US Motorcycle Deaths Down 7% in 2013, but It Looks Like It’s only the Weather

Bike crash site 1 photo
Good news comes from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), as the Spotlight of Highway Safety report indicates that motorcycle fatalities are down 7 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year.
During 2012, 4,957 riders and passengers lost their lives in motorcycle accidents, compared to 4,610 in 2013. Across the US, motorcycle deaths went up in 13 states, down in 35 states and the District of Columbia, while in 2 states the figures remained unchanged. Overall, the motorcycle fatalities have returned to almost the same value in 2011, but GHSA’ Dr. James Hedlund says this decrease is most likely related to the weather conditions.

Just like 2011, the first 6 months of 2013 have been significantly cooler and wetter, whereas the same period of 2012 was unusually warm and dry in most of the country, and Dr. Hedlund believes that this is the major cause for the decrease in motorcycle fatalities. The percentage of motorcyclist fatalities in the total number of traffic casualties went up from around 7% in 1975 to 15% in 2012.

As far as helmets influence the body count, NHTSA figures say that in 2012, the number of deaths in states with no universal helmet laws was 10 times higher than in the states which require helmets to be worn at all times. Across the US, only 19 states + DC have an universal helmet law, while in other 28 states, riders younger than 18 or 21 are the only ones who must wear a helmet. Three states have no helmet laws at all. The same source specifies that helmet use went down 6% from 66% in 2011.

The most important causes of fatal motorcycle accidents for 2011 have been as following:
- Speeding, with over 35% deaths occurring at speeds higher than the legal one and almost half of these being single-vehicle accidents
- Alcohol impairment, with 29% if fatal injuries involving riders with more than 0.8 BAC
- Improper licensing is responsible for around 22% of the fatal crashes, with riders who did not possess a valid motorcycle license

Other preliminary conclusions drawn include that in motorcycles crashing with other vehicles, the latter are usually the ones responsible for the incidents, by violating the riders’ right of way. All data in the GHSA report is preliminary, with a definitive report being expected in the coming months. You can read the whole report attached below (PDF).

Via dealernews
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram

 Download: GHSA motorcycle fatalities_2013 (PDF)


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories