Bad news


Traffic deaths last year reached the highest level since 1990, propelled by an increase in motorcycle and pedestrian fatalities. And the overall fatality rate was up for the first time in 20 years.

Motorcyclists’ deaths rose for an eighth straight year, the government said. Nearly half the riders were not wearing helmets.

Some 43,443 people were killed on the highways last year, up 1.4 percent from 42,836 in 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Tuesday. It was the highest number in a single year since 1990, when 44,599 people were killed.

The fatality rate grew slightly to 1.47 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, an increase from 1.45 in 2004. That was the first increase since 1986.

Said Acting Transportation Secretary Maria Cino: “Motorcyclists need to wear their helmets, drivers need to buckle up, and all motorists need to stay sober.â€

Fifty-five percent of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts.

The annual report said motorcycle fatalities rose 13 percent — to 4,553 in 2005.

‘One fatality is one too many’
Tim Buche, president of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, said the increase could not be linked to a single issue, citing the impairment and inattention of other drivers and motorcycle riders who drive impaired, untrained or without protective gear.

“One fatality is one too many, and we urge riders to take vital safety precautions,†Buche said. “We also ask that all roadway users expect to see motorcyclists on the road and respect their right to be there.â€

Several states have moved to repeal mandatory helmet laws in recent years, generating criticism from safety groups who say relaxed laws lead to more deaths and injuries. Motorcycle deaths have increased 115 percent since 1997.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets, while 26 states require younger riders to wear them. Four states — Colorado, Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire — have no helmet law.

Little margin for error
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger brought attention to the issue in June when he broke his jaw and nose after colliding with a car on his motorcycle. Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet.

Pat Hahn, a spokesman for the Minnesota Motorcycle Safety Center, said his state has seen a significant increase in deaths among riders in their mid-30s to mid-50s, who frequently get back on their bikes after years away to raise their families.

“They don’t really get into the attitude, the mind-set, that one little tiny mistake can cause huge problems that wouldn’t happen in a car,†Hahn said.

U.S. highway deaths increase in 2005
motorcycle fatalities are up because of the recent squid boom
yep, I'd love to see the break down of the deaths into a few catagories

A ) number of riders with less than 90 days experience
B ) number of riders with less than 45 days experience
C ) number of riders with less than 15 days experience
D ) number of riders with less than 5 days experience
E ) number or riders that were killed during bike rallies (MB/Daytona/Sturgis/etc)

I think we'll see these numbers increase until states begin to mandate that folks take and pass MSF courses as part of getting their license. With the stupid gas prices, more and more folks are converting from 4wheels to 2. I've heard horror stories from Myrtle Beach and Daytona where some older guys just bought a HD (or other cruiser) and wound up dead because they couldnt ride out of the situation they were in (taking turns too quickly, having consumed some alkeeehall, running off the roads, etc).

Unfortunately statistics can be massaged to show just about any point of view, so they really just mean we'll be paying higher rates
I think fatality rates are up because the incresed gas prices are causing people to look toward motorcycles for relief at the pump. I know since the prices have sky rocketed I see way more people on the road than I use to.
it's cause of the tv shows like orange county choppers getting inexperienced people on motorcycles.
I would like to know the stat's on how many were on sports bikes vs cruisers. It would also be interesting on hom many happened do something stupid.(stunts/speed)
Motorcycle deaths have increased 115 percent since 1997.
This is the only stat I'll pay attention to. It speaks volumes FOR wearing a helmet.

The other stats can be attributed to an increase in population and increase in motorcyclists.
...and (IMHO) not just any helmet...but a full-face helmet!

My father-in-law t-boned a deer several years ago. He suffered a few bruises and cracked ribs...but what really saved him from any worse injuries was his full-face helmet! He would have had a broken jaw or worse had he not had the frontal protection of the helmet!
Inquiring minds want to know? Well, as some of you might know, I’m a Police Officer here in Florida, and work in the south Florida area, mainly the Miami area.

Currently with the huge boom of the “Motorcycle frenzyâ€, being an attribute to all the different motorcycle TV Shows, Biker Build-Offs, Bike Rallies, Bike Nights, Poker Runs, and all the different events surrounding the motorcycle industry, and also the huge rise is gas prices, herein south Florida there has been a large increase in motorcycle accidents.

Specifically on Thursday Nights “Bike Nightâ€, which is one of the busiest motorcycles riding evenings here in the Miami area. I can say it is almost a guarantee that there will be a motorcycle related fatality, or crash ever Thursday night.

One of my supervisors work an off-duty detail at a vehicle salvage yard, where insurance companies send vehicle their that are accident claim wrecks. He has told me time and time again where all the wrecked motorcycle are piled up is called the “Acre of Deathâ€. If there are 100 totaled motorcycle there, 90 of them are sport bikes, and rest are cruisers, or custom bikes. Almost every one of the sport bikes show collision damage from striking a fixed object, (i.e.: vehicle, guardrail, retaining wall, tree, ect), which would tell me, the type of accident was either a violation of right way crash, or speeding type incident where someone lost control and struck a fixed object.

I personally ride as much as I can here in the Florida area, and love it. We all just need to be careful of our own limitations, and always be thinking for the others driving the cars, who are not thinking about motorcycles.

Starting 2007 or 2008 (Honestly don’t remember the starting date) everyone within the State of Florida will be required to take a third party testing course (i.e.: MSF) before you will be issued a motorcycle driver license here in Florida. The course must be approved by the State of Florida. As of right now, the only ones required to take this course are applicants under 21 years old. So hopefully this will help tremendously.

Just trying to chime in on the daily activities that occur here in the busy south Florida area.

Be Safe And Keep Your Eyes Open All The Time…………….
Inquiring minds want to know?  Well, as some of you might know, I’m a Police Officer here in Florida, and work in the south Florida area, mainly the Miami area.  
Thanks for the info. Hopefully the mandatory training will help get the stats down in your neighborhood. That kind of carnage must get pretty depressing.