Do states use accident reports to improve their motorcycle safety programs? What are the current top areas that states need to focus on?

Motorcycle accidents are almost always guaranteed to produce injuries. Consider the fact that since there is no outer protection surrounding a cyclist, there is nothing to protect him from the force of the impact, contact with the ground, or flying debris. It doesn’t matter if the rider is thrown, falls off, becomes pinned underneath the bike, or if he uses his body to brace himself—the force of an accident will most likely cause painful and quite possibly life-threatening injuries.

As a result, highway programs such as the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have taken it upon themselves to create biannual and annual reports that track motorcycle accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

The latest GHSA report, from May 2015, showed a projected decline of accidents for the end of 2015. However, although this is fantastic news, further details of the report are not quite as appealing.

Focusing on Safety

During the GHSA collection of data, alarming statistics were uncovered from previous years pertaining to the following:

  • Alcohol use
  • Speeding
  • Invalid motorcycle licenses
  • Lac of helmet use
  • The inability of cars and motorcycles to share the road

These stats have caused both the GHSA and NHTSA to encourage states nationwide to focus their attention on motorcycle safety. Their recommendations specifically refer to the following:

  • Reducing alcohol impairment. In 2011, 42% of fatally injured motorcyclists had a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 percent. Two years later found a slight decline of legally drunk victims, with 28% of fatally injured riders having BACs above .08 percent. Considering the risks involved, this percentage should be closer to zero.
  • Reducing speeding. According to the latest data, 34% of riders who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding significant, defined as five miles per hour or more over the speed limit. This is compared to the 21% of speeding passenger vehicles involved in deadly collisions. Again, considering the risks involved, motorcyclists should be far less inclined to speed than car drivers.
  • Ensuring proper licensing. Nearly a quarter of riders involved in fatal crashes do not have valid motorcycle licenses. States need to encourage license registrations in order to encourage proper handling and training.
  • Encouraging drivers and riders alike to share the road. When motorcycles crash with other vehicles, the other driver is often at fault. Many drivers overlook motorcycles because of their size and speed, or attempt to get far away from them by maneuvering around them. “Share the road” campaigns can be used to increase motorcycle awareness and help motorcyclists be seen.

Share this article via Facebook or email to encourage your friends and family to focus on motorcycle safety. Better yet, send it to your mayor, governor, or congressional delegation to let them know that Floridian riders need road protection.