According to a report released by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 4,462 fatalities involving motorcycle riders and passengers in 2009, down from 5,312 reported in2008. Injuries were also down 6.3% with 90,000 reported cases involving motorcycle riders and passengers, compared to 96,000 in 2008.
Overall, motor vehicle traffic crashes accounted for 33,808 deaths, a 9.7% decrease from 2008 and the lowest total reported since 1950. Motorcycling fatalities represent 13.1% of all total fatalities in 2009, compared to 14.2% in 2008
A one-year drop is positive news but it’s not enough to be called a trend. Motorcycling fatalities have been steadily inclining over the past 11 years, with the 2009 figures nearly doubling the 2,294 cases reported in 1998.
“The death of any motorcyclist is one too many, so this news that fatalities are down is encouraging,” says Ed Moreland, AMA senior vice president for government relations. “While we are pleased that the number of motorcycling fatalities dropped dramatically in 2009, a one-year drop isn’t a trend. We need to determine why, and ensure that the decline continues.”