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Critical Days of Summer: Motorcycle fatalities increasing

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Terry Bronson
  • 161st Air Refueling Wing Safety Office
Editor's Note: The time period from May 25 through Sept. 4 has been designated as the Air Force Safety Center's "Critical Days of Summer" safety campaign.

According to Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 7,929,724 motorcycles in the United States as of 2009.

Motorcycles are the most dangerous type of motor vehicle to drive. These vehicles are involved in fatal crashes at a rate of 35.0 per 100 million miles of travel, compared with a rate of 1.7 per 100 million miles of travel for passenger cars.

Motorcyclists were 35 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash in 2006, per vehicle mile traveled, and 8 times more likely to be injured.

Although motorcycles account for only two percent of vehicles on the road, they make up more than 10 percent of all crashes.

Motorcycles accounted for nearly three percent of all registered motor vehicles and 0.4 percent of vehicle miles traveled in 2006.

Motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in 10 years to 4,810 in 2006. Helmets saved the lives of 1,658 motorcyclists in 2006-and could have saved an additional 752 lives if all riders had worn helmets compliant with federal safety standards.

Some 104,000 motorcycles were involved in crashes in 2006, including property damage-only crashes.

Approximately 80 percent of motorcycle crashes injure or kill a motorcycle rider, while only 20 percent of passenger car crashes injure or kill a driver or passenger in their vehicle.
In 2006, 37 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 23 percent for passenger car drivers, 19 percent for light-truck drivers, and 8 percent for large-truck drivers.

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