Motorcyle deaths: Good news for Nation, bad news for Missouri
The statistics are in and the nation as a whole has seen a dramatic drop in motorcycle deaths over the past year. According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), 318 fewer motorcyclists lost their lives in 2013 than the year before. In 2012, 4,986 motorcyclists died, and in 2013, the number had decreased 6.4 percent to 4,668. NHTSA takes a year to compile this data, so the numbers for 2014 are not yet compiled and released. This drop is even better when compared to all U.S. traffic accident fatalities, which decreased by only 3.1 percent.
Missouri has unfortunately seen an increase in motorcycle deaths over 2014. The Show-Me-State saw over 82 deaths from motorcycle accidents. About half of these deaths were attributed to a collision with another vehicle. 2013 saw about 10 fewer deaths from motorcycle accidents. This is puzzling, as Missouri has helmet laws in place. Nationwide, there were fewer fatalities in states that require motorcycle riders and their passengers to wear helmets. In fact, it was dramatically fewer. On average, states with helmet laws saw 150 deaths whereas states without helmet laws saw 1,704 deaths.
Any motorcycle death or injury is one too many. Sometimes it is the motorcyclist that is made the mistake, but often it is the other drivers that are supposed to share the road. Compared to the average motor vehicle, a motorcycle is a much smaller object, and are just plain harder to see. It is not uncommon for an automobile driver to say that they did not see the motorcycle they collided with, or misjudged the distances involved.
Most motorcycle enthusiasts are among the most careful and aware drivers on the road. They have to be. If not, it may mean their life. If the automobiles sharing the roads with them could be as careful, then Missouri would see a lot fewer deaths in 2015.