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Motorcycle deaths on the rise

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Posted: 6 am ET

Motorcycle deaths are on the rise, and are now approaching an all-time high. Using data from the first nine months of 2012, the latest report from the Governors Highway Safety Association projects that motorcycle deaths will increase 9 percent in 2012 to more than 5,000 fatalities. The GHSA, which represents state and territory car-safety agencies, has used this method of projecting deaths for the past three years and found its projections mirrored final results.

The increase in motorcycle fatalities marks the 14th of the last 15 years that motorcycle deaths have increased. The GHSA said that, when comparing the first nine months of 2012 to the same period in 2011, 34 states saw increases in motorcycle deaths, while 16 states declined, and the District of Columbia remained the same. Some states that experienced increases in fatalities saw substantial jumps, including a 32 percent rise in Oregon and a 29 percent increase in Indiana.

Part of the increase in fatalities is related to an increasing number of motorcyclists on the road. However, the GHSA also says there is a trend toward repealing helmet laws, despite the fact that they are the only safety strategy with a five-star effectiveness rating by the federal government. The study noted that 19 states required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets in 2012, down from 26 in 1997.

If you're a motorcycle rider, do you think you need a helmet? If you live in a state that doesn't require it, do you wear one?

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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131 Comments
Brian
June 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

the most accidents i have seen is car verse motorcycle . and when a car hits you a helmet wont save you . but majority of the biker deaths is because cars and vans and so forth dont LOOK while driving and i can't how many times in over 25 years of riding that vehicles have about taken me out or came into my lane and there right next to me .my bike is not quiet ,they just dont look and then we as bikers get run down or hit and they leave us there . or there are those idiots that just dont care and will do what it take to make us fall . but in any of these situations a helmet would and wont help you because getting hit by a vehicle is like goin 90 into a brick wall its not gunna matter .

Brian
June 22, 2013 at 4:20 pm

the most accidents i have seen is car verse motorcycle . and when a car hits you a helmet wont save you . but majority of the biker deaths is because cars and vans and so forth do LOOK while driving and i can't how many times in over 25 years of riding that vehicles have about taken me out or came into my lane and there right next to me .my bike is not quiet ,they just dont look and then we as bikers get run down or hit and they leave us there . or there are those idiots that just dont care and will do what it take to make us fall . but in any of these situations a helmet would and wont help you because getting hit by a vehicle is like goin 90 into a brick wall its not gunna matter .

paul
June 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm

I have over 250,00 miles riding various motorcycles. The majority helmet-free. One accident with an inattentive minivan, but I don't think a helmet would have prevented my broken leg or ribs. On the other hand, 2 head injuries suffered in car accidents while wearing seat belts. Hmmmm, maybe we need to wear helmets when in our cars

Wayne
June 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm

I would wear a helmet even without a helmet law. But in reality, a helmet just leaves a better looking corpse.

Paul J.
June 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

I have had 2 motorcycle accidents. None was my fault. The national insurance counsel said this a few yr's ago in the car motorcycle accidents 78% of the time it was cars fault. I ware
a helmet, but when the weather is in the 90's helmets are a hindrance.

Wayne
June 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Around here, a major cause of motorcycle accidents is distracted drivers. They just don't see the motorcyclists when their mind is not fully on their driving. Cars making left turns in front of oncoming motorcyclists is very common and often lethal to the biker.

Frank Rizzo
June 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

How many more motorcycles are on the road ? They don't tell you that. How many more inexperienced riders are there ? I see people pull stupid stunts every day in cars. Some of those same idiots have motorcycles also. How many more people are talking on cell phones and texting while driving ?

Ingrid
June 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I think it is multi-faceted. There should be a comparison between the increased percentage of motorcyclist and the increased number of deaths.
I truly don't believe it's about the helmets, that's just a ploy used like so many other things to continue to limit our freedom of choice.
Why not consider the increased use of cell phones and texting while driving, even in states where it's illegal and perhaps the increase in large SUV vehicles where it is even more difficult for the driver to see motorcycles to the side.
I didn't start riding until I was in my late 50s and taking the motorcycle training course was amazing. It surely made me more aware of driving more cautiously and really looking for motorcycles.
Ingrid

Joleen
June 22, 2013 at 3:32 pm

INCREASED numbers of helmetless riders! That helmet can make the difference between life and death, or vegetable and death. When you've been on the receiving end of a crash victim, you always wonder, what were they thinking? Not of much it seems. Nor will they again....

Art
June 22, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Lets not forget lack of road maintenance by our local and state government...hitting a pothole on a motorcycle can have a much different result or riding down a curvy road at night that has no lines