BUFFALO, N.Y. – Warm summer weather is great for riding but it also poses its problems for motorcyclists. Since more riders are hitting the pavement, the road is getting more dangerous and thousands of motorcyclists could get seriously injured over the next three months alone.
“No one is more susceptible to fatal or life-threatening injuries than motorcyclists in Buffalo,” motorcycle accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “We’re seeing a record number of vehicles on the road and those cars and trucks are more often being driven by distracted drivers who don’t realize that they’re sharing the road with bikers.”
The Governors Highway Safety Association released preliminary data this month and found that more than 5,000 people were killed on motorcycles in 2015. That’s a 10 percent increase from the previous year. It’s also a ‘conservative estimate,’ so the death toll is likely even higher.
Barnes, a Buffalo motorcycle accident attorney at Cellino & Barnes said the new report should be concerning for both motorcyclists and drivers alike.
“Motorcyclists have the deck stacked against them and what would normally be considered a minor accident can result in life-threatening injuries,” Barnes said. “It sure is safer to be behind the wheel of a car but you also have that added responsibility because you can be held responsible for someone else’s injuries.”
According to the GHSA report, 2015 had the conditions of a ‘perfect storm.’ Between near flawless summer weather and a warm fall, riders enjoyed a significantly longer motorcycle season. Adding to the risk, the number of two-wheeled registrations doubled in the last decade; going from nearly 4-million bikes in 1997 to almost 8-million choppers in 2008.
“Per mile driven, fatality rates for motorcycles were 26 times that of passenger vehicle occupants,” the study’s authors wrote.
Last year was certainly a record year when it came to crashes involving motorcycles. More than 30 states experienced increases in motorcyclist fatalities despite several safety improvements to infrastructure and technology.
Many cars for example are now equipped with high-tech sensors that alert drivers to vehicles in blind spots and sometimes, these cars will automatically brake for the driver in emergency situations. Despite these safety improvements, among others, cars and motorcycles collided at a record pace.
The GHSA said cars are not completely to blame, however. In many cases, the onus is on state lawmakers to improve safety for everyone on the road, including motorcyclists. Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all riders to wear helmets. Helmets are not required by experienced riders in a staggering 28 states and three states have no helmet laws whatsoever.
The heavy use of smart phones in the car has also had impact on riders. It’s now estimated that distracted driving is a factor in most crashes involving a four-wheeled vehicle.
If you’ve been injured while riding a bike, the Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes have helped accident victims and their families recover the best results possible. Click here to contact an attorney today.
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