According to preliminary data released earlier this year by the federal government, the number of motorcyclists killed in auto accidents increased at least 9 percent in 2012 over 2011.
That equates to about 5,000 people who died driving or riding a motorcycle last year.
Motorcycle deaths in Missouri increased over 20 percent for the first three quarters of 2012 compared to 2011. A further look at the early numbers show that motorcycle fatalities across the nation jumped 24 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 2011.
Why this increase in motorcycle deaths in traffic accidents?
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), there are several potential answers for more fatal motorcycle accidents in 2012.
The weather is one possible contributing factor. Last year’s spring was much warmer than normal, providing a bigger window of opportunity to drive motorcycles in cold-winter states. The report specifically singles out Missouri’s mild winter last year as a cause for more motorcycle riders and, therefore, the possibility of more motorcycle riders and passengers killed.
The economy may also have been responsible for more motorcyclists on the road in 2012. Some states fared better than others last year. In states with an improving economy, according to the GHSA study, more people had discretionary income to buy a motorcycle. In states with a slow economic recovery, such as Missouri, the theory is that more people purchased motorcycles than usual, as they are cheaper to operate than cars and trucks.
Other Driver Usually at Fault for Fatal Motorcycle Accident
Regardless of weather or economic conditions, the number one cause of motorcycle accidents is other drivers’ negligence. Studies have shown that the large majority of motorcycle accidents involve at least one other passenger vehicle, and that the large majority of those accidents are the fault of the passenger vehicle driver, not the motorcyclist.
Motorcyclists face many hazards on the road. If tragedy strikes, an attorney experienced in investigating fatal motorcycle accidents can hold accountable those at fault for their negligent behavior behind the wheel.