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Recession impact: fewer motorcycle deaths?

By dcuff
Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 10:55 am in Uncategorized.

People seem to be cutting back on many things in the recession, including riding motorcycles and getting killed on them. Fatal motorcycle accidents nationwide declined in 2009 for the first time since 1997, and a new study suggests  one reason for the dip is bikers cutting back on recreational riding to save money.

Read the study here. Motorcyclist accident fatalities peaked in 2008 with 5,290 deaths nationwide. But with most of the numbers in, it looks like there was a drop of about 10 percent  in 2009, reports the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.

“Reduced recreational travel due to the recession probably played a major role in the 2009 decrease,” the report concluded. “As economic conditions improve, recreational travel probably will increase.”

In California, there were 321 motorcycle fatalities during the first nine months of 2009, compared to 454 in the same period during 2008, a decrease of 133 deaths, researchers reported.

Cold weather in 2009 also may have contributed to less motorcycle use and fewer deaths because more recreational riders go out in warm, sunny weather, the report suggests.

To reduce deaths in the long-term, the report suggests that states focus on reducing speeding and  drunken driving and increasing helmet use and driver education programs. In 2008, 41 percent of the fatal injured motorcyle drivers and 51 percent of the fatally injured motorcycle passengers were not wearing helmets.

About 35 percent of fatally injured motorcycle drivers in 2008 were speeding, compared to 23 percent of  fatally injured car drivers, and 19 percent of  light truck drivers killed in accidents, the report says.

These are all sobering numbers. Seems like there ought to be a way for bikers to have fun on the road without so many of them getting killed.




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