In 2010 Pennsylvania had four motorcycle crashes for every five new motorbikes on the road. With 5,000 new motorcycles registered, 10,000 new licenses, and so many riders in crashes, the 223 fatalities resulting may sound small. It represents a 6 percent increase over the prior year while the United States altogether dropped by 2 percent.
Rather than defying a national trend toward safety, Pennsylvania may have been the first to feel one toward more deaths. The difference in its fatality rate and the national rate rests heavily on low national numbers in 2010’s first quarter. These offset a sharp fatality increase in 2010’s last quarter. High gas prices may drive more consumers toward higher mileage vehicles. That puts more motorcycles on the road, with more inexperienced riders on the road, and a subsequent increase in accidents.
Motorcycle safety practices can protect riders, and their rights following an accident. One need just see a helmet smashed during an accident to realize the damage would otherwise have been to the rider’s head. Helmets simply save biker’s lives. Bikers wearing helmets survive head injuries three times more often than bikers who do not. Most crashes happen at speeds below 30 miles per hour, and at that speed helmets make head injuries half as serious as without them.
Helmets matter for safety because even bikers taking all precautions can get in an accident through no fault of their own. Distracted, intoxicated, or irresponsible automobile drivers may simply run into a motorcycle. Multi-vehicle accidents leave motorcyclists injured 98 percent of the time. Even single vehicle accidents injure riders 96 percent of the time, and 45 percent of all motorcycle accidents leave the rider with long-term debilitating injuries.
The most experienced and safest rider might end up seriously injured in a one vehicle accident from nothing he or she did wrong. Poorly maintained highways or improperly marked curves can dump a rider with no reaction time to spare. A town’s ineffective street sweeping can leave piles of dust that handle traffic like ball bearings – and that says nothing of signage, soft shoulders and curbs. When a safe rider gets injured and seeks help paying for the care from the injury, his or her regular safety practices can go a long way toward fixing responsibility for the crash.