends six steps to improve motorcycle safety and reduce accidents:
- Increase helmet use: Helmets are proven to be 37 percent effective at preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41 percent effective for their passengers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 706 of the unhelmeted motorcyclists who died in crashes in 2010 would have lived had they worn helmets.
- Reduce alcohol impairment: In 2010, 29 percent of all fatally injured riders had a blood alcohol concentration at or above the legal limit of .08, the highest of all motorists.
- Reduce speeding: According to the most recent data, 35 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, and almost half of these crashes did not involve another vehicle.
- Provide motorcycle operator training: States need to make training more accessible.
- Ensure motorcyclists are properly licensed: According to 2010 NHTSA data, 22 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license.
- Encourage all drivers to share the road with motorcyclists: According to the NHTSA, when motorcycles crash with other vehicles, the latter has usually violated the motorcyclist’s right-of-way. Many states conduct “share the road” campaigns to increase awareness of motorcyclists.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a motorcycle accident caused by another motorist, contact the motorcycle accident attorneys at Burch, George & Germany P.C., as soon as possible to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. Burch, George & Germany, P.C., is endorsed by the Downed Bikers Association. Call 405-239-7711 or use our online contact form.
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