Police from Easthampton, MA are reporting that two individuals were fatally injured while traveling north on their motorcycle. The motorcycle, which had been traveling north, was struck by an oncoming car heading southbound.
According to police reports, 45-year-old James Ainsworth of Springfield, MA crossed the center line on Route 5 yesterday and struck the couple on their bike. News reports indicate that Ainsworth was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at the Northwestern district attorney’s office.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 81,000 people were injured and 4,612 were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in the United States; a 2% increase from the number in 2010 and a 41% increase from 2002. Motorcycle accidents make up an estimated 14% of the total number of motor-vehicle crashes in the United States each year. The United States watchdog estimates that per every vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist and motorcycle passengers are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be killed in an accident, and 5 times more likely to be injured during an accident.
The NHTSA says that nearly half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve collisions with other motor vehicles. According to past data, 75% occurred with the motor vehicle in front of the motorcycle. Fatal motorcycle accidents are most likely to occur with fixed objects, such as a tree or a telephone pole, rather than collisions with other motor vehicles.
Speeding, rider inexperience, and alcohol use are the three main factors that contribute to the high risk of accident on a motorcycle, and according to the NHTSA, 35% of all motorcyclists involved in accidents in 2011 had been speeding before the crash. Inexperienced and un-licensed individuals made up 14% of those injured or killed in motorcycle accidents, and individuals who had had their licensed suspended previously were 1.4 times more likely to get into an accident compared to those with a passenger vehicle license revocation. Alcohol use is also a risk factor for fatal motorcycle accidents.
The NHTSA estimated that about 29% of all motorcyclists were impaired by alcohol at the time of an accident. Riders aged 40-44 made up 38% of that group, respectively, followed by individuals aged 45-49 and 35-39 at 37%.
The NHTSA estimated that over 1,600 motorcyclists were saved by helmets in 2011, and that over 700 of those who were killed in collisions could have been saved, had they worn a helmet. Helmets are 37% effective in saving someone’s life during an accident. In other terms, for every 100 motorcyclists killed in accidents, 37 of those riders would have been saved if they had worn a helmet. Massachusetts has a mandatory helmet law that required both operators and passengers to always wear a helmet before getting onto a motorcycle. In 2011, 65% of those involved in accidents in states that did not mandate the use of helmets were killed because they were not wearing a helmet, versus only 9% of those killed who were riding without a helmet in a state that required a helmet.
While summer might be over, the fall is a popular time for riders to take their bikes out one last time before stowing them away for the winter. Avoiding a car or motorcycle accident can be easy, if the proper precautions are taken and drivers remain vigilent.
At the law offices of Altman & Altman we have been representing clients who’ve been injured in car and motorcycle accidents for nearly 50 years. Motorcycle accidents can lead to serious injuries that require extensive medical treatment and time away from work. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle collision, give one of our experienced Boston Motorcycle Accident Attorneys a call for a free consultation. Upon initial evaluation of your case, we will determine whether you qualify for compensation of your injuries. We stand committed and ready to assist you through this difficult and confusing time, and our lawyers are available around the clock to answer any and all questions about your case.