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Motorcyclist accident fatalities by state: 2011 preliminary data

Today’s blog post is by Michigan motorcycle safety advocate Dan Petterson. Dan is someone I became friendly with during the helmet law repeal fight. Dan is president of SMARTER, which stands for Skilled Motorcyclist Association — Responsible, Trained and Educated Riders, Inc. a motorcycle safety group. Dan and the folks over there are doing important things. Mostly, he’s constantly advocating for stronger motorcycle safety throughout the state.

Here’s what Dan had to say about recently motorcycle accident fatality statistics:

A new report from the governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) published in May 2012 and released May 22, 2012, projects that the number of motorcyclist traffic fatalities in the United States was about the same in 2011 as in 2010. This is a preliminary report using data from the first 9 months of 2011.

In late January 2012, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) asked each state and the District of Columbia to provide their preliminary motorcyclist fatality counts for 2011, as they did for 2010 and 2009. All 50 states and the District of Columbia supplied data. Many states also presented their views on why their motorcyclist fatalities increased or decreased.

The report points out that a strengthening economy and rising gas prices don’t bode well for future fatality numbers. As the economy strengthens, more people will have disposable income for purchasing and riding motorcycles. At the same time, in the past three decades, as gas prices rise, so do motorcycle fatalities.

Finally, the report recommends five strategies that states can implement to help make a difference in keeping motorcyclists safer on our nation’s roadways.

The full report by the Governors Highway Safety Administration can be found here: Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State.

The GHSA news release regarding the report can be found here: New Study – No Progress in Reducing Motorcyclist Deaths.

Noted in the news release from the GHSA is the disturbing trend of the decrease in states with universal helmet laws as all-rider helmet laws are the only motorcycle safety strategy whose effectiveness is rated as five-star in NHTSA’s highly-regarded publication, “Countermeasures That Work.” Noted, is that earlier this year, Michigan repealed its universal helmet law, while similar legislation has been introduced in five other states. No state has enacted a universal helmet law since Louisiana reinstated its requirement in 2004.

A Michigan specific news article was published in the Detroit News May 22. In this article, Barbara Harsha, GHSA’s executive director, is quoted as saying “Michigan has made tremendous progress in highway safety, but the repeal of the universal helmet law is a giant step backward and has national implications.” Here’s the complete Detroit News article: Officials urge safety as motorcycle deaths remain high.

Related information:

7 reasons every state should pass a motorcycle helmet law

Michigan motorcycle accident deaths increase by 21 percent

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