Just in time for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May comes an announcement by the Governors’ Highway Safety Association that there has been a substantial drop in the number of motorcycle fatalities nationwide.
According to data from the first nine months of 2009, there is expected to be a decline of more than 10% in fatality rates, the first time a decline like this has been recorded in the past 11 years. Indiana also recorded a drop in motorcycle accident fatalities last year. There were 108 motorcycle crash deaths here in 2009, a drop of four deaths from 2008.
The GHSA press release points out a few key factors that could have been responsible for this drop.
• The economic downturn is the biggest reason for the decline. Not only have been there been fewer motorcycles sold in 2009, but there has been a decline in riding for leisure.
• The stock market crash bit into retirement savings around the country. This meant a sharp drop in the numbers of middle-aged motorcyclists, many of who were unwilling to buy new motorcycles or spend on nonessential riding.
• The GHSA is also lauding the efforts made by states to reduce these fatalities. These efforts included safety training programs for motorcyclists and promotion of helmet use.
As Indiana motorcycle accident lawyers, we would like to believe that this decline has been the result of greater motorist awareness and safer motorcycling all around. It doesn’t appear to be so. There seem to have been a lot of external factors that have nothing to do with motorcycling but have contributed to this decline.
As the economy recovers, we might see more persons in Indiana and around the country return to the joys of motorcycling, possibly increasing the risk of accidents all over again. We will have to wait and see if that happens.