MOTORCYCLING DEATHS DROP BY 10 PERCENT Reasons For Decline Unknown
A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that motorcycling fatalities nationwide dropped by at least 10 percent in 2009—the ﬁrst decline in 12 years. While many have speculated as to the reasons, nobody really knows why. Based on preliminary data the GHSA, which represents the state highway safety ofﬁces nationwide, projects that motorcycling deaths declined from 5,290
in 2008 to 4,762 or fewer in 2009. The projection is preliminary and based on data collected from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The GHSA cautioned that the report only involves one year, so it’s too soon to predict a steady decline. “We will need to see three to ﬁve years of decline before we are ready to say that a positive trend has developed,” said GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey. In fact, the report notes that fatalities
have signiﬁcantly decreased in the past but then rose again. For example, from 1980 to 1997 they dropped by almost 60 percent. But then fatalities increased steadily from 1997 through 2008. “The death of any motorcyclist is one too many, so this news is encouraging,” says Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “While we are pleased that the number of motorcycling fatalities dropped dramatically in 2009, we need to see that trend continue.” Moreland notes that there aren’t any solid answers for the drop. “The motorcycling community looks forward to getting some real answers about motorcycle crashes and what causes them from the new federal crash causation study that is getting under way,” Moreland says. “Then we can put our heads together to ﬁnd solutions, reduce crashes and save more lives.” The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) formally announced the new crash causation study on Oct. 5. The FHWA is overseeing the four-year, $3 million study, which is being conducted by Oklahoma State University through the Oklahoma Transportation Center in Stillwater, Okla.
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