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How common are fatal motorcycle accidents in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Personal Injury

Statistics often mean little to people until they become one. Last year, 115 motorcyclists were killed on Virginia roads, and almost 2,000 people suffered injuries in motorcycle crashes. During the first five months of 2023, 162 people were injured and 9 killed on Virginia roads – and that was before the height of the summer season. Most motorcycle crashes occur between May and August, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Despite advances in safety technology, gear and laws requiring helmets, the number of motorcyclists injured and killed on Virginia roads is troubling. Fatal motorcycle accidents are a nationwide problem. In 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motorcyclists made up the largest percentage of all total road fatalities (14%) since 1975.

Why even safe motorcyclists are at risk

Too often, motorcyclists are injured or killed through no fault of their own. Of course, driving while under the influence, speeding or driving while distracted are highly dangerous behaviors. However, so are weather and road conditions. Virginia can be rainy and windy throughout the year. Fallen leaves in the autumn can be highly slippery.

Despite these dangers, car, truck and SUV drivers are often responsible for serious collisions involving motorcyclists. Unfortunately, the motorcycle drivers and passengers are the ones who suffer for other drivers’ mistakes. Motorcyclists are at risk from distracted, reckless and negligent drivers, just like everyone on the road is. However, they also have to face the unique danger that comes with traveling in a vehicle that doesn’t form a protective shell around them.

What is inattentional blindness?

Inattentional blindness occurs because people are looking out for larger vehicles and don’t “see” motorcycles. This is why drivers sometimes make left turns directly into the path of oncoming motorcyclists. Many drivers fail to see motorcycles approaching them from behind when they are changing lanes, passing other cars and driving through intersections. Inattention by a car driver appears to be what caused the motorcycle crash that killed popular actor Treat Williams this summer.

If you or a loved one has been injured or worse by another driver, you or surviving family members are entitled to compensation for losses sustained. Holding an at-fault driver responsible can not only help you recover financially, it can also help save other motorcyclists the same fate.