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12NR33 - MRF News Release - Inaccurate Study on Motorcycle Safety Praised by Governors Highway Safety Association.

6 December 2012

Contact: Jeff Hennie, Vice President of Government Ralations and Public Affairs

Breaking News!

Inaccurate Study on Motorcycle Safety Praised by Governors Highway Safety Association.

Recently the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) praised the inaccurate study on motorcycle safety done by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

What both reports failed to tell you is that motorcyclists are safer now than since 1984. Hereís why; in 2010 fatalities were almost identical to 1984, around 4,500 motorcyclists a year. However, what they did not tell you is that in 1984 5.5 million motorcycles were registered in the USA. Compare that to the 7 million registered motorcycles in 2010. Thatís 1.5 million more motorcycles and the same amount of fatalities.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Highway Statistics.

Both the GAO and the GHSA are pushing for what they believe is the silver bullet of motorcycle safety, the mandatory helmet law. Proper riding gear should be left to the rider, not the government. When you look at States like Tennessee and Arizona that have roughly the same size population and then break down fatality numbers it becomes clear that helmet laws do not have significant influence. Tennessee has a mandatory helmet law and 121 fatalities for 2010. Arizona has no mandatory helmet law and had 88 fatalities for the same period of time. Even right over the border from Tennessee their neighboring Kentucky, which also has no mandatory helmet law, had just 87 fatalities in 2010.

Another area where the Government agencies continue to overlook when dealing with motorcycle safety is rider education. If we cannot teach people to ride motorcycles we will have more and more fatalities.

Take New Hampshire for example. According to Robert LeTourneau, New Hampshire State Official Motorcycle Education Specialist they have had 15 fatal motorcycle accidents of riders who took the class since 1990. Thatís out of over 44,000 students trained in the same time period and .034% of fatal motorcycle accidents. All with no mandatory helmet law.

While mandatory helmet laws look good on paper they rarely work in the real world. The best approach to motorcycle safety is and will always be rider education and awareness campaigns. Teaching people how to ride a motorcycle in the proper way and educating the general public to look for motorcycles, which can only benefit pedestrians and bicyclists as well, will avoid crashes and save lives.



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