The Blog with the Search Engine for Statistics

Friday, May 30, 2014

Statistics on Motorcycle Accidents and Links for Accident Research

Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Author: Lauren Zerweck

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, and while motor vehicle accidents seem to be decreasing, motorcycle fatalities are a big issue. May is the beginning of warmer weather for many states. The snow melts and it is once again beautiful weather to take the bike out for a nice ride in the countryside or along the ocean. During the winter time you may not have seen many or any motorcyclists, this is why in May we raise awareness to remind drivers of the increase in motorcycles on the road.
Motorcycle accident investigation scene that occurred at an intersection and severed a man's foot. Image shows a motorcycle on road with area taped off for investigation and police officers and investigators reviewing accident scene. City buildings in background.
A foot was severed on impact during this motorcycle accident which occurred at an intersection.
Photo Credit: Chris Yarzab. Creative Commons License 2.0. 

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, from 2011 to 2012 motorcycle fatalities increased from 4.630 to 4,957. Motorcycle Injuries from 2011 to 2012 increased from 81,000 to 93,000. That is a 7% increase in motorcycle fatalities and a 15% increase in motorcycle injuries.

In the Governors Highway Safety Association Report based on preliminary data, Motorcycle Fatalities should have dropped back down to what they were in 2011. Although this is a projection, it is interesting to see the reasoning behind the projected 7 percent decrease from 2012 to 2013. Sure enough the report notes the colder wetter weather for the decrease, in other words there are less motorcycles on the road when it is a colder wetter year (longer winter).

While this data is helpful in seeing the big picture and may be encouraging to believe that the issue is being taken care of, motorcycle awareness and safety awareness is key. In states with four seasons and extreme weather, the rate of motorcycle accidents may understandably decrease. There are also warmer states that don’t have winter weather.

While driver’s awareness is part of the puzzle, proper safety gear is just as (if not more) important. The evolution of motorcycle safety has come a long way since the beginning of the motorcycle in the 19th century. In the U.S., 47 states and the District of Columbia have helmet laws for motorcyclists with the other 3 States (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire) not having any motorcycle helmet law. The GHSA Report says that, “Helmets are proven to be 37 percent effective in preventing fatal injuries to motorcycle operators and 41 percent effective for passengers.”

Along with wearing a helmet, the GHSA Report recommends these addressing the 6 issues:
1.    Increase Helmet Use
2.    Reduce Alcohol Impairment
3.    Reduce Speed
4.    Providing motorcycle operator training to all who need and seek it
5.    Ensure motorcyclists are properly licensed
6.    Encourage all driver to share the road with a motorcyclists


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