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.