Motorcycles are frequently seen on the Missouri roadways. People who enjoy the freedom and excitement that accompanies riding a motorcycle take part in the activity year-round. It is especially prevalent during the warmer months. With society slowly returning to normal, people will be enthusiastic get on their bikes and ride. Still, there are inherent dangers with motorcycle riding. Because riders are so vulnerable, an accident can cause severe injuries and fatalities. Researchers track motorcycle crashes to assess why they are happening and to try and prevent them. A troubling spike in motorcycle fatalities has taken place in the past year and riders should be aware of it and why experts believe it is happening.
Fatal motorcycle crashes up 40% compared to a year ago
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), by the last week of June, there were 42 motorcyclists killed on state roadways. That is up from 30 at the same time in 2020. A representative for the MoDOT said there has been an overall increase in fatal accidents of about 9% in general during that same time-frame, but the biggest worry is motorcyclists. Forty percent is a major jump. Riders bear some responsibility in a portion of these accidents, but drivers of passenger vehicles and trucks must do their part to ensure safety.
Known risks to motorcyclists include drivers who did not see them because they were not paying attention. That could be due to distracted driving with a cellphone or it might have been for other reasons. The state changed its law for motorcyclists and helmets in August 2020. If the rider is at least 26, having the proper insurance is sufficient for the rider to decide to ride without a helmet. Safety equipment is a protective device in case there is an accident. When there is a crash and the rider is helmetless, there is obviously greater jeopardy for brain trauma and worse. Helmetless riders have accounted for 18 of the fatalities. At the same time in 2020, there were two helmetless fatalities in Missouri.
Drivers who are under the influence is also a problem. Using alcohol or drugs before getting behind the wheel impairs judgment and inhibits reaction time making it harder to avoid a motorcyclist before it is too late. Most riders adhere to the law, wear all the safety equipment available and take the necessary steps to be safe. That, unfortunately, will not prevent many crashes from happening.
The aftermath of motorcycle accidents can have endless challenges
In a worst-case scenario, riders lose their lives in a motorcycle crash. They can also be severe injuries like broken bones, brain trauma, spinal cord damage, lost limbs and more. These will not only cause the person problems physically, but mentally and emotionally. Medical expenses can be exorbitant and family members could be confronted with the need to help care for a person who cannot take care of themselves. Work may be difficult if not outright impossible. Understanding how to address these issues is imperative. From the beginning, it is useful to have professional assistance with gathering evidence and assessing the situation to determine how to move forward.