The potential for serious injury and death is high for motorcyclists involved in accidents, according to the National Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide, 4,985 motorcycle riders were killed in crashes in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.
Motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash than people in passenger cars, according to studies by the safety agency. The agency reports that despite representing only 3% of all registered motor vehicles, motorcyclists account for 14% of all traffic-related fatalities nationwide.
Speed and alcohol use account for roughly half of the crashes involving a single motorcycle, according to the agency. Cars making left-hand turns is another common cause of motorcycle crashes, as is lane splitting when riders travel between rows of slow-moving or stopped traffic going in the same direction.
To be safe and reduce the chance of crashes, Kovarik said motorcycle riders need to obey speed limits, take the proper motorcycle training and be aware that a motorcycle is more difficult for other drivers to see.
Mark Howie, a retired Omaha police motorcycle instructor who is the manager of the Dillon Brothers Harley-Davidson Riding Academy in Omaha, attributed the increase, in part, to more motorcycles being on the road.
“With everything going on in the country and around the world, people are tired of being cooped up and want to get out and ‘live’ again,” Howie said.