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Could race affect your chances of dying in a motorcycle crash?

In our society, racial minorities face discrimination on the job, on the street and elsewhere in their lives. But one startling statistic from a Johns Hopkins University study shows another shocking disparity: Black motorcyclists have a higher chance of dying in a crash than their white counterparts.

3 black bikers die for every 2 white bikers

The Johns Hopkins researchers, who published the study in the American Journal of Surgery in 2010, said that for every two white bikers who die in a crash, three black bikers die in the same way.

Further, the research showed that African American motorcyclists had roughly a 50 percent higher likelihood of death even though they're more likely to don motorcycle helmets. In fact, even when comparing motorcycle accidents that involved un-helmeted white bikers compared to helmeted black bikers, the African Americans were still more likely to die.

Researchers also ruled out the possibility that their numbers were skewed because of a disparity in the severity of crashes. That said, black bikers who were not wearing helmets had the highest motorcycle death rate out of all the categories they analyzed.

The senior author of the study concluded that helmet laws don't help all races equally. "Helmet for helmet, African Americans have more lethal injuries," he said.

Why are more African Americans dying in crashes?

This study revealed that more black bikers are dying (1) even when they are wearing more helmets than white bikers and (2) even when the severity of their crashes are on par with their white counterparts. The perplexing results leave us to ask why this disparity exists.

The authors of the Johns Hopkins study theorized that the higher mortality rate of black motorcyclists could relate to black bikers' lack of access to high-quality medical care and lack of medical insurance. The researchers suggested that white bikers may have better access to high-quality health care, but they said that more work was required to answer this question definitively.

Get the medical care you need and deserve

The results of this study should serve as a reminder to everyone about how important it is to seek the highest quality medical care after a motor vehicle accident. Especially if you were involved in a crash caused by another party's negligence, you might want to investigate whether you can hold the other party financially responsible to pay for the medical care you require.

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Becker, Kellogg & Berry, P.C. - Fairfax Personal Injury Lawyer

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