Fall 2018 May Bring More Motorcyclist Deaths

Fall 2018 May Bring More Motorcyclist Deaths

If you ride a motorcycle, you most likely have a favorite season. For many riders, it’s the fall. Or, perhaps your motorcycle is your main means of transport, so you ride it year-round. A greater number of people are enjoying motorcycles these days: it’s estimated that more than 8 million motorcycles are regularly cruising our highways. However, enjoying the pleasures of biking comes with a downside—motorcycle deaths in Indiana have jumped higher, and they are likely to keep climbing.

The shifting seasons can play a part in motorcycle fatalities. Colder weather, along with shorter days, means that you’ll need to adapt to seasonal differences in order to ride your motorcycle more safely.

Unique Autumn Risks

While the cooler weather for riding offers welcome relief from Indiana’s sultry summer, taking your bike on the road during the fall produces some hazards that don’t occur at other times of the year. Some of these risks include:

  • Glare problems. Shorter days and different angles for the rising and setting sun can make it hard for you to see. Even more importantly, glare makes it difficult for drivers to see you.
  • Autumn leaves are beautiful, but wet leaves can be as slippery—and as dangerous—as snow or ice on the road.
  • The colder temperatures can make it more difficult for you to control your bike. Hands stiff from freezing temperatures may not be able to control a motorcycle adequately. Dressing for the cold is not only a comfort issue.

Grim Numbers in Indiana

In 2017, 144 people died in motorcycle crashes, largely because of driving while under the influence and a lack of sufficient driver training. In 2016, the motorcycle fatalities totaled 100. 2017’s figure is the highest number of deaths since 2012, and comes after two years in which fatalities dropped.

Why the enormous increase in deaths? Several reasons have been put forth:

  • We have more drivers (of both cars and motorcycles) who die in crashes and show a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. The increase in drivers under the influence has continued to go up since 2014.
  • We have more unendorsed motorcycle riders. “Unendorsed” means riders who haven’t completed essential training and who don’t demonstrate safe riding skills.
  • Indiana includes scooters and mopeds in their motorcycle fatality figures. Why is this significant? Because someone who has lost their driver’s license because of DUIs can get around on a scooter or moped, and neither vehicle requires a license or testing. (Motorcycles do require testing to obtain a license.)
  • Distracted driving is also a factor. Believe it or not, some motorcyclists are using their phones to text while they are riding.

Will Wingfield, spokesman for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, believes that distracted driving numbers are underreported. Commenting on the increase in motorcycle fatalities, Wingfield noted, “We started to see an uptick in this trend during the riding season [in 2018], which we’re in right now. That’s something we don’t want to see.”

How Can I Ride More Safely this Fall?

In addition to what you already do to ride your motorcycle safely, try the following ideas this fall:

  • Adjust your speed so you can maneuver quickly if a driver doesn’t see you.
  • Position yourself in your lane so that you are as visible as possible.
  • Look well ahead of you for wet leaves on the road, especially when approaching curves.
  • Modify your clothing so that you stay sufficiently warm, especially your extremities. You may need nimble fingers to control your bike.

A good motorcyclist always knows their bike, and knows when not to ride because of weather conditions. We hope you’ll have an accident-free fall while loving your ride!

We Believe Justice Matters.

Even the most cautious motorcyclist cannot control what others do on the road. If you believe your motorcycle accident was caused by another party or parties, consider hiring an Indiana motorcycle accident lawyer who will provide you with competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorneys Mike Stephenson and Brady Rife. The entire legal team at McNeely Stephenson is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. While monetary compensation can never undo the damage done as the result of a crash, a financial recovery can ease the burdens of overwhelming medical bills, loss of income, and disability. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike or Brady today for a free initial consultation. If you prefer, use our online contact form.