Motorcycle Fatalities To Drop For Second Year In A Row
The Governors Highway Safety Administration has released its projections on motorcycle fatalities and to everyone’s relief, it appears that cases of motorcycledeaths are set to go down for the second year in a row.
The GHSA’s report projections indicate that 4,584 deaths occurred in the US in 2014. That would represent a 1.8-percent drop from 2013’s numbers when 4,668 deaths were reported. 2014’s drop in motorcycle-related deaths is also just the third time that there has been a decrease in fatalities since 1997.
The GHSA received preliminary motorcycle fatality counts for the first nine months of 2014 from all 50 states in the US and the District of Columbia. When comparing 2014’s numbers to the year before, the data determined that motorcycle fatalities dropped in 27 states while 19 states reported increases in deaths in their jurisdictions. Four states, including the District of Columbia, reported the same total in 2014 as it did the year before.
In the grand scheme of things, the decree in number is good news for everyone involved, but it’s still significantly higher - 26 percent - than the reported deaths a decade ago.
Vehicle-related deaths are also 28 percent lower than their motorcycle counterparts, suggesting that the motorcycle industry still doesn’t come close to providing the same level of safety as the automobile industry.
Some of it can be attributed to the physical construction of cars compared to motorcycles and according to the GHSA report, the motorcycle industry has shown “little evidence that risk factors for motorcyclists have been reduced in recent years, and fluctuations in motorcyclist fatalities are likely to have more to do with economic factors and weather patterns affecting exposure.”
That should put the current total in its proper perspective and, if need be, provide a stark reminder to motorcycle riders that the total, despite the decrease in number, is still too many for anybody’s liking.
Continue reading to read more about the Governors Highway Safety Administration’s report on motorcycle fatalities in 2014.
Why it matters
In a vacuum, the number of motorcycle-related deaths in 2014 is a positive sign that more and more riders are being careful when they’re taking their bikes out on the road.
That said, the numbers are a bit misleading considering that 2014’s total number is still dramatically higher than numbers from a decade ago. As always, awareness of motorcycle safety, or lack thereof in some cases, is the single biggest factor behind what I think is still an alarmingly high number of motorcycle deaths.
According to the GHSA report, the lack of laws in some states requiring riders to wear motorcycle helmets is still the biggest obstacle for these numbers to drop significantly. Politics plays a significant role in this and unless there isn’t a federal law that mandates wearing motorcycle helmets in all 50 states and territories in the US, there’s a chance that these particularly important issue isn’t going away anytime soon. Still, wearing helmets is still considered the single most effective way to decrease motorcycle-related fatalities, the fact that a lot of states in the US still don’t have helmet laws in place is completely astounding.
Other factors are also present that could help cut that fatality number, including reduced speeding and alcohol impairment, as well as encouraging automobile drivers to share public roads with motorcycle riders and be cognizant of the presence of these riders when they’re out on the road.
In the end, the decrease in motorcycle fatalities is a good sign, albeit one that’s cloaked under the stark reality that the total is still too high for a lot of people.