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Motorcyclists find themselves at a far greater risk for getting serious injuries from a motor vehicle accident. While car crashes are more frequent, motorcycles leave very little protection for their riders and give them a much higher chance of getting a disability or death from the outcome.

Recently, Indiana has seen a sharp increase in the amount of motorcycle fatalities in the state. A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association states that there were 144 deaths in 2017, which is 44 more than the amount of deaths in 2016. The annual percentage increase in motorcycle fatalities was the highest in the nation. WFYI interviewed local professionals to see what some of the most common factors were that contributed to this dramatic increase.

Unendorsed riders

A spokesman for the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute said that riders who have not completed proper safety training make up a large portion of the crashes. Indiana requires drivers to be at least 16 years and 180 days old to hold a valid driver’s license and complete a motorcycle safety training course or pass a motorcycle knowledge exam to get a permit and then completing a motorcycle skills exam.

Additionally, those under the age of 18 or only have a learner’s permit must wear a helmet while riding on the streets. Due to their lack of experienced and younger bodies, these types of riders have a much higher chance of dying or getting some serious injury if they do not wear a helmet. This is on top of the fact that riders without helmets are three times more likely to die than helmeted ones.

Drunk driving

Intoxicated motorists are an issue in every state, but it is especially problematic in Indiana. The northwestern counties of the state have some of the highest drunk driving fatality rates in the nation. Reports in The Times of Northwest Indiana state that this is primarily due to the area’s heavy traffic interstates. One of the county sheriffs believes law enforcement around these parts prioritize gun and opioid crimes over traffic incidents.

If a motorcyclist and car driver crash into each other, the motorcyclist is bound to be more at risk no matter which party was intoxicated. A drunk motorcyclist could turn sharply from their imbalance and cause their vehicle to fall sideways, and a drunk car driver would have a harder time seeing the motorcyclist and might not give them the room they need on the highway. The WFYI report also confirmed that drunk driving fatal crashes have increased since 2014.

With how fragile a motorcycle can be on the road, it is crucial for the motorcyclist and other drivers surrounding them to take as much necessary precautions as possible. If a negligent motorist was on the road and left you with heavy bills from the hospital and insurance company, a personal injury attorney can help you regain what you’ve lost so you can resume your life.