With warmer weather leading to more motorcyclists on Indiana’s roads, we thought it would be a good time to look closer at our state’s motorcycle crash trends.
And if the data from the 2017 Governor’s Highway Safety Association report repeats itself, the outlook for Indiana motorcyclists is rather grim.
The safety report contains a table that lists each state and its increase/decrease of fatal motorcycle accidents from 2016 to 2017. No state had a larger percentage increase than Indiana. In fact, 30 states and the District of Columbia reported a percentage decrease in fatalities.
In 2016, our state reported 100 motorcycle accidents that resulted in a fatality. That number increased by 44% in 2017, leaving 144 motorcyclists dead as a result of an accident. The immediate question that follows is “why?”
Indiana Motorcyclist Dangers
The report contains trends and patterns that serve as potential causes for the increase in fatal motorcycle accidents throughout the country, including some that are specific to Indiana:
Indiana’s helmet law is believed to be a contributing factor in our state’s large number of fatal motorcycle accidents.
Currently, Indiana (and 27 other states) has what is known as a “partial law” with regard to helmets. Only motorcycle riders and passengers under the age of 18 are required by law to wear a helmet.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have a “universal law” that requires all riders and passengers wear a helmet, while 3 states (Illinois, Iowa, and New Hampshire) have no helmet law.
With motorcyclists being completely exposed, the odds of a non-helmeted motorcyclist suffering a fatal brain injury increases significantly.
The report does not give us specific age-based crash statistics for Indiana, however, it does note that riders over the age of 40 represent the largest number of fatal motorcycle accidents in the majority of states. This represents a a shift from previous years when younger riders made up the vast number of these crashes.
With this in mind, it is important to note that riders under 40 in 8 states still accounted for the majority of fatal motorcycle accidents. Specifically, 18-29-year-old males on “sports bikes” totaled the largest number of fatal bike accidents in Washington.
In 2016, the percentage (25%) of fatal motorcycle accidents involving alcohol impairment surpassed the number of alcohol-related incidents among passenger vehicles (21%), light trucks (20%), and large trucks (2%).
And while the numbers above represent incidents in which the motorcyclist was impaired, Indiana bikers also face the continued danger of being struck by drunk drivers operating passenger vehicles.
A recent alcohol-related fatal crash involving a motorcyclist in Hamilton County found the driver of a passenger to vehicle to be almost twice the legal limit with a BAC of 0.15.
Day of the week
Weekdays saw the largest increase in fatal motorcycle accidents for most states. However, in 2017, Indiana reported a significant increase in fatalities that occurred during the weekends.
The report does not include an explanation as to why the majority of Indiana’s fatal motorcycle crashes occurred on weekends.
While road conditions are not listed in the Report, we thought it important to include this as a potential factor for our state’s motorcyclists. Ask anyone who lives in our state, or passes through Indiana, about the condition of our roads and they will likely respond with an expletive or two!
Indiana’s weathers wreak havoc on our highways, interstates, and county roads. The combination of plows, salting, and a transition from freezing to warming temperatures leads to a minefield of potholes and deteriorating roadway surfaces.
Passenger cars are routinely disabled by potholes, however, motorcyclists face a far greater danger due to their complete exposure. A biker that hits a pothole or crumbling section of roadway is unlikely to escape with a simple flat tire.
In response to a large Hoosier outcry, Mayor Joe Hogsett recently announced his 2019 transportation improvement plan that included a budget of $126 million to help improve our roads.
Steps to take after a motorcycle accident
In addition to fatal motorcycle accidents, Indiana also accounts for a large number of incidents that result in traumatic injuries which are non-life threatening. As such, it is imperative that motorcyclists understand the challenges they will face as they attempt to seek compensation for their injuries.
Having handled serious motorcycle accident cases across the state of Indiana for more than 20 years, Boulton Law Group has found that insurance companies can be highly critical of bikers due to stereotypes and embellished witness statements, i.e., witnesses claiming a motorcyclist was traveling at a higher speed than they actually were.
With this in mind, it is important that injured motorcyclists take the following steps after their accident:
Immediately seek medical treatment – While most motorcycle accidents involve injuries that require obvious medical attention, we have also helped bikers that suffered soft-tissue injuries, contusions, and/or other injuries that are not considered traumatic.
Despite how minor the injuries may initially seem, it is important that motorcyclists be seen by a doctor as soon as possible following their accident.
Contact an experienced motorcycle accident attorney – To help ensure the insurance company does not place liability on you for an accident that was not your fault, you will need professional legal assistance.
While you focus on recovering from your injuries, attorney Boulton will work to secure evidence, witness statements, accident reports, and conduct any additional investigations that will help to ensure your case is presented to the insurance company with all the facts on your side.
Do not speak with the insurance company – Because motorcycle accidents often represent large exposure for insurance companies, adjusters will attempt to reduce their liability as soon as possible.
Adjusters will commonly ask for recorded statements and/or details about your injuries. The best course of action is to refuse these calls or refer them to your attorney.
Free Motorcycle Accident Case Evaluation
Boulton Law Group has witnessed the impact a motorcycle accident can have on a rider and/or their family. Often times, there is a long road of physical and mental recovery. Having a professional, warm, and caring legal team on your side will provide much needed support in the days and months following your incident.
Attorney Boulton offers Indiana motorcycle accident victims and their families a Zero Fee Guarantee. This means that you will never be charged for a case evaluation or legal advice related to your motorcycle accident. In fact, the only time our firm is reimbursed for its legal representation is after we make a recovery on your behalf.
To speak to attorney Boulton about your options, and have all your questions answered at no cost, you can contact him direct at 317-350-2680. You can also write to us with the details of your motorcycle accident by using our confidential contact form.
Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 20 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana reclaim what was taken from them. His firm was created for for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.