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On Thursday, February 15th of 2024, there was a fatal accident in Burlington. The man was Matthew McMullen, a 43-year-old from Mount Vernon, Washington. He was driving south on Pulver Road. A car turned left onto State Route 20 in front of him and he crashed his motorcycle into it. When the accident happened, McMullen was ejected from his motorcycle. First responders pronounced him dead at the scene. The driver and passenger in the car that the motorcycle hit into were both uninjured. 

According to the Washington State Patrol, the cause of the accident is still being investigated. In many cases, accidents are caused by distraction. It’s possible that the driver in the car wasn’t paying proper attention and did not see the motorcyclist heading towards them. Left turns are notoriously dangerous because instead of having to have the road be clear just one way, it has to be clear both ways. 

Another potential cause could be driving under the influence. Many accidents are caused by people driving while drunk or on drugs, because it impairs their ability to think clearly. It can also make people not be able to respond as quickly to hazards on the road. Many people when driving under the influence are also more reckless and impulsive, engaging in behaviors such as speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. 

This article will go over some information related to motorcycle crash statistics in Washington. Compared to the percentage of motorcycles on the road, motorcyclists are disproportionately more likely to be involved in auto accidents, as well as fatal accidents. Fortunately, Washington state is taking steps to prevent accidents, including motorcycle accidents. Part of this includes educating people about safety. 

Although the overall number of motorcycle accidents has gone down in the past few years, the amount of serious injuries and deaths from motorcycle accidents has risen. In 2022 alone, 125 people died in motorcycle accidents. There have not been this many fatalities from this type of crash since 1982. 

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Here are some facts compiled from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and Target Zero that you should take note of: 

  • 20 percent of motorcycle crashes end in death. 
  • Some of the common factors behind motorcycle accident fatalities are driving while being impaired and speeding. 
  • An average of 75 motorcyclists are killed annually in our state. 
  • Over 90 percent of people that die in motorcycle accidents are men. 
  • These statistics have been pretty consistent throughout the past decade, even though measures are being taken to make the roads safer. 

 Across America, motorcycle accident deaths went down a little from 2018 to 2019. In comparison, Washington saw an increase in fatalities. In our state, around 14 percent of deaths from auto accidents are motorcyclists, which is the same percentage seen in other parts of the country as well. 

One measure that has been effective is Washington’s helmet law. Across America in 2019, 37 percent of motorcyclists killed in accidents were not wearing their helmets. In comparison, in that same year in Washington, only 2 percent of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. Data proves that when states have mandatory helmet laws, it prevents deaths. Hopefully more states follow in Washington’s footsteps. 

Washington is specifically taking steps to try and reduce auto accident fatalities. This plan is called Target Zero, and was started in the year 2000. The primary goal of this plan is to lower the amount of serious injuries and deaths from traffic accidents down to none by 2030. Seattle Injury Law has spoken about Target Zero before on our blog; we also believe that people should be able to drive on Washington roads without worrying about being seriously injured or killed. Because of the high amount of fatalities in motorcycle crashes, it’s understandable that this is something important Target Zero is focusing on. 

Target Zero is founded on lots of data. These numbers were used to identify priorities and figure out ways to reduce crashes. Some of these tactics include campaigns to improve driver behavior and safer road design. 

It’s not true that car drivers cause most accidents involving motorcyclists. In fact, the Washington Department of Licensing found that three-quarters of motorcyclists were at least partially responsible for the accident they were in. If you were injured in a motorcycle accident that was caused by another party, you can get compensation. There can be different degrees of fault for the parties involved. A personal injury attorney can help you determine how much compensation you are owed. 

There are some things that motorcycle riders can do to stay safe. The most important thing to do is wear a helmet, which you should always do because it’s the law. Another good idea is to take motorcycle classes or practice your riding skills. Experience can protect you on the road. Participating in motorcycle groups can be a good social activity, but make sure that your group promotes a culture of safety. This one may seem obvious, but you should avoid engaging in risky behaviors. This includes speeding and not following the rules of the road. 

It’s also a smart idea to look at the website Ride Safe Ride On, which is run by motorcycle advocates that are also working to reach Target Zero. The website features news, resources, and videos related to riding motorcycles in Washington State. 

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So, what should you do after being injured in a motorcycle accident? If you were in an accident caused by another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior, then it’s important to reach out to a personal injury law firm as soon as possible. Give Seattle Injury Law a call, and our experienced attorneys can advocate for you. We provide free case value analyses, and fight to get fair settlements for our clients. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about the claims process. Our team has helped many injury victims with cases similar to yours. 

You deserve justice for what you went through, and Seattle Injury Law is here to help you achieve it.