The prolonged winter of this year may have been discouraging to a lot of Americans, but the longer-than-normal season actually had some positive effects. For one, it has been credited with 2013's decline in motorcycle-related deaths. Unfortunately, Texas did not share in the national decline, and motorcycle accident-related fatalities increased significantly within the state.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, motorcyclist deaths declined by seven percent nationally compared to 2012. The GHSA evaluation covered the first nine months of the year, a period with cooler weather than in 2012. The weather in 2012 was unusually dry and warm, leading more people to use their motorcycles more frequently.
Overall, two-thirds of the country recorded decreases in motorcyclist deaths. But Texas was not part of the decline. The state had 22 more deaths during the study period.
The GHSA has recommended several countermeasures to prevent motorcycle deaths including better helmet laws, training for riders and public awareness campaigns. Unfortunately, many states are rolling back some of their helmet laws. Currently, 31 states do not require helmet use for all riders.
Preventing motorcycle accidents and major injuries and fatalities does not rest solely with riders. Other motorists also have a responsibility to look out for motorcycles at all times. Many motorcycle accidents, in fact, are the result of drunken distracted drivers and those who simply fail to follow traffic rules. Such actions compromise the safety of riders, who have minimal protection compared to drivers to ride in cars, trucks and other vehicles.
Riders injured in negligence-based accidents have legal recourse to hold negligent drivers accountable. A rider can file a person injury lawsuit against a negligent driver to seek compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering. Family members can also file a wrongful death lawsuit if a rider loses his or her life because of an accident.
Source: Governing.com, "Motorcycle Deaths Decline in 2013," Daniel C. Vock, May 6, 2014