Guest Author - Nancy Brotherton
Motorcycle Crash Statistics – August 2008
•The good news is that overall motor vehicle occupant fatalities declined by 3.9 percent for 2007 versus 2006.
•The bad news is that motorcycle fatalities have increased from 4,837 (2006) to 5,154 (2007) up 317 fatalities or 6.6 percent, which accounted for 13 percent of total motor vehicle fatalities versus 11 percent in 2006.
•The amount of motorcycle injuries have increased from 88,000 (2006) to 103,000 (2007) up 15,000 or 17 percent.
•You probably think the increase in fatalities is because motorcycle registrations have increased by approximately 7 percent from 2005 to 2006. NHSTA data indicates that in most years, fatality rates outpace registration rates. FARS data indicates that from 2005 to 2006, motorcycle registrations actually decreased by 1.6 percent, while fatality rates for motorcyclists increased by 5.7 percent.
•Over one-fourth of motorcycle riders in fatal accidents in 2006 had invalid licenses. This leads one to believe that these motorcyclists may not be as skilled or well trained as motorcyclists with a valid license, therefore, more likely to be in an accident.
•In 2007, motorcyclist fatalities increased from 2006 for all age groups with the largest increase in the age 50 and above group, increasing by as much as 16 percent. However, ages 20-29 still have the most fatalities with 1,325 in 2007 versus ages 50-59 with 931 fatalities.
•In 2007, 41 percent of motorcyclists who died in single vehicle crashes had blood alcohol content levels of .08 g/dl or higher. The age groups with the highest percentage of fatal injuries were 35-39 (41 percent) and 40-44 (39%).
•In 2006, vehicle operators with the highest percentage of fatal crashes with blood alcohol content levels of .08 g/dl or more were motorcyclists with 27 percent, passenger cars with 23 percent, light trucks with 24 percent, and larger trucks with one percent. The alcohol related fatal crashes data suggests that riding a motorcycle requires more concentration and skill when drinking than driving an automobile. Know your limits and use caution when riding your motorcycle.
•When motorcycles are involved in fatal crashes with another type of vehicle, in 40 percent of the cases, the other vehicle was turning left while the motorcycle was going straight. This is a clear indicator that when approaching intersections, motorcyclists should be extra vigilant and be proactive by searching for possible obstacles or situations.
•In 2006, 37 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding compared to 23 percent for passenger vehicles.
This data is nothing new. Even with statewide motorcycle safety campaigns to help automobile drivers be more aware of motorcyclists, fatalities are increasing. There are steps we as motorcyclists can take to be safer on the road.
- Wear the proper gear; helmet, bright colors, leathers, etc.
- Take the Basic Rider Course
- Take an annual refresher Experienced Rider Course
- Practice your riding skills
- Be responsible if your drink and ride
- Be proactive while riding, anticipating automobile drivers
not being able to see you and assuming that they have the right of way
- Obey the speed limit and adjust your speed appropriately for
the road conditions
Until next week, ride safe.