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Fatal Motorcycle Wrecks Spiked 10 Percent, Report Indicates

I pride myself in helping clients through their toughest times.- Bill O’Mara

Attorney at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers

Fatal Motorcycle Wrecks Spiked 10 Percent, Report Indicates

As Virginia motorcycle accident lawyers, we take trends in fatal biking crashes very seriously.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. It’s a time when initiatives to protect motorcyclists are highlighted.

Cooper Hurley book on motorcycle wrecks

Cooper Hurley's book about Virginia motorcycle accidents

Sadly, the latest statistics highlight how far we have to go to make motorcycling safer.

The Washington Post reported that the number of people who died in motorcycle crashes rose by 10 percent last year.

The Governors Highway Safety Association is predicting that motorcycle deaths for 2015 will be 5,010. It would be only the third time they have exceeded 5,000, and the first time since 2008, which was a bad year for riders.

The warning comes as better weather arrives and more motorcyclists head out onto the roads.

The Post quoted safety advocates who believe the increase is partly accounted for by the fact 31 states no longer require riders to wear helmets. It’s a theory that’s discounted by riders who say that is not the cause.

The number of motorcyclist deaths rose in 31 states, dropped in 16 states, and remained the same in three others.

The GHSA recorded 79 deaths in Virginia in 2015. That would be a decrease of 11, but deaths rose by five to 74 in Maryland.

Motorcycle accidents account for a disproportionate number of deaths on the roads of Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere. Although motorcycles are a small fraction of vehicles on the road, they account for nearly 15 percent of road fatalities.

Back in the 1960s, the federal government put states under pressure to make it compulsory for motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, after Congress ended federal authority to enforce financial penalties, the helmet laws were repealed in 31 states. Virginia has a mandatory helmet law.

“The most important injury protection mechanism for motorcyclists is to wear a DOT-compliant helmet,” the GHSA report says. “Helmets reduce head and brain injuries and decrease the risk of dying in a crash by 37 percent.”

Richard Retting, one of the authors of the new report, said his work provides “a stark reminder of how susceptible motorcyclists are to fatal and life-threatening injuries.”

Another was a fatal accident on the Eastern Shore of Virginia just days ago that claimed the life of Chesapeake rider Christina G. Bowman-Weaver.

If you or a loved one has lost their life in a motorcycle accident, another person is often to blame. Typically, it will be a driver who has made a turn and failed to notice a motorcyclist. See our resources on motorcycle accidents on this page, or call us for a free consultation at (757) 455-0077.

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John Cooper

John Cooper is a veteran of personal injury law practice in Virginia. A native Virginian, he was raised in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. He has more than 20 years of experience handling personal injury cases and recently handled the largest auto accident settlement in 2010, according to VA Lawyers Weekly. The award provided $3.5 million to a child whose young father died when the vehicle he was a passenger in was rear-ended by a careless truck driver.

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Jim Hurley

Jim Hurley has been practicing law throughout Virginia for more than two-and-a-half decades. During his career, he has tried more than 100 jury trials — a staggering number — and handled hundreds more that were settled out of court. He is guided by the principle that the client is in charge of his or her case and should be kept fully aware of the litigation process. Jim has been awarded an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating given, for his practice of law. He was named in Virginia Super Lawyers in 2014, 2015, 2016.

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Bill O’mara

Bill O’Mara started his legal career in 2008, moving back to his home town of Chesapeake, VA. He has practiced in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury and other litigation. He has gained extensive court room and trial experience, including contested trials before judges and juries across Hampton Roads. In 2014, Mr. O’Mara joined Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as an associate attorney. He became a partner in 2017.

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