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Education and Helmet Usage May Decrease Risks for Pennsylvania Motorcyclists

Summer is just about here, and as the days grow warmer more Pennsylvanians take to the road on their motorcycles.  Although the start of June brought an end to May’s Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, our Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys want to reiterate to motorists to be vigilant for motorcyclists sharing the road with you.  Unfortunately, a recent study about the continued high number of nationwide motorcycle accident fatalities reminds us all that motorcyclists are still faced with serious dangers when taking to the roadways.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, even though the number of fatalities among automobile accidents has reached the lowest number since 1949, a nearly 2% decline over last year’s numbers, “motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas in highway safety where progress is not being made.” The GHSA reports that motorcycle fatalities remained unchanged at about 4,500 in both 2011 and 2010.  However, Pennsylvania had nearly 30 fewer motorcycle accident fatalities from 2010 to 2011.

Motorcycle fatality data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia was evaluated by the GHSA to find any correlations in motorcycle accidents and statewide safety initiatives or motorcyclists’ behavior.  Primarily, the lack of change in fatalities was blamed on the warm weather and the rise in gas prices for bringing out more cyclists. Pennsylvania officials claimed education, training and publicity played a role in decreasing the state’s motorcyclist fatalities.

The GHSA blames a lack of helmet laws for adding to the fatality burden. It points out that Pennsylvania repealed its helmet law in 2003. With the repeal, the state saw a decrease in motorcycle helmet use among riders in crashes from 82% to 58%, increased death rate from head injuries by 66%, and increased number of riders hospitalized for head injuries by 43%.

The GHSA points out that enactment of helmet laws “is the quickest and most effective method to increase helmet use and reduce motorcyclist head injuries and fatalities.”

In addition to helmet use, the GHSA recommends that states adopt strategies to reduce alcohol impairment, reduce speeding, train all motorcycle operators, and encourage other drivers to share the road with motorcyclists.

“It is disappointing that we are not making progress in motorcycle safety, particularly as fatalities involving other motorists continue to decline,” said GHSA Chairman Troy Costales. “Every motorcyclist deserves to arrive at their destination safely. These fatality figures represent real people – they’re family, friends and neighbors.”

Our Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys agree with Costales.  We encourage all motorcyclists, regardless of the law, to wear a safety helmet.  We also urge all Pennsylvania drivers to do your part to stay alert and focused when behind the wheel.

About Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys

Munley Law is a Pennsylvania accident and injury law firm that represents car accident victims and their families throughout the state of Pennsylvania and the Northeast, including those injured in accidents that involve speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, fatigued driving, aggressive driving and careless driving in hazardous weather conditions. The Pennsylvania personal injury law firm’s additional practice areas include trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, toxic chemicals, workplace injuries, nursing home litigation and other serious accidents. To contact the law firm, use the firm’s online contact form.

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