Motorcycle deaths decline slightly in 2010: report

April 20, 2011

Washington – Motorcycle fatalities declined slightly in 2010, but so did motorcycle helmet use, according to preliminary findings from a new report (.pdf file) released April 19 by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The report – written for GHSA by James Hedlund of Ithaca, NY-based consulting firm Highway Safety North – showed a 2 percent decrease in motorcycle fatalities to 4,376, following a 16 percent decline in 2009. This followed 11 straight years of steady increase in motorcycle deaths, from 2,116 in 1997 to 5,612 in 2008. However, motorcycle helmet use dropped to 54 percent in 2010 from 67 percent in 2009.

In a press release, GHSA officials expressed concern that as the economy improves motorcycle travel is likely to increase, thus increasing risk exposure. GHSA urged states to continue progress by focusing motorcycle safety efforts on:

  • Increasing helmet use
  • Reducing alcohol impairment
  • Reducing speeding
  • Providing motorcycle operator training to all who need it