According to a preliminary report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), motorcycle fatalities dropped 7% for 2013. The drop is the second time in five years that fatalities on a motorcycle have decreased (the last drop was in 2009), with 4,610 motorcyclists dying last year, compared to the 4,957 in 2012.
The report by the GHSA is based off the first nine months of 2013, and shows that fatalities dropped in 35 states (along with the District of Columbia), increased in 13 states, and remained the same in 2 states.
“The decline in rider fatalities is encouraging news, particularly during Motorcycle Awareness Month when so many motorcyclists are riding,” said Wayne Allard, Vice President for Government Relations for the American Motorcyclist Association. “And we hope that these reported declines signal a positive trend in rider safety on nation’s highways.”
Historically, motorcycle fatality trends have mirrored new motorcycle sales and new rider registration, though the AMA is holding fast to its “we don’t know what causes motorcycle crashes” argument. Sadly even though the correlational evidence is abundantly clear, there is very little concrete data for the industry to use to change the problem.
As the AMA points out in its press release, thankfully a new causation study is underway at the Oklahoma Transportation Center, a part of the Oklahoma State University. Funding for the study comes from the AMA, the Federal Highway Administration, and the NHTSA, and a final report is expected to be published in 2015.
With motorcycle sales in the US showing a flatline for 2014, we can expect motorcycle fatalities for this year to remain fairly constant. However, should the industry start to recover in the summer months, we can unfortunately expect to see the death toll rise as well. Ride safe out there A&R readers.