According to the New York Times of August 14 this year, 2007 motorcycle deaths increased and accounted for about 12 percent of total motor vehicle deaths. This was a rise of about 6.6 percent, and the 10th year in a row that such deaths have increased.
On the other hand, total deaths from car, truck, bicycle and pedestrian accidents fell by about 2,000 in 2007.
More Bikes on the Roads
The various experts interviewed and quoted gave several reasons for motorcycle deaths increasing, all of which were based on the premise that there are more bikes on the roads these days:
- With gas prices rising, more people are using bikes instead of cars to commute to work or for their personal traveling. On their bike they can get about 50 miles to the gallon.
- More people own motorcycles now, and apparently about 75 percent more bikes are registered now than were registered ten years ago.
- More middle-aged people are reverting to their bikes now that their children have grown up and become independent
With more bikes being used, it stands to reason that death rates would increase.
Fewer Helmet Laws
At the same time, fewer states are requiring helmet use. The National Transportation Safety Board states that 20 states currently have helmet laws, whereas in 1975, 47 states had them. These laws have always been controversial, as bike riders overwhelmingly prefer to have the freedom to ride without any helmet.
Ohio has a helmet law, but it applies only to riders under 18 and their passengers. Many feel it is too vague as to what an acceptable helmet is.
The Motorcycle safety Foundation has an excellent page on its website about DOT-certified helmets (Department of Transportation). It explain how and why they work, how to buy a good one, and how to care for your helmet.
At the law firm of Robert W. Kerpsack Co., we have had excellent results in defending motorcycle riders who have been injured. If you have been injured while riding, or if you have lost a loved one in a motorcycle accident, please call or email us to arrange a free consultation.