Statistics about motorcycle accidents can be confusing. Even the Governors Highway Safety Association, which publishes one of the nation’s most comprehensive annual reports about motorcycle accident statistics, notes that the numbers can vary widely from year to year, for reasons that are not clear.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that motorcycle fatalities totaled 144 in 2018. This was down from 157 in 2017, and a shocking 200 in 2016. But look back just a couple years earlier and it’s hard to see a pattern. In 2014 the number stood at 140.
The Governors Highway Safety Association sees similar fluctuations in these statistics. In its report of preliminary data for 2017, the most recent year available, the group noted that motorcyclist fatalities rose steadily from 1997 through 2008, when they reached an all-time high at 5,312. Since then, the numbers have varied, but have not fallen far. The final figures for 2016 showed 5,286 motorcyclist deaths nationwide.
There are many variables at work in making these rates go up or down. One of the most important is simply the number of motorcycles on the road. As with any other type of vehicle, the more motorcycles on the road, the more motorcycles will be involved in accidents. Where motorcycles differ from other vehicles is in the vulnerability of motorcycle riders to any sort of accident. An accident that might leave little more than a scratch on a car can cause a motorcyclist to fall and experienced severe or even fatal injury.
Good motorcyclists work hard to protect themselves from hazards in the road, but it’s hard for them to protect themselves from inattentive drivers who fail to notice them in time, leading to an accident.
Motorcyclists who are injured due to the negligence of another driver can recover compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In the case of a fatal accident, the victim’s family may seek compensation for their damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.