Lots of people enjoy the feel of an open road. To get closer to the road and experience it more fully, many people choose to ride motorcycles instead of cars, deciding that the feel of wind in their face is worth the risk of a potential accident which may result in serious injuries.
Unfortunately, statistics have shown that 2015 was a year in which the number of deaths from motorcycle accidents spiked, nearly reaching an all-time high.
Statistics Show Spike in Motorcycle Deaths in 2015
The Governors Highway Safety Association recently released a report detailing the number of deaths in 2015 resulting from motorcycle accidents. They found that 5,010 riders died over the course of last year, a 10% increase from 2014, and only the third time in U.S. history that the number has topped 5,000. The last time more than 5,000 motorcyclists died on the road was 2008.
The increase in motorcyclist deaths on a per-state basis rose in 31 states, and only dropped in 16 others.
Causes of Spike Includes Repeal of Universal Helmet Laws
One of the report's co-authors, Richard Retting, blamed the increase in motorcyclist deaths on a handful of factors.
“The risk of motorcycle crashes and fatalities is compounded by factors such as alcohol and drug use, increased speed limits, the repeal of state helmet laws, and a record number of vehicles on U.S. roads,” he said in a news release.
The issue of state universal helmet laws is not a new one. Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear helmets, regardless of their age. 28 states require young riders to wear them, though the cut-off age varies state-by-state. There are 3 states that have no helmet laws – New Hampshire, Illinois, and Iowa.
This is a huge change from the 1970s, when nearly all states had a universal helmet law in place. However, states have increasingly been repealing them in the past decades, and the result has been an increase in serious head injuries in motorcycle accidents from unprotected riders.
In states that have universal helmet laws, studies have found that 89% of riders use them. Where there is no universal helmet law, only 48% of riders wear one.
Maryland and Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys
In Maryland, we have a universal helmet law for all motorcyclists, but Pennsylvania's law only requires riders under the age of 20 to wear a helmet. Regardless of the applicable law, motorcyclists should be aware of the significantly increased risk of a devastating injury that comes with riding a bike without wearing a helmet. If you do get into an accident while riding your motorcycle in either Maryland or in the Philadelphia area, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian online, or at (800) 529-6162.