Anyone in the Orange County area who rides a motorcycle should be aware of the dangers that they face when riding. Even the most careful and safety-conscious bikers can fall victim to a negligent driver in another motor vehicle. When that happens, the motorcyclist usually suffers serious injuries due to the lack of protection that their motorcycle has to offer. While this is a sobering thought for riders, the good news is that fatal motorcycle accidents are on the decline.
Recently, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported its annual accident report. The NHTSA takes a year to collect and report the data, so the most recent figures are for the year 2013. During that year, 4,668 people died in the U.S. as a result of motorcycle accidents.
The number of motorcycle deaths in 2013 translates to almost 13 deaths during every day of the year. But, that number marks a 6.4 percent decrease from the 4,986 motorcycle-related deaths in 2012. Moreover, 2013 was the first year since 2009 that the annual number of deaths decreased. The report also showed that, in states that have helmet laws, like California, only 150 people died while riding without a helmet. By contrast, in states that do not have helmet laws, more than 1,700 people lost their lives while riding without a helmet.
The news that motorcycle deaths are decreasing is encouraging, but these fatalities still represent a growing share of all traffic deaths. For example, 10 years ago, only about one out of every 10 traffic fatalities involved a motorcyclist. But in 2013, motorcycle deaths accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities.
The bottom line is that motorcycling is still a relatively dangerous form of transportation compared to other motor vehicles. However, motorcyclists and other drivers should continue to do all that they can to prevent fatal accidents.
Source: LA Times, "Motorcycle deaths are down sharply, NHTSA report says," Charles Fleming, Jan. 2, 2014