More than 5,000 people were killed riding motorcycles on U.S. roads in 2015, close to an all-time high, and a 10 percent increase over 2014’s figure.
Even though motorcyclists accounted for less than one percent of total miles driven, they accounted for a staggering 14 percent of all traffic deaths in 2015.
According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) there were a total of 35,092 people killed on U.S. roads in 2015; a 7.2 percent increase over 2014
Key reasons for the 5,010 fatalities were increased permissiveness from states for riding without a helmet, demographic surges in motorcycle ownership in the 20 to 29-year-old and 50 to 59-year-old age groups, and an increase in riding while impaired.
Only 19 states and Washington D.C. require all riders wear a helmet. Another 28 states mandate helmet use only for riders younger than age 18 or 21, and three states have no helmet requirement. The use rate of helmets in universal-law states was 89 percent, compared with 48 percent in all other states, according to a 2014 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In Michigan, which saw a 23 percent increase in motorcyclist fatalities, state highway safety officials cited the repeal of Michigan’s all-rider helmet law in 2012 as a factor in the increase in fatalities, the report said.
Texas used to require all riders to wear a helmet, but the law was repealed in September of 1997. That same month, there was a “sudden upward trend” in motorcycle fatalities in the state. One study even showed that a few years later, the number of motorcycle deaths had increased by 30 percent.
According to NHTSA, wearing a helmet decreases the risk of dying in a motorcycle crash by 37 percent. In 2013 – the more recent year data was collected – an estimated 1,630 lives were saved in the U.S. by motorcycle helmets; an estimated 715 additional fatalities could have been prevented if all motorcyclists had worn helmets. In addition, the CDC mentions how a universal helmet law is the most-effective method for not only saving lives, but also money. In 2013, $1.1 billion could have been saved in 2013 if every motorcycle rider had chosen to wear a helmet.
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Reyes Browne Reilley is a Dallas, Texas, based Martindale-Hubbell AV-Rated personal injury law firm. Our Dallas personal injury lawyers have a nearly combined 100 years experience representing plaintiffs in personal injury, business, and dangerous prescription drug & device litigation.