Motorcycle Deaths Remain High
Study suggests that repeal of helmet laws, boom in bike sales and high gas prices all contributed to high number of fatalities.
The repeal of helmet laws for motorcyclists plus a boom in motorcycle sales and increased ridership due to high gas prices all contributed to a high number of motorcycle-related deaths in 2011. According to a new study released by the Governors Highway Safety Association, preliminary data show there were roughly 4,500 motorcycle fatalities in the U.S. that year.
“The big message is we still have a problem with motorcycle fatalities,” James Hedlund of Highway Safety North, a consulting firm that prepared the GHSA report, told The New York Times. “I had hoped that the decrease in motorcycle fatalities two years ago was the beginning of a turnaround and the decline would continue, but it hasn’t.”
For 12 straight years, from 1996 to 2008, motorcycle fatalities were on the rise. Then in 2009, the rate dropped by 16 percent, only to increase slightly in 2010 and hold in 2011.
Historically, an increase in motorcycle ridership has brought more fatalities. When the economy began to improve in 2011, a spike in motorcycle sales put more riders on the road. Since motorcycles get good gas mileage, higher gas prices in 2011 also brought out more motorcyclists.
Speeding and alcohol impairment are two other factors contributing to motorcycle fatalities. In 2010, 29 percent of fatal crashes involved drivers with blood alcohol levels above the legal limit, and 35 percent of drivers were speeding.
Not surprisingly, the repeal of helmet laws has also had a significant impact on fatalities. According to reporting by The New York Times, in 1975 all but three states required motorcyclists to wear helmets; today just 19 states mandate them. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief David Strickland told the Detroit News, "Every state that has repealed their mandatory helmet law has unfortunately seen a requisite increase in fatalities in motorcycle crashes."
The GHSA report comes on the heels of last month's announcement by NHTSA that motor-vehicle fatalities overall dropped by 1.7 percent in 2011, hitting the lowest level since 1949.
Motorcycle fatalities will always be higher than cars per accident for obvious reasons. Driving is an inherently dangerous activity and requires paying attention, so hang up the phone! Even a minor fender bender results in injury to a biker. I'm not saying all auto - motorcycle accidents are caused by the auto drivers, but as a rider I can't tell you how many close calls I've had because the auto driver was, on the phone, eating, looking around for something in the car or just plain not paying attention. It seems they feel somewhat invincible at times especially at slow speed. Sometimes I think motorcycles just don't register the minds of people who don't ride them. I always try to make eye contact when possible, but it often seems like they just plain look right through me. I've been riding for over forty five years and hope to be for awhile longer, so please take an extra look for motorcyclists.
Anyone who dies riding without a helmet is just proving that natural selection does work...
Well all Please Take care EVERYWHERE... LIVES CAN NOT BE RESET .. Someone else being a fool could kill you and GAME OVER!!!
29% alcohol/35% speeding....Lets see that leaves 71% non alcohol and 65% non speeding! Whats your point?
I can gaurantee from the many years I have riding tyhat the majority are the result of piss poor auto drivers that are as inept as children most of the time. The new rider is allways at risk for a while until they have experianced enough conflicts with the road to know how to react when needed. The current auto is too far removed from the consentration needed while riding a motorcycle that it makes drivers lazy and inatentive to the situation around the vehicle and unaware of the cycelist. The Motorcyclist must allways be on gaurd for the other vehclies/trucks road trash, spilled liquids (oil/gas/ paints, roof tar ect.), birds as well as the dust rocks and pebbels the inhabit every road in the world. The times that I have been forced off my bikes have not been the result of speeding or alcohol, but inept drivers in there cages concerned with every thing but the most dangerous thing most will ever do in their lives..... drive an automobile! How many states require a practicle safety course in order to get a drivers licence? I believe many states have that required to get cycle licence. Sorry for spelling errors. spell check tells me there are 11 mistakes but not where or how I can change them and I dfon't have the time or realy care at this point. I'm going rideing!
EXPLORE NEW CARS
MORE ON MSN AUTOS
ABOUT EXHAUST NOTES
Cars are cool, and here at MSN Autos we love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world.
Have a story idea? Tip us off at email@example.com.