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Motorcycle Accident Stats 2012

Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys: Accident statistics for 2012adka_Russ Brown motorcycle accident lawyer injury attorneys

In a recently released report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, it appears that motorcycle fatalities and accidents are on the rise.  The Association points to a number of reasons but mainly attributes the rise to changes in mandatory helmet laws in some states.

The Governors Highway Safety Association is a group that represents the states and monitors highway safety while making recommendations to increase that safety.  Addressing everything from impaired driving, speeding, and occupant protection, the Association attempts to influence driving laws, increase safety and promote best practices.

Delving deeper into the Association’s reports, one can readily see that motorcycle fatalities are indeed on the rise.  Thirty four states saw an increase in fatalities with the state of Oregon seeing a statistical rise of 32% and Indiana, a 29% increase.  Taking into account that the amount of registered riders is also on the rise, the logical conclusion is that more riders will result in more accidents.  In the state of Pennsylvania alone, the amount of registered riders jumped from 265,054 to 409,017 between 2011 and 2012.  That’s an increase of 54% over the two years! 

A much longer riding season in 2012 is another contributing factor barely mentioned in the report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association.  In fact, 2012 set records for average temperatures in 48 of the 50 states.  Along with the fact that the warmer temperatures occurred much earlier than they have this year, one can come to the conclusion that the 2012 riding season was a longer than normal which in turn, encouraged riders to get out on their bikes earlier and more often.  More time on the road will directly correlate to the increase in fatalities—a longer season provides increased chances of accidents.  California can be taken as an example to support this hypothesis as the riding season there is typically stable and fatalities dropped slightly, from 321 deaths in 2011 to 318 in 2012.

Ultimately though, the helmet debate will undoubtedly continue in earnest as the report strongly suggests that helmet usage is the large and looming issue when it comes to motorcycle fatalities but is it? Now only 19 states have mandatory helmet laws versus the 1997 level of 26.  In fact, between 2010 and 2012, in most states with only partial helmet laws, fatally injured riders were five times more likely to have ridden without the protection of a helmet as those in states with universal helmet laws.  But is that due to helmet law or the large increase in riders and the longer then usual riding season?

The debate rages on!

Ride Safe!


  1. Robert Pless

    How about educating the public on motorcycle awareness and put some teeth in using cell phones to talk and text. Let the public report cell phone abusers and check the time on their cell phone records and send them a ticket. Make the fines steep enough to send a message that it has to stop. If its legal to take a photo of your vehicle and get a ticket through the mail then it should be legal to report cell phone abusers. As a rider myself, I have had many close calls because people don’t pay attention. The old excuse that we didn’t see you is absurd. If you can’t see a 950 pound motorcycle with three bright lights on the front and a 225 pound man aboard, you should not be allowed to drive a vehicle at all.

  2. Brian

    The biggest problem we have is idiots driving cars not paying attention,texting,talking on a phone,or just being aggressive drivers not wanting to yield..i drive for a living and ride,,the things i see everyday makes me sick just thinking what can happen.There are a few riders that drive over their heads too.We all need to just slow down and enjoy life,cause it can end at any second.

  3. Rayul

    You should ask your local dmv or poicle station where a licensed motorcycle training school is in your area. Some even have bikes that you can use to take the class.Learning to ride a motorcycle is pretty easy, but there are a lot of things you have to be aware of to keep from getting killed when you ride them in traffic.First, and foremost is that people in cars DO NOT see you. Most courses recommend riding as if you are invisible (this helps keep you from being surprised when someone starts getting over into your lane). I take it a step further and pretend like people are actively trying to kill me (not far from the truth actually) that way I’m not surprised when someone whips across three lanes of traffic and slams on their brakes directly in front of me (had it happen!)Learning to maneuver your bike how to brake properly (always avoid hard braking at lights, or following other cars too close you might be able to stop, but the car behind you won’t). At higher speeds you have to learn how to counter-steer pushing the handlebars the opposite direction that you want to turn, and then leaning into the turn (it’s an incredible rush once you get it figured out).Motorcycling can be an incredible experience or it can be extremely dangerous (sometimes both). If you are careful, take precautions choose your bike carefully (don’t just buy a crotch rocket and go plow it into the nearest immovable object). Wear proper riding gear in the summer months I see a lot of people riding with nothing but a t-shirt and one of those biker style skid lid helmets.Those people are most likely going to sustain serious injuries, or die, if they end up in a wreck. I almost always wear a jacket, gloves, a full faced helmet, jeans and boots. Even in hot weather (which can suck if you get stuck at a light for a long time but which you don’t even notice when you are moving at highway/freeway speeds).Good luck and be careful!!

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