It will soon be Spring: daffodils are in full bloom; iris and crocus shoots are inches above the ground; trees are in full bloom; robins are appearing at our bird feeders; and motorcycle owners are tuning up their engines. Spring – and warmer weather – brings more motorcycles to the roads. Drivers of other vehicles need to start looking more attentively for motorcycles on highways and at intersections.
In 2014, 5,892,082 licensed drivers took to the roads in 7,898,197 vehicles in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These drivers and their vehicles were involved in 120,282 crashes in that year. Of these crashes, there were 700 fatalities from 656 fatal accidents. Of the total number of crashes, 41,594 involved injuries to 63,384 people. All of these numbers were slightly lower than in 2013. The numbers of licensed drivers and registered vehicles increased from 2013 to 2014.
Virginia’s Division of Motor Vehicles has not yet released final statistics for 2014 (as of 3/17/2016). Based on unofficial figures, in 2015 there were 125,800 crashes that caused 65,029 injuries and 753 fatalities. Thus, 2015 brought more crashes, more injuries and more fatalities.
In Virginia, there were 2005 Motorcycle crashes in 2014. Of these crashes, there were 1,778 injuries and 77 fatalities. The majority of the injured were in the following age groups:
- Age 21 – 35 666 injuries
- Age 36-50 477 injuries
- Age 51 – 65 443 injuries
- Age 66 and over 81 injuries.
Crashes involving motorcycles and other vehicles accounted for 56 percent of all motorcycle accident deaths. In general, motorcycle crashes account for a disproportionate number of injuries and deaths in traffic accidents:
- 2,005 motorcycle-involved crashes as a percentage of all crashes (120,282) in 2014. Motorcycle-involved crashes represented 1.66 percent of all crashes.
- 1,778 motorcycle-involved crash injuries as a percentage of all crash injuries (63,384) in 2014. Motorcycle-involved crashes represented 2.80 percent of all crash injuries.
- 77 fatalities from motorcycle-involved crashes as a percentage of all crash fatalities (700). Motorcycle-involved crashes represented 11.0 percent of all crash fatalities.
- Of all motorcycle-involved crashes, 88.68 percent resulted in injuries.
- Of all motorcycle-involved crashes, 3.84 percent resulted in fatalities.
According to the unofficial data, motorcycle crashes again accounted for a disproportionate number of injuries and deaths in 2015 traffic accidents. In 2015, 2,061 motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in 1,978 injuries and 72 fatalities. From 2014 to 2015, the number of motorcycle-involved crashes increased, as did the number of injuries. The number of fatalities decreased slightly.
- 97 percent of all motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in injuries.
- 49 percent of all motorcycle-involved crashes resulted in fatalities.
Not only do motorcycle-involved crashes account for a disproportionate number of injuries and fatalities, the injuries are typically more serious due to the lack of protection provided by the motorcycle (compared to a car). Motorcyclists involved in crashes tend to be thrown farther and land harder than others involved in crashes.
As the official arrival of Spring approaches, all drivers can help to reduce these statistics by paying a little more attention to the presence of motorcycles on the roads.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle crash, or if your loved one has been killed in a crash, the team at Altizer Law, P.C., is available to help you deal with the crash, gather necessary information, build a case while you recover, and represent you in either settlement negotiations or in court to obtain for you the financial settlement to which you are entitled under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.