Information provided by individual states across the country indicate that more than 5,000 people were killed on motorcycles in 2015. That’s 450 more deaths or approximately a 10 percent increase from 2014. 2015 represented only the third time in history, and the first time since 2008, that the number of motorcycle fatalities was above 5,000 in the United States. Motorcycle fatalities increased in thirty-one (31) states and decreased in sixteen (16) states, including Pennsylvania. Fatalities remained roughly the same in D.C. and three other states.
The report also states motorcycles have a fatality rate 26 times that of passenger vehicles. However, the report also states motorcycle helmets decrease the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent. If all motorcyclists in fatal crashes had worn helmets in 2013, an estimated 715 lives would have been saved. At this time, only 19 states and the District of Columbia have universal helmet laws. Pennsylvania only requires those under the age of 21 to wear a helmet.
There were 186 motorcycle fatalities in Pennsylvania in 2014 compared to only 179 in 2015, a 4 percent decrease. Our neighbors, Ohio and New York, both had a 16 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities as these increased from 140/134 in 2014 to 162/156 respectively in 2015. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, New Jersey had only 49 fatalities in 2015 compared to 61 in 2014, a 20 percent decrease.
2015 was drier and warmer than past years, which means that motorcyclists rode more in 2015. Thus, one reason for the increase in fatalities in some states was the longer riding season. Another reason was cheaper gasoline. Another telling fact was the increase in fatalities in urban areas indicating that more people are riding motorcycles in cities, which are traditionally high traffic areas and therefore more dangerous.
If you live in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre or the surrounding area, and have suffered an injury due to your involvement in a motorcycle accident, contact Powell Law at (570) 961-0777. The consultation is FREE.