A new government report on highway safety shows the number of motorcycle fatalities on our roads stayed the same in 2011 as it was in 2010. Motorcycle deaths have risen in 12 of the last 13 years, according to a report by The Detroit News.

In comparison, vehicle fatalities continued its steady decline, the government report said.

The report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, an organization of state highway safety officials, pointed to three factors it said contributed to the high fatality rate: not wearing a helmet, alcohol consumption and speed,

In the first nine months of 2011, the report said 3,580 motorcyclists were killed.

This report recognizes we need to do more to prevent motorcycle crashes, but totally misses the mark by blaming the biker for being involved in a collision. The GHSA needs to direct its attention to what really kills bikers – distracted drivers! Do more to keep drivers from playing with their cell phones, iPads, makeup and dinner,  and pay attention to their surroundings instead. With the continued escalation of gas prices, motorcycle use will continue to go up. To keep fatalities from increasing, drivers need to recognize they are sharing the road with bikers and anticipate their presence.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the motorcycle fatality rate rose steadily for about a dozen years, setting a record of 5,290 in 2008 before falling dramatically in 2009.. In the 10 years ending in 2007, federal statistics showed the number of fatalities rose from 2,116 to 5,154, and the number of injuries almost doubled, reaching 103,000.

There was no explanation for the 16 percent decline in the first nine months of 2009.

The GHSA said that once all the motorcycle deaths in 2011 are tabulated, the total will be about 4,500.

When are we going to start talking about distracted driving and their danger to motorcyclists? These news reports raise awareness for motorcyclists, and that is good, BUT the truth about distracted drivers and their impact on motorcycle safety would do a lot more to remind people about the dangers of being distracted while driving.  The number of motorcycles on the road and the number of miles they operate a year are only going to increase in the future as motorcycles become a commuting staple.  Government needs to act aggressively and act NOW to condition drivers to expect motorcycles and break the distracted driving habit.

Thanks for reading, and always ride safely!

ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY  14901
Phone: (607)733-8866
Fax: (607)732-6062