Motorcycles can be fun vehicles to operate, but most motorcyclists respect the fact that there are dangers associated with motorcycling. While a motorcyclist can take every safety precaution — wearing a helmet and protective clothing, riding defensively and following traffic rules — there is still the possibility they could be involved in a fatal crash.
According to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States appear to have gone down 5.6 percent in 2017 from 2016. In 2016, nationwide 5,286 motorcyclists lost their lives in a motorcycle accident. Compare this to 2017, where preliminary data suggests around 4,990 motorcyclists lost their lives in a motorcycle accident.
That being said, in Louisiana there was a slight uptick in the number of motorcyclist deaths. In 2016, 92 motorcyclists in Louisiana were killed in motorcycle crashes. This number raised to 95 in 2017 — a 3.3 percent increase.
So, even though nationwide motorcycle accidents may be on the decline, riding a motorcycle is still dangerous. The GHSA reports that per miles driven, the fatality rate for motorcyclists is 28 times greater than the fatality rate per miles driven for those in a standard automobile. Moreover, motorcyclists made up 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2017, a 5.7 percent increase since 1994.
These statistics review the sobering truth that motorcycle crashes are still dangerous, even if they are occurring less frequently. When a motorcyclist is hit by an automobile, the motorcyclist can suffer very serious injuries or even death. Motorists have a duty to drive in a manner that is reasonable under the circumstances. If the motorist breaches this duty by striking a motorcyclist, and this breach was the actual and proximate cause of the motorcyclist’s injuries or death, that motorist may face liability. Keep in mind that every situation is different. Since this post does not contain legal advice, those who are wondering if they can hold a motorist liable for a motorcycle accident should seek the help they need to determine if they can pursue a lawsuit.