For the first time since 2009 and only the second time since 1997, two-wheel fatalities and injuries are down, according to the NHTSA. There were roughly 320 fewer fatalities overall in 2013 vs. 2014, with 4,668 in total. In particular, 190 of those fatalities that didn’t happen were in the 50-to-69-years-old age range, so it looks like Seniors are riding a little safer these days.
Perhaps the most startling statistic, however, was in the number of fatalities from people not wearing helmets. In particular, in states where helmet laws are on the books there were 150 fatalities among those not wearing helmets. In states with no helmet laws, there were 1,704 fatalities.
Helmet laws vs. no helmet laws is a tired old debate that, in my opinion, eclipses the larger issue. That is, we should all be wearing helmets, whether compelled by law or not. There shouldn’t have to be a law on the books to enforce that, but looking at the statistics, is it any wonder why so many states have them? With 60% of the total fatalities for 2013 attributed to people not wearing helmets, it’s time to let go of that particular slice of libertarian idealism and put a helmet on.
Also encouraging is a drop in the total number of two-wheel injuries. Specifically, there were 5,000 fewer injuries in 2013 than in 2012, a drop of 5.4%. I can’t help but wonder if a whole world of more stylish rider apparel doesn’t have something to do with this drop in injuries. Rounding out the positive news, alcohol-related deaths were also down by 8.3%.
As always with NHTSA numbers, no distinction is made between a scooter and a motorcycle, so these numbers apply to two-wheelers of all stripes, yet from a danger standpoint, we scooter riders are at no less risk than our leather-clad cousins. There’s plenty to be learned by looking at the numbers overall. In particular, ride sober and put a helmet on.
Beyond those most basic of basics, we also recommend rider education. With everything from the basic MSF class to intermediate classes available across the country, tightening up those riding skills is a fun and accessible thing to do. Even reading something like Proficient Motorcycling can help un-learn a variety of bad habits and help keep you safe and having fun on your scooter.
Stay safe out there in 2015!
Source: Dealer News