Higher gas prices mean more motorcycle accident fatalities

The results of a recent study by the National Safety Council showed that there is a strong tie between gas prices and motorcycle fatality rates. This news may not be a surprise to some.

Motorcycles are fuel efficient. When gas prices are high, motorcycle owners have strong a financial incentive to ride them more often than less fuel-efficient vehicles. When more motorcycles are on the road, the chances of motorcycle accidents happening increase.

Motorcycle accidents often result in fatalities because motorcycles are one of the most vulnerable vehicles on the road. They are much less visible to other drivers. They also do not have the same safety equipment improvements that cars and trucks have enjoyed over the years, such as seatbelts, antilock brakes and airbags, just to name a few.

The main and best safety feature of a motorcycle is a helmet, and the rate of helmet use has dropped significantly, with many states having repealed previous mandatory helmet laws. Wearing a safety helmet can reduce your chances of a head injury if you are involved in an accident.

Pennsylvania changed its helmet law in 2003. Previously, everyone riding a motorcycle on Pennsylvania roads was required to wear a helmet. Now, only those under 21 years of age and those who have been licensed less than two years are required to do so. And even those riders can have the helmet requirement waived if they complete an approved safety course.

There are many good things about motorcycle riding aside from fuel efficiency. Riders everywhere agree that there is nothing like the freedom and thrill of the open road. But there is just no way to perfectly escape the risks that go along with it. Pennsylvania saw a 43 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities between 2001 and 2013. During the same time, fatalities in all other vehicles dropped 27 percent.

Many motorcycle accidents happen because other drivers are not watching out for motorcycles properly and are doing other things while driving, such as texting. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation and may wish to seek the advice of an experienced personal injury attorney.