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Motorcycle accidents happen everywhere in the country, including Oklahoma. These accidents have among the most devastating outcomes of any motor vehicle accident, with serious injuries and death occurring at a rate three times that for cars and light trucks, according to 2011 data recently released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA defines someone operating a motorcycle as the rider and another person seated on the vehicle as a passenger, although both riders and passengers tend to be grouped together in most statistical compilations. The term “motorcycles” refers to any two- or three-wheeled motorized vehicle, including motor scooters and mopeds.

Recent NHTSA statistics showed a two percent increase in motorcycle-related fatalities from 2010 (4,518) to 2011 (4,612). These numbers are still well below the peaks seen in the last dozen years, with 2005, 2006 and 2007 posting both the highest total numbers of fatalities and the highest fatality rates. Half of all motorcycles involved in fatal accidents, 2,449, collided with other motor vehicles. NHTSA data shows that accidents involving motorcyclists were more than 30 times more likely to result in an accident-related death for the motorcyclists that a passenger car occupant.

Motorcycle accidents have many causes, but a significant one is alcohol. In 2011, 30 percent of the total number of motorcyclists who died in collisions had a blood alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, which is the legal limit across the country. Speeding is another factor, although NHTSA only considers it a contributing factor if authorities cited or charged a motorcyclist with speeding or driving too fast.

As with other types of motor vehicle accidents, negligence is often an issue. Motorcycle accidents are far more likely to injure riders and passengers, leading to costly medical treatments and related expenses. An accident victim may be entitled to compensation if the accident was caused by another party’s negligence.

Source: Dot.gov, “Motorcycles,” accessed on July 28, 2014