Maine Motorcycle Accident Risk Spikes in Summer

A motorcycle accident in Oakland involving a rider from Belgrade resulted in a trip to a Bangor hospital after a crash that resulted in severe head injuries. motorcycleboy

Initial investigation revealed the motorcyclist may have driven through a stop sign and crashed into another vehicle, causing the 55-year-old rider to be ejected from the bike. It was a five-way intersection and the crash happened shortly before 3 p.m.

An accident reconstructionist was called to the scene to piece together what happened. The driver of the other vehicle said she didn’t see the motorcyclist until he hit the rear passenger side of her vehicle.

Alcohol is also suspected to have been a factor. At this time, no traffic citations have been issued, and the motorcyclist is believed to be in serious condition.

Summer is motorcycle season in Maine, and it’s imperative riders operate defensively and with the utmost caution. It appears that message is being driven home to some extent, if the most recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are any indication.

According to federal authorities, there were 4,668 motorcyclists killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2013. That represents a 6 percent decrease from the 4,986 motorcyclists killed the previous year. There was also a drop in the number of injuries during that same time frame – 88,000 in 2013, compared to 93,000 in 2012.

The vast majority (93 percent) of those incidents involved two-wheeled motorcycles. Those on motorcycles account for 14 percent of the total number of traffic deaths, which is still disproportionate to the number of motorcycles on the road. In fact, when comparing the number of accidents per vehicle mile traveled, a person is 26 times more likely to be killed on a motorcycle than in a passenger vehicle. That tells us riding a motorcycle can be extremely dangerous, which is why riders must operate carefully.

Maine requires only that riders under 17 wear helmets, despite NHTSA findings that nearly 60 percent of motorcyclists killed in 2013 were not wearing a helmet. That was in states where there were no universal helmet laws – of which Maine is one. In states that do have universal helmet laws, only 8 percent of riders killed in fatal crashes were helmet-less.

Maine’s Bureau of Highway Safety reports the majority of motorcycle crashes in this state between 2008 and 2012 occurred in York, Penobscot, Kennebec and Cumerland counties.

Especially dangerous for Maine motorcyclists is the fact that many other motorists don’t see them – until it’s too late. This is particularly true in the beginning of the summer, when riders are just beginning to take to the road and drivers aren’t conditioned to look twice for them.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends the following for summer riders:

  • Always wear a well-fitting helmet
  • Drivers of cars should pull over if they are distracted, rather than trying to drive simultaneously
  • Use a motorcycle with anti-lock brakes, which prevents wheels from locking in a crash and can reduce the risk of a fatality by nearly a third
  • Wear high-visibility protective gear
  • Always follow the speed limit
  • Never drink and drive

If you are the victim of a Portland motorcycle accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-804-2004 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Motorcyclist airlifted for treatment after Oakland crash, May 18, 2015, Staff Report, CentralMaine.com

More Blog Entries:

Maine Summer Gas Prices Low, Crash Risk High, April 30, 2015, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog