In a report released by the AMA, which used data collected by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), on-road motorcycle falatities dropped by at least 10% during 2009 when compared to the year before. In 2008 there were 5,290 motorcycle deaths on US highways, but in 2009 this figure dropped to 4,762 deaths.
2008 was a record setting year not only in motorcycle sales, but also in motorcycle fatalities. Conversely, 2009 saw a massive reduction in motorcycle sales, and a 180° turn in motorcycle fatalities. With the upward trend of total deaths mirroring the trend of increasing motorcycle sales, and now also mirroring the recent downward trend in motorcycle sales, the correlation would seem obvious, if not logical.
Unsure about what causes motorcycle crashes in the first place, the Federal Highway Administration plans to commission a $3 million study over the next 4 years that will look into the causes of motorcycle crashes, and then in turn fund the programs that address these problems.
The last time the US government investigated on-road motorcycle fatalities was in 1981 in a study known better as the “Hurt Report”. Named after lead researcher Harry Hurt of the University of Southern California, Hurt was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2007 for his pioneering work.
This new study will supplement the Hurt Report and provide new data that addresses the changing road conditions that have manifested in the 20 year timeframe from when the Hurt Report was commissioned.