Motorcycle deaths rose 9% last year, according to new data from the Governors Highway Safety Administration – marking the 14th time out of the last 15 years that there has been a rise in fatalities.
All told, about 5,000 Americans were killed in motorcycle crashes in last year, a nearly 240% increase from 1997, even though overall traffic fatalities have dropped by nearly a quarter during the same time period.
“This is a bad situation that is getting worse,” said Jonathan Adkins, GHSA’s deputy executive director.
Adkins is one of many pointing the finger at the ongoing, state-by-state repeal of helmet laws. In Michigan, a state police report found that motorcycle deaths surged 18% during 2012 – the year lawmakers repealed the state’s helmet requirement. By comparison, overall traffic deaths increased a more modest 5.3%.