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Changes in the incidence of motorcycle crashes

As some Montana motorcyclists may know, demographics have changed since 2003 in terms of the age of riders and the number of fatal and nonfatal injuries. In 2012, 8.5 million motorcycles were on the road around the country. Risks include the lack of visibility a motorcycle has in comparison to passenger vehicles, alcohol use and speed.

Overall, the number of fatal crashes in 2013 was lower by 318 from the previous year, and there were approximately 5,000 fewer injury crashes. The number of motorcyclists 40 years or older who died due to accident-related injuries increased from 46 percent in 2003 to 56 percent in 2012. In addition, 43 percent of fatal crashes in 2012 involved riders whose BAC level was above .08 percent, and riders between the ages of 40 and 44 had the greatest incidence of fatalities involving alcohol.

Younger riders under 30 often choose super sports bikes or lightweight motorcycles designed for racing but adapted for road use. Such bikes are able to reach 190 mph and rider fatalities are four times greater than in other types. Older riders favor touring bikes. Speed is an issue in 56 percent of crashes involving sports models as opposed to 22 percent of touring bikes. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation offers courses that emphasize training and education in safety issues affecting motorcyclists. It has urged states to include skills and safety as a greater part of licensing tests, and some states offer insurance discounts for riders who take safety courses.

Motorcycle accidents due to a rider's lack of protection may result in serious injuries requiring medical treatment and cause the rider to lose time at work. Consulting an attorney may help alleviate that burden by filing a personal injury suit if after reviewing accident data it is determined that another motorist was at fault.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Motorcycle Crashes", February 2015

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