The U.S. state highway safety officials are concerned over the increased motorcycle deaths, which hit 4,500 in 2011.
“It is disappointing that we are not making progress in motorcycle safety, particularly as fatalities involving other motorists continue to decline,” said Governors Highway Safety Association Chairman Troy Costales.
He also added that he is concerned about the final number of motorcycle deaths for 2011 and 2012, due to the high gas prices, the strengthening economy and the lack of all-rider helmet laws. The GHSA review shows that motorcycle deaths in the first 9 months of 2011 fell 1.7%, but the number rose in the last 3 months. Currently, motorcycle deaths amount to 1 in 7 of all road deaths.
In the last 12 years motorcycle deaths have continued to raise, doubling from 2,116 in 1997 to 5,312 in 2008, while passenger vehicle deaths decreased by 5%. The Michigan officials declared that motorcycle deaths dropped 13% from 125 in 2010 to 109 in 2011, due to poor riding weather and a slow economy.
In April 2012, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation which allows riders over 21 not to wear helmets if they have additional insurance coverage. This could only mean a major drawback with national implications and an increase of motorcycle fatalities.
“Michigan has made tremendous progress in highway safety, but the repeal of the universal helmet law is a giant step backward and has national implications,” said Barbara Harsha, GHSA’s executive director.