Motorcycle Deaths Increase in 2017

Two people riding a motorcycle

According to data from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, in 2017, the number of motorcycle fatalities in Virginia was the highest in over a decade. There were 72 motorcyclists killed in 2016 in the state of Virginia, and 107 killed in 2017—nearly a 50 percent increase. Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Shannon Valentine said the DMV, VDOT, Public Safety and Community Partners are working hard to reduce the number of motorcycle crashes.

Factors in Motorcycle Accidents

Most motorcyclists thoroughly enjoy the thrill and excitement which comes with riding a motorcycle, however this excitement can bring certain dangers. Any time a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a vehicle, it, is a pretty sure bet the motorcyclist suffer injury or death due to the disparity in size between a motorcycle and a vehicle and the lack of protection for the motorcyclist.  Specific factors in motorcycle accidents include:

  • Poor Visual Recognition—Simply by virtue of being smaller than a car, there is a much greater likelihood that a motorcycle will be obscured by other vehicles, by the road or by certain weather conditions. Intersections are high danger zones for motorcycle riders, with about one-third of all motorcycle vs. automobile collisions occurring in an intersection in conditions which made the motorcycle rider difficult or impossible to see. Many times, a vehicle may change lanes on a freeway and never even see the motorcycle rider in the next lane or could be backing out of a driveway or parking space and fail to see the motorcyclist.
  • Distracted driving—Drivers today tend to multi-task in every area of their lives—including while driving. An automobile driver who is talking on his or her phone, texting, eating a meal, turning around to check on the children, or talking to a passenger has a much higher likelihood of hitting a motorcyclist.
  • Hazards on the Road—About a quarter of all motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle accidents caused by a collision with an object in the road or a roadway defect. Many single-vehicle motorcycle accidents are caused by oil slicks, puddles, debris, railroad tracks, road ruts, potholes or uneven pavement. A smaller number are caused by animals in the roadway or vehicle failures of some type like a flat tire.
  • Rider Error or Inexperience—Rider error/inexperience is believed to be a factor in a significant number of motorcycle accidents, with the most common problem being when the motorcyclist slides out and falls over as a direct result of going wide on a curve, excessive speed or over-enthusiastic braking. A motorcycle requires substantially more skill and physical coordination to operate than does a motor vehicle. The rider may lack the necessary basic riding skills or may not fully appreciate the limitations of motorcycle riding. Most motorcycle riders are essentially self-taught, making a lack of training or experience a factor in motorcycle collisions.
  • Product Liability—In certain cases a motorcycle can wobble at high speeds when the front end becomes unstable. This could be due to misalignment, however if it is determined that the resulting wobble was responsible for the accident, the manufacturer of the motorcycle may bear a level of financial responsibility for the resulting injuries.
  • Speed—Speed may be a factor in about one-third of all motorcycle accidents, whether on the part of the motorcyclist or the automobile driver.

Motorcyclists should take specific steps to keep themselves safe on the road by always wearing safety equipment such as a helmet and protective clothing, traveling at a safe speed, remaining alert, and never operating a motorcycle after consuming alcohol. Any way you look at it, a motorcycle rider is at an extreme disadvantage when a crash occurs, standing a much greater likelihood of suffering severe injury or death.

In fact, motorcyclists are 26 times more likely to die in a collision with a vehicle than the driver or passengers in the vehicle.  If you have been involved in a motorcycle collision and are now dealing with severe injuries, it could be extremely beneficial to contact an experienced Virginia personal injury attorney from Tronfeld, West & Durrett. Our attorneys understand the complexities of motorcycle accidents and will work hard on your behalf to obtain fair compensation. Contact Tronfeld, West & Durrett at (804) 358-6741 today.