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In 2009, there was hope. Despite the fact that motorcycle deaths had been on the rise for 12 straight years, the number of fatalities had dropped by 16%. But now that hope has been squashed, as the number of motorcycle deaths has stagnated and shown no improvement in 2 years.
In 2011, the number of motorcycle deaths increased in 26 states. The number also decreased in 23 states and remained the same in Louisiana.
Overall, there were an estimated 4,500 motorcycle fatalities last year.
Why so many?
The first is the economy, according to The New York Times. High gas prices encourage people to drive motorcycles. More motorcycles on the road equals more motorcycle deaths.
They also believe the numbers reflect changes in mandatory helmet laws. In 1975, all but three states required helmets, explains MSNBC. Only 19 states currently have such a law in place. With the urging of bikers' rights groups, five of these states are currently considering a repeal of their helmet laws.
And then there's the simple lack of safety. In 2010, 29% of motorcycle deaths involved alcohol, while 35% involved speeding, reports the Governors Highway Safety Association.
What does all of this mean for you?
If you're a motorcyclist, the data suggests that you can take further care to ensure that you are not in a fatal accident. If you absolutely don't want to wear a helmet, remain vigilant about alcohol and speeding. You're unprotected out there on the road, and the faster you go, the harder you fall.
And if you're a motor vehicle driver, pay more attention to riders. It can cost a lot to be involved with a motorcycle death.