Motorcycle Fatalities Dropped 7% for 2013

05/08/2014 @ 12:27 pm, by Jensen Beeler10 COMMENTS


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.

Source: AMA

  • mudgun

    I can’t wait for my VOLO lights to arrive. While getting hit by a car from behind may not be a main factor in most motorcycle accidents, it’s my personal worst fear.

    I also would support some form of tier licensing to allow new riders graduate to larger bikes over time. My own experience taught me starting on a full size full performance bike has drawbacks for an inexperienced rider. Even though I had mini-bike and mo-ped experience as a teen, years later as an adult I went straight onto a bike I wasn’t ready for. No serious accidents thank God but enough close calls to realize I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone.

    One last comment: A trick I learned from science fiction writer Issac Asimmov (have no idea if or how it might work) At the start of every roadride I take a deep relaxing breath and say to myself, “Subconsious mind, watch me ride and don’t let me crash.”

  • irksome

    I’d like to know the 13 states to check for correlation w/ helmet laws.

    @mudgun: I agree w/ a tier licensing system (England has one, yes?) but I fear it’d be shouted down as a “nanny-state” regulation by those rugged individualists who swear by their God-given right to kill themselves with their learner’s permit on a Hyabusa or a Harley.

    Like you, I rode dirt bikes for 15yrs before I bought a street bike in ’86 and I was smart enough to recognize my limitations and inexperience; I bought a Yamaha SR 500 and then built the snot out of it.

    Then again, I WAS living in Boston at the time… a motorcycle cop I knew said “If you live thru the 1st year, you’ll be fine”!

  • crshnbrn

    re: “Subconsious mind, watch me ride and don’t let me crash.”

    I wonder if Rossi will admit as to whether or not that is part of his pre-race ritual.

  • paulus

    Re: “Subconsious mind, watch me ride and don’t let me crash.”
    treat every other vehicle as if they are trying to kill you…. has worked so far

  • Shinigami

    Mental management 101. Visualize what you want and you will achieve it.

    Admittedly useless in terms of third-party caused incidents but quite valuable in helping avoid the most common types of single rider mishaps, presuming a reasonable skill set.

  • Spamtasticus

    Motorcycles are very dangerous. They should be a law to keep those rugged individualist idiots from killing themselves.

  • Spamtasticus

    PS. That is what most non motorcyclist thinks when they see us riding with or without a helmet. If the choice to ride a motorcycle should be the individual’s choice then the choice to ride one with or without a helmet should also be their choice. I, personally chose to ride and ride with a helmet. I want nobody else making either of those choices for me.

  • mudgun

    Every time I meet and talk to a new rider I have one point about surviving on a motorcycle I feel I must make more than any other. (I’m not a know-it-all type at all, I try to couch it as a “personal” survival story and I just hope it sticks in their mind. So…

    I’m deep in the country on a nice little road with my wife on the back. It suddenly becomes important for us to get somewhere in a hurry so I speed up. Before long I’m going into a left hand curve and running out of room fast. I fixate on the exact spot I believe I’m going to leave the road and ride through a ditch, into a strand of trees and a barbed wire fence. Then into my head pops the words, “you go where you look”. I pulled my eyes off my launch path and stared at the pavement I wished I could ride on. Almost like magic I made the curve and finished the ride safe and sound. That was over 25 years ago and it’s still the one “most important” thing I wish all new riders understood by heart.

    I often wonder if this is the “most important” single thing to know about riding, which doesn’t come naturally.

  • Paul McM

    This is good news, just from the raw numbers — fewer dead bikers. But I’d like to see if the fatality rate per mile or per hour of riding has actually changed any. If motorcyclists rode fewer miles in 2013 (compared to 2012), perhaps because of bad weather or higher fuel prices, then there might not really be any meaningful improvement in rider safety — just fewer deaths because fewer miles were covered.

  • John M

    Am I the only one that sees the problem with the math?

    If bike sales are down 50+%, isn’t it only natural that deaths would be down?