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Crunching the numbers on fatal motorcycle accidents

Now that summer is here, motorcyclists will be a common sight on Pennsylvania roads. However, whether driving on the interstate or heading down a winding country road, it is important to keep an eye out for motorcycles. Motorcycle unawareness can often lead to motorcycle accidents, and the statistics surrounding fatal motorcycle accidents are sobering, indeed.

For example, in 2015, there were 4,693 fatal motorcycle accidents in the United States, constituting 13 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that year. Moreover, this amounted to two times the number of fatal motorcycle accidents in 1997. Fifty-nine percent of fatal motorcycle accidents in 2015 involved more than one vehicle, a number that is about the same as it was in the 1980s.

Age also played a role in fatal motorcycle accidents. In 1982, motorcyclists age 50 and up constituted 3 percent of all motorcyclist fatalities, compared to 35 percent in 2015. However, in 1975, motorcyclists, age 30 or below, constituted 80 percent of all motorcycle fatalities, compared to 30 percent in 2015.

When it comes to gender, in 2015, 91 percent of motorcyclists who lost their life in a motorcycle accident were men. In contrast, 61 percent of women killed in motorcycle accidents in 2015 were passengers on the motorcycle. Moreover, of all motorcycle passenger fatalities, 95 percent of those killed were women.

In addition, in 2015, 60 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents took place between the months of May and September. The number of fatal motorcycle accidents was highest in July and then the number of fatal motorcycle accidents was lowest in February. And, in 2015, 49 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents took place on a Saturday or Sunday, and those fatalities were most apt to take place after 6:00 p.m.

Finally, in 2015, 48 percent of fatal motorcycle accidents took place on a major road. Rural areas saw more fatal motorcycle accidents than urban areas at 49 and 41 percent, respectively.

As this shows, motorcycle fatalities are a common occurrence. Since motorcycle unawareness can lead to a motorcyclist's death, it is important that other motorists look out for motorcycles sharing the road not just during the summer months, but also all year long. The failure to do so could cause a fatal motorcycle crash, and subsequent liability on the part of the negligent party.

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