As a motorcycle wreck lawyer, I certainly knew that serious injuries or deaths can occur when a motorcycle is in a wreck. But figures that are now available from the Georgia DOT show that nearly 10% of the people who died in motor vehicle crashes in Georgia were involved in a motorcycle crash. Even worse, according to statistics provided by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the number of motorcycle fatalities in Georgia is dramatically increasing.
Stating the obvious, GDOT notes that motorcycles “are smaller than almost every other type of vehicle on the road.” Still, motorcycles have always been smaller than cars are. Certainly that fact has not changed. And yet, you can see from the Georgia DOT figures (below) that the number of motorcycle fatalities has more than tripled in the 14 years between 2004 and 2008.
Motorcycle Fatalities in Georgia:
In 1994: 55 fatalities In 1995: 44 deaths in motorcycle wrecks In 1996: 47 traffic fatalities for motorcyclists In 1997: 56 motorcycle wreck deaths In 1998: 66 deaths due to motorcycle wrecks In 1999: 59 fatalities from accidents involving motorcycles In 2000: 61 deaths in motorcycle wrecks In 2001: 95 people were killed after motorcycle crashes In 2002: 85 motorcycle wreck deaths In 2003: 103 motorcycle crash fatalities In 2004: 111 more people killed in motorcycle wrecks In 2005: 144 people died as a result of wrecks on motorcycles In 2006: 154 deaths in motorcycle accidents In 2007: 163 fatal motorcycle crashes In 2008: 177 people died in motorcycle accidents
What on earth would cause that sort of staggering increase? If motorcycles have not changed in nature, then why would more people be killed in motorcycle wrecks?
Apparently the problem was not that motorcycle crashes became riskier. The issue is that more motorcycles are now on Georgia roads. Due to sheer increase in numbers of motorcycles driving the roads, more accidents are occurring that involve motorcycles.
One silver lining, though, is that while the raw number of fatal motorcycle wrecks increased, the rate at which these accidents were fatal actually decreased. In fact, the rate of motorcycle fatalities unfortunately did increase some. Fortunately, however, it did not increase with anywhere near the consistency that the raw number of deaths did. Here are the statistics put out by the Georgia Department of Transportation:
Rate of Deaths Per Motorcycles Registered in the State of Georgia
In 1998: 7.65 fatalities per motorcycles registered in Georgia
In 1999: 6.78 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (actual number of deaths was 66)
In 2000: 6.93 deaths per motorcycles registered in Georgia (actual number of fatalities was 59)
In 2001: 10.33 persons killed per 10,000 motorcycles registered in Georgia (total of 61 deaths)
In 2002: 7.8 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (95 deaths occurred)
In 2003: 8.68 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (85 fatalities this year)
In 2004: 8.58 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (103 persons killed in 2004)
In 2005: 10.14 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (111 people killed)
In 2006: 10.83 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (144 deaths)
In 2007: 9.45 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (154 fatalities)
In 2008: 9.29 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (163 deaths)
In 2009: 6.25 deaths/motorcycles registered in Georgia (177 people who died)