Facts About New York Motorcycle Accidents

Facts About New York Motorcycle Accidents

With the coming of warm weather, more motorcycle riders take to the streets of New York. Unfortunately, one result of more motorcycles on the roads is more motorcycle accidents. The month of June 2013 saw numerous motorcycle crashes in New York City and surrounding communities.

Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

It is clear from a review of recent motorcycle accident news reports that the risk of a fatal motorcycle crass is significant. A New York City police officer was killed recently when a car turned suddenly into the path of his motorcycle near his home on Staten Island. He died 48 hours after the accident.
Other recent motorcycle fatalities include a Syracuse woman who died when she lost control of her bike, as did a Queens man on his way to a charitable bike ride. A woman who had been riding on the back of a motorcycle in Brooklyn was tossed into oncoming traffic when the driver lost control. She died after being hit by a taxi that then fled the scene.
Motorcycles, unlike other motorized vehicles on the roads, lack the protection that a structure provides. Even with the best gear, motorcycle riders are highly vulnerable. In addition to not having a metal frame surrounding them, they do not have airbags and other safety features available in automobiles. Because many drivers ofother vehicles do not even see the motorcycle, they often hit the bike at high speeds, increasing the chance of fatalities.
Some motorcycle fatalities are caused by drunk drivers. Others are the tragic end of high speed chases, as evidenced by the death of a high school senior in Western New York. When police tried to stop him for not having a plate on his motorcycle, he fled the scene. Police pursued him; his speed was estimated to be in excess of 100 mph when he crashed into another vehicle more than a mile from the traffic stop.
There were 168 fatalities from motorcycle accidents in New York State in 2011, the last year for which statistics exist. Of these, the driver was the person killed in almost all instances. The other fatalities were motorcycle passengers or pedestrians. The largest number of fatalities was among riders aged 25-29.

Non-Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles groups non-fatal motorcycle accidents by severity. In 2011, non-fatal accidents were categorized as follows:

  • Serious, 21.3 percent
  • Moderate, 28 percent
  • Minor 27.9 percent

The statistics also show that most accidents take place on the weekend. More than half of the accidents involved another vehicle. Nearly as many – 45 percent – were single vehicle crashes. Around four percent involved three or more vehicles. Most motorcycle accidents – around 86 percent –involved male drivers.
The vast majority of injuries and fatalities – 80 percent – involved riders who were wearing helmets. This suggests that helmets alone are not going to prevent injuries, although they certainly lessen the number of fatalities. In addition to wearing protective clothing, there are other things that motorcyclists must do in order to stay safe on the road.
These include wearing light-colored clothing, sturdy footwear and long sleeves and pants. Riders are urged to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, as there is a good chance that other drivers won’t see bikes that are too close. Riders should signal their next move well in advance and use reflective tape on the bike to increase its visibility. Using these and other techniques can help avoid accidents altogether, and is the best way to stay safe and alive when riding a motorcycle.

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