Good news and bad news for bikers nationwide: while motorcyclist fatalities are enjoying a steady decline, bike safety is still proceeding extremely slowly compared to other motor vehicles.
According to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), motorcycle rider deaths decreased in 2014 for the second year in a row. Although fatalities were about two percent lower overall, Missouri was one of the few states that saw a slight increase in fatalities for the first few months of the year.
While the downward trend is certainly good news, bikers are still far outpaced in safety compared to drivers and passengers in cars. Motor vehicle deaths have dropped by about 28 percent over the last ten years, while motorcyclist fatalities are 26 percent higher than they were a decade ago. While there have been many safety improvements to cars and trucks over the past few years, improved passenger safety and auto licensing laws have little to no impact on a motorcyclist, leaving bikers behind when it comes to their chances of surviving a crash.
The report offered several solutions to help bring biker safety up to speed, including:
- Reduce drunk driving rates. The study showed that 28 percent of riders killed in motorcycle accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the legal limit of .08 in 2013.
- Mandatory helmet use. Less than half of all U.S. states require all riders to wear a helmet when they ride. In these states, over 89 percent of riders regularly use helmets, compared with 48 percent helmet use in states without comprehensive helmet laws.
- Control speeding. Over 30 percent of riders killed in crashes in 2013 were speeding, compared with just 21 percent of fatally injured drivers of passenger cars.
- Proper licensing. While only 13 percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2013 were unlicensed, 25 percent of all motorcycle riders killed in accidents did not have valid motorcycle licenses.
- Encourage road sharing. NHTSA discovered that drivers are overwhelmingly at fault when motorcycles collide with other vehicles. An increase in local and nationwide “share the road” campaigns can help motorcycle awareness and educate drivers on how to drive near a biker.
We Want All Bikers to Stay Safe on Missouri Roads!
Attorney James Roswold is an avid motorcyclist who has seen the good and the bad of biking on Kansas City roads. That is why he compiled all of the best tips and tricks into a single guide to keep fellow bikers in top gear and riding high. Download a free copy of The KC Biker Bible today to find out how to stay safe and get the most out of every ride!