Based on 2009 preliminary data, motorcycle deaths in the State of Missouri have significantly decreased. This data, reported by the Governors Highway Safety Organization, is consistent with a national trend of reduced motorcycle fatalities across the United States. Although the data is incomplete because it only covered the first 8 months of 2009, the decline comes after 11 years of steady increases in motorcycle accident deaths. The data also supports that there has been a decrease in motorcycle accidents across the board.
While I do believe there are other factors responsible for the decrease in motorcycle accidents in 2009, the primary reason is that there were less motorcycles on the road last year. This is not surprising given the troubling economy. A substantial amount of motorcycle travel is recreational and many people are cutting back on recreation, especially with high gas prices and extra insurance premiums that go along with motorcycle ownership.
However, just because the recent data is favorable, it is not a time to let down on motorcycle safety efforts. Missouri should ramp up motorcycle safety campaigns that have been successful in increasing motorist awareness. One idea would be to utilize billboard advertising on the side of delivery trucks that remind motorists that motorcycles are often difficult to see. This type of campaign is cost-effective and would increase the repetition of the motorcycle awareness message.