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1 of 6 traffic fatalities in Pennsylvania involves a motorcycle


Summer means that motorcycle enthusiasts in Pennsylvania will be hitting the roads in much greater numbers. Even though motorcyclists typically only ride with frequency in warmer months, they unfortunately account for a disproportionate number of the state's annual traffic fatalities. This is largely because a motorcycle affords its occupants significantly less protection than a car or a truck, making a motorcycle accident a far more dangerous occurrence for the rider.

Figures from a recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) show that motorcycle fatalities accounted for 16.1 percent of all traffic deaths in Pennsylvania in 2016. This is well above the national percentage. Nationwide, motorcycle deaths account for slightly more than 14 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2016. Nevada had the highest proportion of motorcycle deaths as a percentage of total highway fatalities in 2016, with 22.6 percent and Alaska the lowest at 7.1 percent.

In Pennsylvania, 191 people died while riding a motorcycle in 2016, which is the last year for which full data is available. Preliminary statistics show that 184 motorcyclists were killed in 2017, but according to GHSA, this number has not yet been adjusted for under-reporting and could yet increase. Nationwide, 5,286 people died on motorcycles in 2016. In the last 25 years only 2008 saw more annual motorcycle fatalities (5,312).

As this shows, motorcyclists are at higher risk on the state's roads than other motorists -- and often due to other motorists. Drunk and distracted drivers can have dire consequences for motorcyclists. Motorcyclists injured in a crash caused by another driver may want to determine what steps to take moving forward, and if pursuing compensation is possible.

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