Examining the Rising Threat of Motorcycle Accidents in Missouri

Examining the Rising Threat of Motorcycle Accidents in Missouri

May 27, 2024


In Missouri, motorcycles are more than just vehicles; they're a symbol of freedom, camaraderie, and individuality. Missouri’s iconic Route 66 and the winding roads of the Ozarks offer a unique canvas for motorcyclists. 

Missouri's motorcycle culture is steeped in tradition, with a rich history dating back to the days of the Wild West. From legendary outlaws like Jesse James to the pioneering spirit of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts, Missouri plays a pivotal role in the American motorcycling narrative. 

However, alongside the thrill of the open road comes a concerning trend: the rising number of motorcycle accidents. The Missouri Department of Transportation reported that while the overall roadway fatalities saw a dip in 2023, motorcycle accidents were on the surge. Data indicates that 175 motorcyclists lost their lives on the road last year, marking a 14% increase from 2022. 

These numbers also highlight a 50% increase in motorcyclist fatalities since the state repealed the all-riders helmet law back in 2020. Today, we’ll examine the rising threat of motorcycle accidents in the Show-Me state.

The Current State of Motorcycle Accidents in Missouri

The current state of motorcycle accidents in Missouri presents a concerning trend that demands attention and action. Over the past decade, Missouri has seen a notable uptick in motorcycle accidents.

This upward trend is alarming, especially when compared to national averages. While motorcycle accidents have been on the rise nationwide, Missouri's numbers outpace the national trend. This suggests that the state faces unique challenges or contributing factors that need to be addressed.

In 2023, the Kansas City Star noted that Missouri was in the Top 3 list of states with the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in 2021. The Show-Me state closely followed Texas and Arkansas, becoming one of the most dangerous states for motorcycle riders. It was also highlighted that the reduced helmet use across the state was becoming a leading concern behind these fatalities. 

The rising number of motorcycle crashes across the state poses a threat to both motorcyclists as well as pedestrians. 

Have you ever been injured in a motorcycle accident as a pedestrian in Missouri? Whether it happened in Kansas City or St. Louis - you’re eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for your suffering and damages. 

And if the legal complications seem a bit too much for you, you can seek expert help by hiring a St. Louis personal injury attorney.  They will not only represent your best interests in the court but also ensure that you get a fair settlement for your injury. 

Major Contributors to The Rising Threat

Having examined the current state of motorcycle accidents in Missouri, we now move on to delve deeper into the leading causes behind these fatalities. They range from the growing trend of life on two wheels to the repeal of the helmet law.

Increased Motorcycle Ownership

Over the past decade, there's been a surge in the number of motorcycles hitting the roads. As the rumble of engines becomes more commonplace, the roads are evolving into a vibrant tapestry of motorcycle culture.

With more riders taking to the roads, the once-open highways are now crowded with two-wheeled machines, each one vying for its slice of the pavement. This surge in motorcycle traffic amplifies the risk of accidents, especially in areas with heavy congestion or complex intersections.

The influx of new riders also adds a layer of unpredictability. TorHoerman Law notes how these two-wheelers are not ideal for inexperienced drivers. Novice riders, eager to experience the thrill of the open road, may lack the experience and skills needed to navigate Missouri's diverse terrain safely. 

Impacts of Distracted Driving

The allure of smartphones has transformed drivers into unwitting jugglers, their attention precariously divided between the road and their screens. For motorcyclists, this distracted dance is a dangerous waltz, with potentially fatal consequences.

In these moments of distraction, motorcycles become mere afterthoughts, their sleek frames disappearing into blind spots or blending into the background. Drivers fail to register their presence until it's too late, the screech of tires signaling a collision that could have been avoided.

It's not just about failing to see motorcycles; it's about misjudging their speed, turning a casual lane change into a deadly game of chance. Even a split-second distraction can shatter lives, leaving behind a trail of broken dreams and shattered futures.

Universal Helmet Law in Missouri

Until 2020, Missouri was one of 19 US states that had a Universal Helmet Law. introduced in 1967, the law required everyone - both drivers and passengers - on a motorcycle to wear a helmet regardless of their age or experience. 

However, in 2020, the Show-Me State scrapped this law, which has proven to be a disastrous decision in the last four years. A news article highlighted that after the new helmet rules passed in 2020, 2021 saw a spike in motorcycle crash deaths - from 118 to 159. 

What was more alarming was that 82 out of those 159 people were not wearing helmets. In the following year, out of a total of 153 motorcycle deaths, 73 were unprotected bikers.

These numbers point towards one fact - implementing a universal helmet law might help mitigate the rising number of motorcycle accidents in Missouri.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Does Missouri have a motorcycle helmet law?

Yes. The Missouri Helmet Law states that all motorcycle operators and passengers - below the age of 26 - must wear helmets. Furthermore, citizens with instruction permits - regardless of their age - are also required to wear helmets. 

What percentage of road accidents are by motorcycles in the US?

As of 2024, motorcycle accidents account for 14% of total road accidents in the US.

Which city in the US has the most motorcycle accidents?

As of 2024, Jacksonville is considered the most dangerous city for motorcyclists. This city in Florida is known to cause an average of 4.42 deaths per 100,000 residents. 

As we've explored in this article, the surge in motorcycle accidents in Missouri is driven by a combination of factors. 

But amid the grim statistics and sobering realities, there is hope. By promoting rider education and advocating for universal helmet laws, we can create a future that’s safer for both motorcyclists and pedestrians.


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