As some Arkansas residents know, motorcycle accidents resulting in fatalities increased between 1997 and 2008 by more than double. However, statistics showed a drop in fatalities between 2012 and 2013. Improvements in the use of protective gear and a reduction in behavior that precipitates motorcycle accidents has contributed to the drop in the number of fatalities.
Arkansas residents will likely be unsurprised to learn that safety advocates recommend that motorcycle riders and passengers wear a safety helmet at all times. Studies have found that wearing a crash helmet can greatly reduce the likelihood of a traumatic brain injury, which is one of the most common injuries suffered by motorcyclists. These statistics have led lawmakers in many states to make the wearing of safety helmets by motorcyclists mandatory, but Arkansas currently allows riders who are 21 years of age or older to ride without this protection if they choose to.
As Arkansas residents may know, fatal motorcycle accidents have risen since 1999, while fatalities for occupants passenger vehicles and light trucks have decreased. In addition to the lack of external protection afforded those who ride motorcycles, riders face other issues such as the demand for meeting the skills necessary to ride safely, exposure to weather conditions and roadway problems.
Arkansas residents may be interested in news that the federal government could start taking an active role in implementing vehicle-to-vehicle technology during the near future. Its proponents contend that the innovation could ultimately lead to a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of most traffic collisions. Even though motorcyclists are often involved in the most serious accidents, they are not included in the first phase of field testing.
For the year 2012, there was a 7 percent increase in motorcycle fatalities and a 15 percent increase in injuries from 2011. Overall, the 4,957 deaths were the third highest since 2003. The 93,000 injuries in motorcycle crashes in 2012 was also the third-highest total since 2003. However, this may be partially the result of the highest number of vehicle miles traveled in 2012 compared to any other year since 2003.
Arkansas is a state with a healthy mixture of rural and urban areas, and many residents choose to use motorcycles as a form of travel. However, motorcycles are an inherently riskier form of transportation than a four-wheeled enclosed vehicle filled with safety devices. One common and extremely dangerous form of harm that is often experienced on a motorcycle is a spinal injury.
On the night of Sept. 26, one man reportedly lost control of his motorcycle while he was driving on Arkansas 12. This action resulted in the motorcycle crossing the center lane and hitting another motorcyclist and his passenger. The driver of the second motorcycle was pronounced dead at the scene, and his passenger was airlifted to a local hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas. This was the third reported motorcycle accident in Rogers, Arkansas, within one week.
A malfunctioning motorcycle was reportedly the cause of a three-vehicle crash on I-30 in Arkansas on Aug. 4. The motorcycle accident occurred just after 5 p.m. and ended with at least one individual being airlifted for medical care.