TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Motorcycle deaths in the
United States fell by about 2 percent between 2009 and 2010, the
second year in a row fatalities have declined, according to a new
The drop means that about 89 fewer people were killed in
motorcycle accidents in 2010 than in 2009, according to a report
released April 19 by the Governors Highway Safety Association
An estimated 4,465 were killed in 2009 compared to 4,376 in
The drop last year follows a 16 percent decline in 2009, which
came after 11 straight years of steady increases in motorcycle
The report, based on preliminary data for the first nine months
of the year from 50 states and the District of Columbia, projects
notable declines in many states, including decreases of 16 percent
in Texas, 27 percent in Oregon and 30 percent in Oklahoma.
While the national drop in motorcycle deaths last year is good
news, there may be some areas for concern, according to the
The fall in the number of deaths was concentrated in the early
months of 2010, with deaths actually increasing by about 3 percent
in the third quarter compared with 2009.
The report also noted that helmet use dropped from 67 percent of
riders in 2009 to 54 percent in 2010. In addition, rising gas
prices will likely increase motorcycle use and put more people at
"While there is a lot of good news in this report, the increase in fatalities toward the end of year is a clear red flag. Just like with overall traffic deaths, a strengthening economy presents us with the potential for more tragedy on our roads," GHSA Chairman Vernon Betkey, director of Maryland's highway traffic safety program, said in an association news release.
"We are going to be very aggressive in targeting our programs where they are needed the most. Additionally, we will continue to remind all roadway users that motorcycles are a legal and legitimate way of transportation and we all need to safely share the road," he added.
The report says states need to focus their motorcycle safety
efforts on increasing helmet use, reducing drinking and riding,
reducing speeding and providing motorcycle training to everyone who
needs or wants it.
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has more