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New Numbers Indicate 2012 May Set All Time High For Motorcycle Fatalities

What Happened:

Some disturbing statistics were recently released which revealed that the number of fatal motorcycle accidents is poised to hit an all time high. Data collected by the federal government found that 3,922 motorcyclists died on the nation’s roadways in the first nine months of last year. If the projected numbers hold for the remaining three months of the year many expect the final totals to be up nine percent from 2011. At that rate, there would be close to 5,000 motorcycle fatalities for the year, an all time high.

The perplexing thing for many safety experts is that while overall traffic fatalities have declined by large numbers over the last decade or two, motorcycle fatalities have continued to climb. In fact, data shows that motorcycle deaths have increased in 14 of the past 15 years. Over this time period motorcycle deaths have nearly doubled, while traffic fatalities have edged down 23 percent.

Experts blame good weather, higher gas prices and a slightly better economy for the increase in motorcycle deaths. This combination of factors has led to an increase in motorcycle purchases and the more motorcycles on the road, the more motorcycle accidents. Other issues that result in unnecessary motorcycle deaths each year include speeding, alcohol and, of particular importance, a reluctance to wear approved safety helmets.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has said that it believes 706 motorcyclists who died in 2010 would have survived had they been wearing a helmet. Following that same thread, a study out of the University of Michigan followed accident reports in the state after the legislature repealed the mandatory helmet law last year. The study concluded that the number of deadly motorcycle accidents was expected to decline by 21 percent had the law remained in effect, instead, the numbers ended up rising 18 percent.

The Virginia Injury Attorney’s Perspective:

Though devastating and financially costly, such accidents are far from rare as motorcycle crashes claim thousands of lives each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed on the nation’s roadways. During that same period, an estimated 1.2 million people were treated in emergency departments for non-fatal motorcycle-related injuries. Statistics show that injured riders commonly are left with head and neck injuries, sometimes resulting in severe brain trauma or paralysis, especially in instances where riders were thrown from their motorcycle.  

Potentially Helpful Information: 

If you lost a family member in a terrible Virginia car, motorcycle or truck wreck caused by another driver, it’s critical that you turn to an experienced attorney for advice. My firm has successfully represented clients injured in such motorcycle wrecks before. In one case, my firm was able to secure a $450,000 award for a client who was injured in an accident while riding his Harley to a nearby convenience store.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a Virginia (VA) motorcycle accident and you want to learn more about your legal rights and possible options for pursing a claim against the responsible party, read through my firm’s car accident injury guide, which provides some important information about such claims.  

Have Questions? Check out our FAQs

If you were recently injured in a Virginia car, motorcycle or truck accident and are not sure how to move forward, it might be helpful to check out my firm’s answers to some frequently asked questions regarding car accident claims. For instance, you may be wondering what types of damages an injured person can recover or how you can go about calculating and recovering money for lost wages. For these answers and more, read my firm’s Virginia car accident FAQs.

Here's a video discussing how one of our attorneys successfully handled a serious motorcycle accident case:


Randall E. Appleton
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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