Alabama Motorcycle Deaths Fall – Officials Warn Against Complacency

The Governors Highway Safety Association has released a new report indicating the number of motorcycle fatalities has fallen significantly, both in Alabama and at the national level.

Across the U.S., motorcycle deaths were down 7.2 percent in the first nine months of last year, compared to the first nine months of 2012, according to preliminary figures. In Alabama, officials noted a 22 percent decline.

It would be great if we could assume that officials finally succeeded with a motorcycle awareness campaign that was extremely effective or that motor vehicle operators were at last exhibiting greater caution. However, Montgomery motorcycle accident lawyers, know that the decline is more a stabilizing statistic, following an especially sharp rise in motorcycle fatalities in 2012.

Officials say that the number of motorcycle fatalities shot up in 2012, while the 2013 figures are simply more in line with what we saw in 2011. Prior to that, with the exception of a few random years, the number of motorcycle deaths has increased steadily since the mid-1990s, largely attributable to the fact that there are more riders on the road.

The reasons for the increase in 2012 can be traced primarily to two critical factors: the weather, and gas prices. Temperatures that year were higher than average – in some places record-setting. This drew more motorcyclists to the road. Additionally, high gas prices prompted many to choose to commute via motorcycle, as more fuel-efficient.

Meanwhile, 2013 was cooler and wetter, dampening the chances that riders would head out. In the first nine months of 2012, Alabama reported 73 motorcycle-related fatalities. The following year, there were 57 – a 22 percent decline.

On a national scale, there were 4,046 motorcycle deaths in 2012. Early figures indicate that in 2013, there were 3,753 – a 7.2 percent decrease.

Unfortunately, there is evidence, at least in Alabama, that we are not going to see the same kind of drop in 2014.

Just recently in Hartford, a 19-year-old was killed on his 2013 Kawasaki motorcycle after colliding with a pickup truck. Then in Thomasville, a 59-year-old was killed when his Kawasaki motorcycle left the roadway and crashed. In Dothan, two people were killed in a three-motorcycle accident after an apparent tire blow-out.

The GHSA report was released just as officials made note of the fact that May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. While a huge part of the campaign is working to alert other motorists to watch and look twice for motorcyclists, those operating bikes need to do so defensively. This involve:

  • Wearing the appropriate gear – for the weather, time of day and type of ride.
  • Making sure you know the local traffic laws and that you’ve planned your route in advance. If traveling with other bikers, make sure to coordinate those plans with them so there are no surprises.
  • Inspecting your motorcycle before each and every ride.
  • Drive sober and remain alert.

Call Allred & Allred P.C. at 334.396.9200 to speak with a Montgomery personal injury lawyer.

Additional Resources:
Motorcycle Traffic Fatalities By State, 2013 Preliminary Data, May 2014, Governors Highway Safety Association
More Blog Entries:
Liability and Pure Contributory Negligence in Alabama, May 12, 2014, Montgomery Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog

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