Motorcycle accidents claiming fewer American lives - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Motorcycle accidents claiming fewer American lives

© iStockphoto.com / Ljupco Smokovski © iStockphoto.com / Ljupco Smokovski

TUESDAY, May 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Motorcyclist deaths in the United States appear to have decreased 7 percent in 2013, which would make it only the second year since 1997 in which there has been a decline, a new report shows.

However, that drop may have been due to bad riding weather rather than improved motorcyclist safety, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Compared with the first nine months of 2012, motorcyclist deaths over the same period in 2013 were lower in 35 states and the District of Columbia, higher in 13 states, and the same in two states, preliminary data show.

But the report concluded that weather -- not improved riding habits or other safety measures -- was the main reason for the decline. The first six months of 2012 were unusually warm and dry across the United States and offered good riding weather, while the first nine months of 2013 were cooler and wetter.

"It's heartening that motorcyclist fatalities didn't increase over the past couple of years, but they're not decreasing either," Kendell Poole, GHSA chairman and director of the Tennessee Office of Highway Safety, said in an association news release.

"Long-term gains in motorcyclist safety won't occur because riders are deterred by bad weather, but from consistent use of proven countermeasures," he noted.

The total projected number of motorcyclist deaths in 2013 is 4,610, compared with 4,957 in 2012 and 4,612 in 2011, according to the report. The 7 percent decrease between 2012 and 2013 is about twice that of the overall decrease in U.S. traffic deaths in the first nine months of 2013.

However, motorcycle crashes in 2011 resulted in six times more rider/passenger deaths per registered vehicle than cars, the report noted. It also said that car occupants were twice as safe in 2011 as they were in 1997, but motorcyclist safety did not improve during that time.

A significant reduction in motorcyclist deaths could be achieved if all states had universal helmet laws, according to Poole.

"By far, helmets are the single most effective way to prevent serious injury and death in the event of a motorcycle crash. But states are going backward when it comes to enacting this proven, lifesaving countermeasure," he said.

Only 19 states and the District of Columbia require all riders to wear helmets, another 28 require riders younger than ages 21 or 18 to wear helmets, and three states have no helmet laws.

In 2012, there were 10 times more deaths of helmetless motorcyclists in states without universal helmet laws than in states with such laws, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nationwide, helmet use fell from 66 percent in 2011 to 60 percent in 2012, the news release noted.

The report recommended other measures that could make motorcycling less dangerous:


- Tougher stance on drunk driving: In 2011, 29 percent of fatally injured riders had a blood alcohol level above the legal limit.

- Discourage speeding
: Speeding is a factor in 35 percent of fatal crashes, and close to 50 percent of those crashes did not involve another vehicle.

- More safety training
: Motorcycle training courses may not be provided at locations and times convenient for riders, although some training is provided in all states.

- Enforce licensing laws
: Ensure motorcyclists are licensed. In 2011, 22 percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes did not have a valid motorcycle license, while only 12 percent of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes lacked a valid license.

- Make other drivers more aware of motorcycles on the road
: When motorcyclists are in crashes with other vehicles, the motorcyclist's right of way has typically been violated. Some states conduct "Share The Road" campaigns, to increase awareness of motorcyclists.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about motorcycle safety.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • More From wfmj.comMore>>

  • US employers add 209K jobs, rate rises to 6.2 pct.

    US employers add 209K jobs, rate rises to 6.2 pct.

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:23 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:23:51 GMT
    U.S. employers extended this year's hiring surge into July by adding a solid 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are shedding the caution that had...More >>
    U.S. employers extended their solid hiring into July by adding 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the...More >>
  • GM boosted June sales with discounts to dealers

    GM boosted June sales with discounts to dealers

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:42 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:42:40 GMT
    By TOM KRISHER Associated Press Auto Writer As General Motors prepares to report monthly sales results on Friday, a look its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping...More >>
    By TOM KRISHER Associated Press Auto Writer As General Motors tackles a safety crisis, a look its numbers from June show just how intent the company is on keeping new-car sales on the rise during a record...More >>
  • Group: homeless assaults should be hate crimes

    Group: homeless assaults should be hate crimes

    Friday, August 1 2014 9:23 AM EDT2014-08-01 13:23:08 GMT
    CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio homeless advocacy group wants assaults on homeless people to be considered hate crimes under the law. The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition says the designation of homeless people as a protected group would enhance penalties for offenders and help deter attacks. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that homeless coalition executive director Josh Spring says the proposal comes on the heels of the beating of a homeless man last weekend. Spring said one of the t...More >>
    CINCINNATI (AP) - A southwest Ohio homeless advocacy group wants assaults on homeless people to be considered hate crimes under the law. The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition says the designation of homeless people as a protected group would enhance penalties for offenders and help deter attacks. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that homeless coalition executive director Josh Spring says the proposal comes on the heels of the beating of a homeless man last weekend. Spring said one of the t...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WFMJ. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms