Despite an increase in the number of states that give motorcyclists the option to ride without a helmet, fatalities resulting from motorcycle accidents declined in 2013.
The report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, due to be released later today, projected a 7 percent decrease in the number of motorcyclists killed last year. The final fatality total is expected to be 4,610, fewer than the 4,957 in 2012 and nearly identical to the 4,612 in 2011.
“It’s heartening that motorcyclist fatalities didn’t increase over the past couple of years, but they’re not decreasing either,” Kendell Poole, GHSA chairman, said in a statement. “Long-term gains in motorcyclist safety won’t occur because riders are deterred by bad weather, but from consistent use of proven countermeasures.”
Statistically, motorcyclists account for a disproportionate number of highway deaths as a percentage of overall vehicle registrations. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said motorcycle deaths accounted for 15 percent of highway fatalities in 2011 , though motorcycles amount to just 3 percent of vehicle registrations.
Both the GHSA and NHTSA argue that safer crashing, (i.e. forcing motorcyclists to wear more safety gear such as helmets) is the best way to lower the numbers of fatalities, despite not having the statistics to back up that claim.
NHTSA Acting Administrator said that while helmets are important, other road users must drive safe. “Wearing a helmet on every ride is an important way for a motorcyclist to stay safe, but we all play a part. It’s up to all motorists and motorcyclists to make our roads safer..All road users need to share the responsibility of keeping the roadways safe.”
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