Alabama is the 10th deadliest state in the nation for motorcyclists according to a recent study conducted by Quotewizard, a subsidiary of LendingTree,Inc. In 2019 there were 5,014 motorcycle fatalities nationally with 93 of those occurring in Alabama. In 2020 the number of fatalities nationally was even higher and made last year the deadliest ever for motorcyclists.
The study found that riders in southern states have long been less likely to wear helmets and that number fell by an additional 4.8% from 2019 to 2020. Alabama law requires anyone who ‘operates or rides on a motorcycle to wear protective headgear specifically designed for motorcycle riders and passengers’.
Homer Guy, General Manager of Harley-Davidson of Montgomery, says the dealership strongly advocates rider safety. “We make sure customers have protection, we're very safety-oriented,” he says. The dealership offers a 3-day rider safety academy as part of the sales process and sells Alabama Department of Transportation rated helmets, gloves and other safety accessories.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, motorcyclists were 29 times more likely to die in an accident than someone in a passenger vehicle. Guy says, ‘I know more people in car accidents than motorcycle accidents. A lot of it is about personal responsibility.” He went on to say, “there are less motorcycles on the road than cars and riders aren't as distracted by cell phones and things like that.”
The Quotewizard study also found that alcohol was involved in a large percentage of motorcycle-related accidents. In fact, in Alabama in 2019, 82.8% of all motorcycle-related fatalities involved alcohol, accounting for 77 of the 93 total deaths. The study concludes by saying, “riding a motorcycle is inherently more dangerous than other popular forms of transportation, but it doesn't have to be, let's put on a helmet, put down the beer and ride safely.”