Motorcycling enthusiasts in Missouri must be ever-aware of the risk that drivers of cars and other vehicles pose to them.

For many motorcycling enthusiasts, summer is prime riding season. Whether using a bike as an everyday mode of transportation or as a form of recreation on the weekends or vacations, riding on two wheels can be a joy unlike any other. However, many things can interfere with this joy. Road hazards and inclement weather are certainly problems that motorcyclists must navigate. Another danger comes in the form of drivers of cars, trucks and other vehicles.

In what situations do accidents commonly occur?

It may be impossible to list the scenarios in which a motorcycle accident can happen. This is because there are too many options: cars making left hand turns, vehicles following too closely, lane splitting, speeding and alcohol use, appearance of fixed objects in the roadway, road hazards and the use of high performance motorcycles. ABC13 reported a Missouri City police officer was injured while his parked bike was hit by a truck. The officer was managing a traffic stop at the time.

Two other stories involving cars turning resulted in the death of the motorcyclists. The Kirkville Daily Express indicates that a car driver made a left turn directly into the travel path of a motorcycle. The 68-year-old rider died at the scene. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch gave details on the death of a 44-year-old biker who was hit and killed by a driver also making a turn.

How many biker deaths happen in Missouri?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2012 was the deadliest year for motorcyclists in Missouri over a five-year span from 2010 to 2014. In that year, 104 riders perished statewide. In the two years leading up to that, 95 deaths occurred in 2010 and 82 in 2011. In the two years following that, biker deaths numbered 74 in 2013 and went back up to 91 in 2014.

Are most bikers who die unhelmeted?

While certainly helmets may help to save lives in some crashes, that is far from the case all of the time. In each of the five years, between 86 and 89 percent of riders who died were wearing helmets at the time of their accidents.

Are most bikers who die young?

A common stereotype about motorcyclists is that they are young, reckless and often to blame for their own accidents. That is also not always true. In fact, the NHTSA data shows that from 2010 through 2014, 103 of the riders who died were in their 50s. That compares almost equally to the 106 riders in their 20s.

What should accident victims or survivors do?

  • Make sure that any injured party receives prompt medical attention. Do not delay. Delay can cause injuries to become worse and delay suggests the injuries were not serious;
  • ALWAYS report a vehicular incident to the police, and make sure the police know the names of all folks who are likely witnesses to the incident;
  • Make sure the scene of the incident is secured, and all evidence is photographed, such as skid marks, “shakedown” (glass, plastic and car parts strewn along the roadway);
  • Exchange reliable insurance information. Ask to see the other person’s insurance card. Do not accept simply “my insurance company is State Farm and my agent is Bill Smith”. Get verification. Take a photo of it with your mobile camera.
  • Use your mobile phone to fully photograph the scene, the positions of the vehicles and any injuries suffered by you or others. If you are incapacitated, and it is convenient to do so, ask someone else you trust to document the scene.