Motorcycle accidents are among the most severe type of car accident that can happen on the roads. This year so far, motorcycle accident fatalities have increased significantly in St. Joseph and the rest of Missouri.
Motorcycle Accident Fatalities up 40% in Missouri
According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, fatalities from motorcycle accidents are way up so far in 2021. At this point, last year, there had been 30 deaths from motorcycle accidents. This year, that number is 42 – a 40% increase.
While the spike is especially large for fatal motorcycle accidents, it reaches across the spectrum. Overall, Missouri has seen a 9% increase in all fatal traffic accidents compared to last year.
Officials Blame New Helmet Laws
Road safety officials have at least partially blamed the repeal of Missouri’s mandatory motorcycle helmet law. That law had required all bikers in the state to wear a helmet.
The new law, Missouri Statute 302.026, lets motorcyclists over the age of 26 to ride without a helmet, but only if they can prove that they have health insurance. However, police are not allowed to stop helmetless bikers solely to determine whether they have adequate health insurance, effectively making the law impossible to enforce.
Up to this point in 2020, before the mandatory helmet law was repealed and replaced with the current statute, there were only 2 motorcyclists who were killed who were not wearing a helmet.
Already in 2021, there have been 18 helmetless bikers who have died in accidents. This is an increase of 16 from the year prior, when the helmet law was in place. Those 16, alone, account for the entire increase from the year prior: The 40% increase from 2020 was only an increase of 12 deaths.
Pandemic Lockdowns Only a Small Impact
A valid response to these statistics is that they compare the current year to the prior one, and that last year saw a drastic reduction in car accidents because of coronavirus lockdowns.
The argument is simple: Fewer people were on the road, last year, so there were fewer car crashes. People are back on the road, now, so car and motorcycle accidents and fatalities are bound to increase, again.
The lower numbers last year, however, only go towards explaining the 9% increase in total traffic fatalities, this year. The far sharper jump in fatal motorcycle crashes, specifically – again, a 40% increase – suggests that something more is at play.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office Serve St. Joseph
Motorcycle accidents are far more likely to be severe or fatal than normal car crashes. Even minor ones can leave riders with serious injuries. The car accident and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office strive to legally represent accidents victims in St. Joseph, Kansas City, Springfield, and the rest of western Missouri. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373 for the legal help you need to recover the compensation you deserve.