Almost 80 Motorcyclists Died in Virginia in 2014
While traffic deaths have decreased in Virginia in recent years, the same cannot be said about motorcycle accidents.
Over the last few years there have been fluctuations in the death rate of motorcycles. Indeed in 2007, Virginia State Police issued a warning about a dramatic increase in motorcyclist deaths, which soared by more than 200 percent in some parts of Hampton Roads such as the Peninsula and in Suffolk. Police said the increasing popularity of motorcycles appears to be one cause for the sharp increase in deaths.
More than 116 motorcyclists died in Virginia that year. However, by 2014 – the most recent year that figures are available for – there were 77 deaths on motorcycles in the Commonwealth comprising 75 riders and two passengers.
Figures from the Virginia Highway Safety Office found a further 10 moped riders died in 2014.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers we are always very concerned about accidents that lead to the deaths and injuries of motorcyclists. We recently published the book What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Accidents in Virginia.
The figures from the Virginia Highway Safety Office provide more information about motorcycle accidents in Virginia. In 2014, there were 1,778 accidents which caused injuries to motorcyclists, equating to 2.8 percent of all traffic injuries. Of those who were injured, 1,628 were riders and 150 were motorcycle passengers.
One figure provides a stark reminder of how much more vulnerable motorcyclists are than car drivers in a crash. The 2,005 motorcycle crashes recorded in Virginia in 2014 represented just 1.7 percent of all accidents. However, motorcyclists represented 11.6 percent of all road fatalities in Virginia for the same year.
Of more than 2,000 crashes involving motorcycles, 70 occurred when a motorcyclist was seeking to avoid another vehicle and 144 when following too closely. Speeding was a factor in 121 motorcycle wrecks. Just over 100 motorcycle crashes were caused by impaired driving.
In 2012, the Washington Post noted how motorcycle deaths were not declining in the same way as other traffic deaths. It noted the fact motorcycle deaths declined in 23 states in the first nine months of 2011, but went up in 26 other states. Maryland saw 13 fewer deaths, Virginia had nine more and the District of Columbia had two more than during the same period in 2010.
The overall decline in deaths since 2005 was attributed, in part, to air bags, seat belt use and vehicle stabilization. These are not factors that are relevant in motorcycles.
While some riders oppose mandatory helmet laws, the Governors Highway Safety Administration said 822 people would have survived crashes in 2008 if they had been wearing helmets.
Nineteen states, including Virginia, Maryland and the District require all motorcyclists to wear helmets. Thirty-one states that once required helmets for all riders later repealed the laws, reducing to some categories of riders, usually those younger than 21 or 18, the mandatory requirement. In three states, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire, no riders are required to wear helmets.
Motorcycle accidents are often disproportionately serious so it’s important to take every safeguard you can. If you have been injured on a motorcycle due to the fault of another rider, or if you have lost a loved one on a motorcycle, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers. See our FAQs on motorcycle accidents.