- Michigan’s Most Dangerous Places for Motorcyclists to Ride
Michigan’s Most Dangerous Places for Motorcyclists to Ride
Every biker is painfully aware of the usual highway hazards: sharp curves … loose gravel … wet leaves … icy patches … rough railroad crossings … scary signs warning of “open joints on bridge” … that buffeting wind vortex lurking right behind semi trucks … and, perhaps most frequently of all, those oblivious (dare we say ignorant?) motorists who simply pay no attention to bikers while driving.
Fortunately, not every road trip results in disaster for Michigan motorcyclists. More often than not, riders return home safely. But some Michigan bikers are unlucky enough to encounter the perfect storm of hazards … places that create a confluence of catastrophes you could call “Michigan motorcycle mayhem.” You’ve probably driven through many of these danger zones and survived, but other bikers haven’t been so lucky. To help Michigan motorcyclists hit the highways safely, we’re bringing you this list of the most dangerous places in the state for riders. Think of them as our state’s very own “Bermuda Triangles” for unwary bikers.
- WAYNE COUNTY — Far and away, this is the leading location for motorcycle mayhem in the state. Detroit and the surrounding suburbs have the most motorcyclists, and so it just makes sense that here’s where you’ll find the most motorcycle accidents. In 2019 (the most recent year for which we have complete statistics from the Michigan State Police), there were 485 crashes in Wayne County alone. When you consider that winter weather makes it challenging for all but the most diehard riders to get on a bike, you can probably imagine the daily accident average is a lot higher starting in late April and running into October. The motorcycle crash timeline graphic (see below) bears out that idea. The large number of crashes in Wayne County might also explain why motorcycle insurance rates are higher in Detroit than anywhere else in the state. So where are the most dangerous Detroit and Wayne County hotspots for motorcycle accidents? You’ll definitely want to avoid areas near Grand River Avenue and the Fisher Freeway. You’ll also want to keep your eyes peeled if you’re traveling the roads in Dearborn, Redford and Hamtramck.
- OAKLAND COUNTY — The northern suburbs aren’t too much better off. In 2019, for example, there were more than 200 (207 to be exact) motorcycle accidents north of 8 Mile Road and west of Dequindre. A couple of the most dangerous areas in Oakland County are in Madison Heights and Royal Oak around the intersection of I-75 and I-696, along with the exits and entrances onto I-75 and 8 Mile Road in Hazel Park. The Southfield Freeway, Telegraph Road, and Woodward Avenue corridors (especially around I-696) all have more than their fair share of motorcycle mishaps, too.
- MACOMB & KENT COUNTIES — These jurisdictions witnessed 192 and 180 motorcycle accidents respectively in 2019. In Macomb County, several accidents occurred around the I-696 and Mound Road area in Warren, I-696 and Van Dyke at the border of Center Line and Warren (along with other nearby intersections), and just about anywhere along the M-59 corridor from Utica going into Sterling Heights, particularly as you get close to Lakeside Mall. Kent County’s most significant motorcycle accident hotspots tend to be found along US-131, especially near the exits to Wealthy Street, Pearl Street, and Bridge Street.
So what’s a safety-conscious motorcyclist to do?
RIDE “REMOTELY” — If it isn’t obvious yet, heavily-populated urban areas and busy intersections across the state are clearly the most hazardous places to ride in Michigan. So if you want to enjoy a safe, relaxing day trip, you’d be wise to head for the hills. Among the areas with the fewest motorcycle accidents are Ontonagon, Alpena, Keewenaw, Schoolcraft, Presque Isle, and Luce Counties. Those last three counties had the fewest motorcycle mishaps of any places in the state — each reported just one biker accident in all of 2019. And they all share a common characteristic: they’re each as remote an area as you can find! Nationally, the statistics bear this out. According to a United States Department of Transportation report published in 2020, motorcycle fatalities in urban areas across the country have risen 36 percent since 2010; on the flip side, they fell by 14 percent in rural regions over the same period.
RIDE AT ODD HOURS — But it just might not be possible for you to reach these safe and remote rural roadways for a relaxing Sunday afternoon ride. So what are you to do if you’re stuck riding closer to home? One idea might be to avoid travel at high-accident times of day. As you can see from the accident time-of-day chart, most collisions of all types occur between 5-6 p.m. — no surprise there! But you might be interested to note that the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. are nearly as dangerous. The safest hours to ride? Any time between midnight and 4 a.m. (Of course, thinking you’re safer as a night rider could well be a chicken-and-egg situation, since there are far fewer vehicles on the road in the middle of the night, probably reducing the chances of running into someone.)
RIDE PROTECTED — Finally, whenever and wherever you ride, wear a helmet. Yes, we know that Michigan law doesn’t require them as long as you carry medical insurance with at least $20,000 in coverage and have met some other basic safety requirements, but why take chances? As the University of Michigan Injury Center points out, you’re twice as likely to have a head injury and to die if you get into a motorcycle accident while you’re not wearing a helmet. So protecting your head with a DOT-approved “skid lid” is clearly a no-brainer!
It’s a risk versus reward decision — make the right choice.
Bottom line, riding a motorcycle involves its share of risks and rewards. There’s nothing quite like the freedom that comes with taking out your Harley, Honda, Triumph, Yamaha, or Indian, and spending some quality time rolling down the freeway. But, of course, even the safest among us will sometimes fall victim to negligent and careless drivers, poorly maintained roads, or other hazards of the highways. If that should happen to you, our highly-qualified Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers are here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Give us a call at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or email us to set up a free no obligation consultation.