The motorcycle fatality rate has more than doubled over the past 20 years. The GHSA is once again ignoring street design and driver behavior, and instead promoting helmets:
Motorcycle fatalities for 2014 remained stubbornly high, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association said. Though motorcycles account for only 3 percent of vehicles on the road, their riders and passengers account for 14 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle-related deaths.
Estimated total fatalities for 2014 will total 4,584, GHSA said, when the data set is complete. That’s a 1.8 percent drop from 2013, when 4,668 people died in motorcycle incidents.
But that fatality rate is double the number of deaths tabulated during the late 1990s, GHSA said — and are more stark because automobile traffic deaths have dropped, due to improved auto safety features. Motorcycle deaths accounted for only 5 percent of all U.S. motor vehicle deaths in 1997, but represented 14 percent of all motor vehicle deaths in 2013.
Only 19 of the 50 states have universal helmet laws, most of the remainders requiring helmets only for riders under 18 or in some cases 21. In those states, the GHSA report stated, helmet use is typically below 50 percent.
The GHSA report came down squarely against limited or lax helmet laws. “Motorcycle deaths … were substantially lower in states with universal laws than in those with no laws or laws applying only to young motorcyclists.”
In fact, mandatory motorcycle helmet laws actually have the opposite effect — causing an increase in the fatality rate.