The Great Lakes State is known for its picturesque beauty. For many riders, there’s no better way to enjoy Michigan’s more than 3,288 miles of shoreline than on a motorcycle. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents occur more frequently than we’d like to think. Here, the experienced motorcycle accident attorneys of Christensen Law have provided some vital information on how often accidents happen and what you can do to protect yourself as a rider or passenger.
How Often Do Motorcycle Accidents Happen in Michigan?
According to data published by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP):
- There were 2,723 Michigan traffic crashes involving motorcycles in one recent year.
- That same year, 2,176 motorcyclists were injured and 122 were killed in traffic crashes.
- Of the 122 motorcyclist deaths that occurred, 36 were alcohol-related and four were related to driver cellphone use.
- The recent death rate for motorcycle riders was 16.2 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. That compares to a rate of 1 death per 100 million vehicle miles traveled for all drivers statewide.
- Motorcycles were involved in nearly 1 percent of all Michigan traffic accidents in one recent year, despite accounting for less than 0.3 percent of all registered vehicles.
- A motorcyclist was injured once every 4 hours and 2 minutes in Michigan, and motorcyclist crash injuries were “proportionately more severe” than crash injuries sustained by motor vehicle occupants.
Motorcycle Safety Gear Statistics
Visibility and personal safety gear are major factors in motorcycle crashes. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation recommends that motorcyclists use high-visibility equipment and other types of protective gear, such as:
- Light or brightly colored helmets
- Protective eyewear or face shields
- Bright or reflective high-visibility clothing
- Clothing made of leather or other thick material
- Long sleeves and pants
- Over-the-ankle riding boots
- Thick gloves
Data from the Michigan OHSP indicate:
- 44.3 percent of motorcyclists who were killed in traffic crashes in a recent year were not wearing a helmet.
- The rate of unhelmeted motorcyclists killed in accidents was 2.8 percent higher than the rate of helmeted motorcyclists who were killed.
Do Motorcycle Helmets Save Lives?
Traffic Safety Facts published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) demonstrates without a doubt that motorcycle helmets save lives:
- Helmet use saved an estimated 1,872 lives in the United States in one recent year alone.
- The NHTSA estimates 749 more lives could have been saved if all motorcyclists had been wearing helmets that year.
- Helmet use saved roughly $3.5 billion in economic costs and $21 billion in comprehensive costs, which include quality of life losses, that year.
- If all motorcyclists had worn helmets that year, the NHTSA estimates an additional $1.5 billion in economic costs and $8.9 billion in comprehensive costs could have been saved.
How to Increase Safety While Riding
As a Michigan motorcycle rider, you can keep yourself safe and decrease your risk of sustaining serious crash-related injuries by:
- Wearing a helmet with a face shield or protective eyewear at all times
- Wearing appropriate, high-visibility protective gear such as leather clothing, non-skid boots, and thick gloves
- Obeying the speed limit and all other traffic laws
- Practicing defensive riding by keeping your headlights on, staying mindful of other drivers’ blind spots, and signaling your intent well in advance of turning
- Taking formal motorcycle riding and safety education courses
- Performing regular inspections of your tires, lights, fluid levels, and other critical components
- Avoiding the road during dangerous weather conditions and at night
- Avoiding the road if you’re feeling fatigued or if you’ve been drinking
Most Dangerous Roads to Ride on in Michigan
ClickOnDetroit.com recently published a list of Michigan’s top 10 most dangerous roads. Based on fatal crash data, the list of deadly state roads includes:
- Gratiot Avenue between East Grand Boulevard and 7 Mile Road in Detroit
- A section of Dort Highway, also known as the M-54, running from East Pierson Road to East Morris Road in Flint
- 28th Street, or the M-11, between Eastern Avenue SE and Byron Center Avenue in Grand Rapids
- The section of I-75 that runs from I-96 to the I-94 interchange in Detroit
- US-131 from Wealthy Street SE to 44th Street SW in Grand Rapids
- Telegraph Road Grand River to Joy Road in Wayne County near Detroit
- The section of 7 Mile Road between Telegraph Road and the John C Lodge Freeway in Detroit
- The segment of US-10 between North Stiles Road and North Washington Avenue in Ludington
- The section of I-94 between Viking Road and Telegraph Road near the Detroit Metro Airport
- A segment of East Davison Street between Conant Street and I-96 in Detroit
Motorcycle Accidents and Your Legal Rights
If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident in Michigan, it’s crucial to be aware of your rights and what types of compensation might be available to you.
Michigan is a no-fault auto insurance state, which means most drivers will rely on their own insurance providers to cover accident-related losses. Motorcycles, however, are excluded as motor vehicles under Michigan’s no-fault laws. This means that bikers often don’t get the same protection and coverage that other motorists do. Fortunately, bikers are entitled to no-fault benefits if a motor vehicle (car or truck) was involved in the accident.
If another vehicle was involved, you could seek compensation for your medical bills and lost wages (e.g., PIP benefits) from the owner of the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle (if different), your own no-fault insurance policy if you’re the rider, the owner of the bike’s insurance policy (if different), or the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) up to $250,000, in that order.
If another vehicle negligently caused your crash, you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering from that vehicle’s owner and driver. If you have uninsured (or underinsured) motorist coverage, you may also be able to obtain compensation from that insurance company.
Because recovering compensation as a biker can be challenging under Michigan law, it is crucial to consult with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer about your rights.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in Michigan Today
The legal team at Christensen Law has more than 30 years of experience handling motorcycle accident cases in Michigan. If you’ve been hurt, we’ll be ready to stand up and fight for you. Contact us for a free and confidential consultation today.