BUFFALO, N.Y. – For just the third year in history, the number of deadly motorcycle accidents soared over 5,000 in 2015. That’s up 10% from 2014.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, 5,010 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes last year and it was the first time fatalities topped 5,000 people since 2008.
The data and trends are preliminary but a Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says it shows the need for better driver education and awareness.
“Motorcycling is a dangerous activity but it doesn’t have to be for riders in Buffalo,” motorcycle accident attorney Steve Barnes said. “Drivers should always look twice before turning or merging lanes – especially during the summer months when most bike riders are on the road.”
The fatality rate for motorcyclists is 26 times higher than those riding in passenger vehicles and in some states, motorcycle deaths represented 15% to 20% of all road fatalities. In most states, motorcycles represent only a small percentage of registered vehicles and miles traveled.
More than 90% of the riders killed last year were men, the study said. Older riders have historically been most at risk while on the chopper but last year, bikers aged 20-29 had the highest share of deadly accidents, representing nearly 25% of the total. Riders over the age of 50 were not far behind.
The GHSA report suggested several factors caused the spike in accidents:
- A long stretch of warm weather in 2015 (more riding days)
- Lower fuel prices
- Stronger economy
The report also emphasized the need for safer legislation, including helmet laws researchers say would immediately cause riding deaths to drop.
“Only 19 states require all motorcyclists to wear helmets,” Barnes said. “Studies have shown that helmets can save lives but there are still many places in America where riders aren’t required to put one on.”
In 2013, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimated that 715 motorcycle deaths could have been prevented if the rider had been wearing a helmet.
Cellino & Barnes recently expanded its Grider Street office in Buffalo to accommodate victims across Western New York. If you’ve been injured in a crash, our Buffalo motorcycle accident lawyers have a track record of helping riders get the best result possible. Contact a lawyer today for a free consultation.