Nuts About Bikes

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Washington State's Motorcycle Fatality Report

Not exactly a page-turning thriller, but it's important. Most motorcycle safety authorities agree that there's just not enough data out there - and there has been a new push for research from trade groups and both state and federal governments.

More than 25 years after the Hurt Study, Congress in 2005 approved $2.8 million in federal funding to study the causes of motorcycle crashes. The funding is still being assembled - as the legislation requires an additional $2.8 million in matching funds from the motorcycling community before the entire grant will be released.

In the mean time, Washington state comissioned its own study - not exactly comprehensive but telling nonetheless. The report is not flattering to motorcyclists, citing the most common contributing factors to motorcycle fatalities as lane error, speeding, alcohol and inattention.

In other words, it's failure to heed the common sense stuff that keeps getting us killed in record numbers.

Read the summary
Download the complete report (PDF)

All this work is focused on the fact that motorcycle fatalities are on the rise and continue to trend upwards. It's a real problem, not just the result of there being so many more bikes on the road. The fatality and serious injury rate as a percentage of total ridership is up consistently in almost all age groups and classes of bikes.

Stay tuned - a lot is going to be written about this subject in the coming years. Read, learn and stay alive.

– Sal, Editor
February 2007

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