A recent motorcycle crash that took the life of an Alabama trooper has local law enforcement sounding the alarm on the increase in these types of accidents, as covered by the Dothan Eagle.
As reported by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), state troopers have worked on 584 crashes involving motorcycles over the last 12 months in the state. Since the beginning of 2017, all of the state law enforcement agencies together handled 1,566 motorcycle accidents.
Captain Tracy Nelson, who works with ALEA, noted that it’s important for motorcyclists to be cautious on the road because accidents occur daily and can happen to anyone. Nelson added that many off-duty troopers have been severely injured over the years. The captain said that many accidents end up with an “undetermined” cause because of the unique nature of these types of crashes, but aggressive drivers and being run off the road by other vehicles are two common suspected culprits.
The ALEA captain spoke about the importance of helmet use by motorcyclists, particularly helmets that meet the state Department of Transportation’s specifications. Alabama requires all motorcyclists to wear a helmet with a chin strap that is secured and a solid external layer. As noted by Nelson, no rider should take chances by wearing unapproved helmets because their chances of survival in a crash increase when they are wearing a proper helmet.
Alarming trends in motorcycle accidents seen nationwide
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) paints a rather grim picture when it comes to motorcycle accident trends over the years. IIHS reports that in 2015 alone, the death rate for motorcyclists in crashes was nearly 29 times that of the people involved in car crashes. Due to the lack of protection on a bike, serious head injuries and fatalities are common among motorcyclists in accidents. The IIHS says helmets are around 37 percent effective in preventing fatalities and 67 percent effective in preventing brain injuries in motorcycle crashes.
In 2016, 4,976 motorcyclists died in accidents. While motorcyclist deaths had been dropping in number from the early part of the 1980s to the late 1990s, the rate increased in 1998 and continued to do so throughout 2008. In 2016, motorcyclist deaths accounted for 13 percent of all crash deaths, and this figure was also more than twice the number of motorcyclist deaths for 1997. Sixty percent of motorcyclist deaths in 2016 involved multiple-vehicle crashes.
Unfortunately, in Alabama and elsewhere, motor vehicle drivers continue to struggle when it comes to sharing the road with motorcyclists. Speeding drivers and a failure to yield the right of way to a motorcyclist are common accident causes. The rise of driving while distracted is another factor in these accidents as drivers are less aware of their surroundings when distracted and more likely to miss a smaller vehicle like a bike.
Even the most cautious motorcyclists can find themselves in an accident because of a careless driver. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle crash, speak to an attorney, like a motorcycle accident lawyer Denver CO riders turn to, about your case.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Richard Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injury practice.