August Sees Increase in Motorcycle Accident Deaths
More riders were on the road when the weather was warm, and more riders meant more motorcycle accidents. A recent article in the Sentinel of Pennsylvania suggests that August was a particularly hazardous month for bikers with the largest number of motorcycle collision fatalities reported around the Philadelphia area.
A story from NBC Philadelphia reported that a young motorcyclist died in late August after he was thrown from his bike on I-95 in Ridley Township. Earlier last month, another Philadelphia resident sustained fatal injuries on the Pennsylvania Turnpike after his motorcycle hit a guardrail.
Approximately 8.9 million Pennsylvanians are licensed to drive, and more than 860,000 of those drivers are licensed motorcyclists. According to a Pennsylvania State Police spokesperson Robert Hicks, the “main causes of motorcycle crashes are speed and other drivers not paying attention.”
Motorcycle Crashes: Safety and Prevention
Motorcycle safety is a serious problem in Philadelphia and throughout the tri-state area. Data gathered by PennDOT found 3,427 motorcycle crashes occurred in 2013, and 181 caused fatal injuries. PennDOT also reports that, in about one-third of all fatal motorcycle crashes in the state, the motorcyclist did not contribute to the crash. Speeding, both by motorcyclists and motor vehicle drivers, is the primary contributing factor to motorcycle accidents. In Pennsylvania last year, nearly half of all fatal crashes resulted from speeding.
According to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the following are the most common causes of motorcycle injuries:
- Lack of riding skills;
- Failure to acknowledge the characteristics and/or limitations of a motorcycle;
- Failure to wear protective equipment;
- Failure to follow techniques for defensive driving; and
- Failure to follow the speed limit.
Although many fatal motorcycle accidents occur when a rider is wearing all recommended protective equipment, NHTSA emphasizes the fact that fatality rates are nonetheless reduced by the presence of protective clothing and equipment, which include:
- Helmet that conforms to DOT standards;
- Durable, non-slip gloves;
- Eye protection, such as goggles, glasses, or a helmet with a face shield;
- Pants and jackets to protect from abrasion;
- Brightly colored upper-body clothing; and
- Footwear that covers the feet, ankles, and the lower parts of the leg.
Given that so many motorcycle accidents occur due to speeding, it is essential to always maintain a safe speed. When you encounter a slick road surface or gravel, slow down and take note to avoid the hazardous conditions.