In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration projected that motor vehicle accident deaths in the U.S. declined in 2011, reaching the lowest level in more than 60 years. Unfortunately, the decline in highway deaths does not include motorcyclists. In 2011, there were approximately 4,500 motorcycle crash deaths in the United States, about the same number as in 2010.
Florida actually saw an increase in motorcycle accident fatalities. In 2011, 303 riders died in Florida motorcycle accidents. During the same period in 2010, there were only 292 motorcycle crash deaths in Florida. This means 2011 saw a four percent increase.
Why do motorcycle deaths remain one of the few areas where highway fatalities are not decreasing?
Experts believe the answer may have less to do with traffic laws and safety features than with an improving economy and rising gas prices. The improved economy means that more people are able to purchase and ride motorcycles, and rising gas prices make motorcycles a good choice for transportation because they are fuel-efficient.
Not convinced? Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North studied the relationship between gas prices, motorcycle registrations, and motorcyclist fatality rates by looking at motorcycle crash data collected since 1976. He found increased motorcycle registrations and higher gas prices are positively correlated with a rise in motorcycle accident deaths.
In Florida, there was an increase in motorcycle license endorsements in 2011.
Palm Beach accident injury lawyer David Glatthorn represents victims of Florida motorcycle accidents. Learn more about the rights of Florida injury victims in his book, The Florida Accident Workbook: Tools, Tips & Tactics to Resolve Your Injury Claim, or contact David Glatthorn at 866-413-5525. The initial consultation is always free.