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Motorcycle deaths on the rise

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
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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Paul Christin
June 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Wearing helmets can be fatal.Your head swells after a hit and the helmet puts u out. The best helmets made are for a 20 MPH impact that's it, cant hear out of some n preferable vision is gone.51 years riding no helmet, I did years ago n couldn't hear a truck coming thru a stop thanks to my riding bodies shouting I lived. Depends on the type of accident,speed,etc.Survival of a crash over 40 MPH is slim so whats the difference.

June 22, 2013 at 7:34 pm

The reason there are more death sis because there are more people riding, its pretty simple really

Riders, IMO are like people who get tats, b4 only a certain segment of society got them, but now everyone from every social circle rides.

Gotta love the liberal answer here by the obviously lib writer, MORE LAWS is the answer.

Sorry, but everytime someone dies in a motorcycle accident, a helmet would not have saved their life, but I agree, my grandfather told me when I was young, how wearing one saved him from a concussion, or worse...

Let the survival of the fittest reign here, no more laws

Anegada Pirate
June 22, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I was an EMT for 7 years, a National Ski Patrol volunteer for 9, and a motorcyclist since '69. There is no reasoned, logical argument to be made for not wearing a helmet. Does anyone remember people saying they weren't going to wear seat belts because "they wanted to be thrown clear of the car and accident"? An infinite number of factors can lead to an unintentional disembarkation from the saddle, but any devise that can reduce the effects of "blunt force" or "rapid deceleration" trauma to the noggin is worth wearing. The simple fact is that the arguments for not wearing a crash helmet are based in "ego" and not medical science. I understand the sentiment of not wanting to be told what to do or how to live (or Die), but these are two separate and distinct debates, one being scientific and the other being cultural. It is very important that we do not confuse the two.

Kenny O
June 22, 2013 at 6:45 pm

With cell phone use and texting it's not a good thing to do these days. Your still taking a chance in a car.

Gee Ball
June 22, 2013 at 6:35 pm

If you ride a bike without a helmet in my opinion your are leaving yourself open for a head injury or maybe even death. I won't even take my bike out of the driveway without having my helmet on. You can bet when concrete and your head meet the concrete is going to win, enough said.

June 22, 2013 at 6:34 pm

If I tip my bike over in a parking-lot a helmet should save me.
If I'm going down a freeway and somebody dumps me, helmets mean nothing.
How many people failed physics?

Rob M.
June 22, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I've been riding for 48 years and have always worn a helmet. As I got older and wiser I began wearing more and more protective gear (armored jacket, gloves, boots, etc.) such that when a Ford F250 driver decided to cut a turn into my lane and hit me almost head on I survived with out a scratch even though my bike cost over $7000 to repair. My head in a full face helmet hit the ground.
There is a tradition of waving to fellow riders but I don't even acknowledge ones who are helmet less or wearing shorts, t-shirts, or flip flops.

June 22, 2013 at 5:48 pm

43 years riding, over half a million miles. I've been wearing a helmet since day 1.
Have you ever heard the sound of your head hitting concrete, from INSIDE a helmet? That's the sweetest sound.
Have you ever looked at a helmet that's just been through a major accident?
After saying all that, the only reason there are helmet LAWS is because people who think they know how other people should live their lives made such a stink that they convinced the insurance companies that it's a great way to cut their costs, and they see this as a way to avoid the medical expenses.
Doctors don't like doing major work on some clown who gets a major kick out of taking risks, because in the end, you're asking other people to pay if you come out on the losing end. So you're not wearing a helmet, you paste a phone pole when some old man steps off the curb in front of you, and, Bingo, you're a vegetable, and the rest of us have to pay for your care for the next 40 years. If you don't want to wear a helmet, fine. At least put a living will into place that says nothing has to be done to save or prolong your life after you have a moroncycle accident.
I'm not an ATGATT rider, either. If it's too hot, I've got a mesh jacket with pads. But at least jeans and boots. These clowns in shorts and flip-flops deserve whatever's comin' to 'em.

June 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Numbers are what they are, you can twist them and mold them to reflect whatever message you want to project. Say for instance this year a state has 1 motorcycle death, then the next year for some dumb luck it has 2 motorcycle deaths, that state now had a 100% increase in fatalaties. The real issue is, there are way more motorcycles on the road today then there were in years past, so it only stands to reason that there will be more acidents which will also mean more fatalaties. Agreed, many accidents are caused by inattentive motor vehicle drivers, which means we all have to drive safer and take more precautions. Not to mention that more accidents are involving wildlife such as deer which we all know there really isn't much we can do about that unless we can convince the deer to cross at the deer crossing signs.

Dizzie B.
June 22, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Good for you Norm, You Knuckle-Head, I'm glad you survived your accidents. I haven't ridden as long as you (I've only been riding for 22 years), but have ever considered that "the reason you're able to write about your Titanium Pins and Uneven Legs is because YOU WERE WEARING YOUR HELMET"?? Take it from someone who has played Football and Wrestled 8 years each, CONCUSSIONS, HEAD INJURIES, and COMAS are NO JOKE!! Even if Washington State didn't require you to wear a helmet, I still would. You have to protect your melon, man... Racers Do...