This week, the Governors’ Highway Safety Association released its projected motorcycle accident fatalities for 2010. Overall, the news has been quite bleak, especially as far as Missouri is concerned.
The report projects an overall national decline of motorcycle accident fatalities in 2010. However, according to the report, this decline is too inconsequential to make a difference. In 2009, the drop in motorcycle accident fatalities had been a staggering 16%. Clearly, we are in danger of losing whatever ground we had covered in 2009 in motorcycle safety.
When I analyzed Missouri’s motorcycle accident fatality numbers last year, I found that there was a drop of just one fatality in the first nine months of 2010, compared to 2009. In the first nine months of 2009, there had been 76 motorcycle accident fatalities in Missouri, and in the first nine months of 2010, that number declined to 75.
Even worse, the report indicates that the use of Department of Transportation-approved helmets has actually declined by 16%. That means a lot of motorcyclists are out there riding without wearing approved helmets. Whether this is the result of a false sense of security because of the sharp drop in motorcycle accidents in 2009, remains to be seen. However, Kansas City, Missouri motorcycle accident attorneys would encourage motorcyclists to ignore any data that indicates a drop in fatalities. Motorcyclists continue to be at a high risk of injuries in accidents. A helmet could be a motorcyclist’s only chance of preventing serious and debilitating injury, or even death.
Missouri should also be investing more in educating drivers about the need to share the roads with motorcyclists. Too many accidents are caused because drivers failed to look out for motorcyclists, even though there are more and more numbers of motorcyclists on our roads now.
Douglas Horn, Principal Partner of Horn Law, is a highway safety advocate and a member of the Governor’s Highway Safety Association.