Michigan Motorcycle Deaths Rise 23% In 2015

Metro Detroit Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that Michigan motorcycle accident deaths rose 23% from 2014 to 2015. The report based on preliminary data by state highway safety offices, reveals that there were 138 motorcycle fatalities in Michigan 2015, compared to 112 in 2014.

Nationally, more than 5,000 people were killed on a motorcycle in 2015, a 10% increase compared to 2014.




  • Per mile driven, motorcycles have a fatality rate that is 26 times higher than passenger vehicles.
  • Motorcycle helmets decrease the risk of dying in a crash by 37%. 
  • In 2013, if all motorcyclists in fatal crashes had worn helmets, an estimated 715 lives would have been saved. 
  • Three states – California, Florida, and Texas – accounted for 31% of the total motorcyclist fatalities in 2015.
  • Motorcyclists are the most likely of all fatally injured motor vehicle operators to have BACs of 0.08 or greater.

 The number of fatalities increased in 31 states, decreased in 16 states, and remained the same in three states along with the District of Columbia. The state with the largest increase was Florida (100), which had 550 deaths in 2015, compared to 450 in 2014. The state that reported the largest decrease was California (38), which had 527 deaths in 2014 and 489 in 2015. 

The state with the largest increase was Florida (100), which had 550 deaths in 2015, compared to 450 in 2014. The state with the largest increase was Florida (100), which had 550 deaths in 2015, compared to 450 in 2014. California saw the saw the largest decrease (38), going fro 527 deaths in 2014 to 489 in 2015. 


Richard Retting, one of the authors of the report, attributed the rise to factors such as drug and alcohol use, increased speed limits, the repeal of state helmet laws, and a record number of vehicles on U.S. roads. 

Currently, only 19 states and the District of Columbia require helmets when riding motorcycles. Michigan used to require riders to wear helmets, however, the law was repealed in 2012. Currently,  Michigan riders are not required to wear helmets provided they are: 

  • At least 21 years old; 
  • Have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits; and 
  • Have held a motorcycle endorsement for at least two years, or have passed an approved motorcycle safety course.

Even motorcycle passengers in Michigan are not required to wear a helmet, as long as they are at least 21 years old, and have at least $20,000 in first party medical benefits insurance in addition to the insurance that is required of the motorcycle operator.

In order to reduce the risk of injury or death, the GHSA recommends that riders: 

  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, even when not required by state law.
  • Wear bright-colored clothing to make it easier to be seen by other drivers.
  • Never ride impaired by alcohol or other drugs.
  • Obey posted speed limits.
  • When purchasing a new motorcycle, opt for a model with antilock brakes, which have been shown to decrease fatal motorcycle crashes by preventing a motorcycle's wheels from locking during braking and assisting with maintaining the stability of the motorcycle.

For the full GHSA report, click here

Metro Detroit Injury Lawyers is a Bloomfield Hills, Michigan law firm practicing in personal injury law. Contact us today at 248-430-8929 for a free consultation and evaluation of your case, with no obligation.