Motorcycle Injuries Continue Steady Climb

As our prior articles have reported, deaths from motor vehicle and commercial truck collsions have been on a steady downward trajectory for a number of years. (http://www.maryland-law.com/library/maryland-motor-vehicle-death-cases.cfm) Unfortunately, this has not been the case for our numerous friends and clients who enjoy motorcycles.

Motorcycle deaths and injuries continue to increase. Many of the basics of this phenomenon are not suprising. The overwhelming majority of those injured or killed are men and a large proportion of those are in their twenties. Slightly more motorcycle accidents are multiple vehicle crashes (52%) than single vehicle (48%).

More motorcycle crashes occur during daylight hours and on weekdays. Alcohol is involved in less than ten percent of the cases and in 2007, 63% of injured motorcyclists were helmeted.

However, none of this information sensibly accounts for the increase in motorcyclist fatalities and injuries. In a ten year period ending in 2007 motorcycle crashes had gone up 110%! Yes, overall motorcycle registrations had gone up in the same period but only 84%. Helmet use increased during the ten year period and public awareness of keeping an eye out for motorcyclists had also gone up.

So, what is the explanation? A number of theories have been posited and some are suprising. First, the incidence of older operators increased substantially. Where cycling had been a young persons game historically, it is finding more adherents in their forties and fifties.

Second, the ratio between weekday and weekend crashes is shifting. Understandably, there are five weekdays and only two weekend days, thus it is inevitable that weekday crashes would be more numerous. But, weekend crashes are increasing resulting in the belief that weekend riders are more recreational than transportational and thus less practiced.

The ironic conclusion is that more older operators means more injuries and fatalities. Go figure.
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