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Fatal motorcycle accidents: a look at Connecticut data

The weather is finally warming after a brutal winter. Baseball has had its Opening Day and thoughts of spring and then summer no longer seem unreasonable to entertain.

One result of the more moderate temperatures is that more people in the New Haven area and elsewhere in the Northeast will be riding motorcycles.

Motorcyclists have of course long faced risks from motorists who do not pay sufficient attention to the presence of cyclists on the road. And sometimes this inattention causes accidents - some of which are fatal to the motorcycle rider.

In this post, we will take note of recent statistics on fatal motorcycle accidents in Connecticut.

The statistics are from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They cover the years 2008 through 2012.

Overall, the number of fatal motorcycle accidents has gone down somewhat in Connecticut in recent years. In 2008, there were 63 motorcyclist fatalities statewide. In 2012, the number was 40.

There has been some fluctuation in the numbers, however, from year to year. In 2009, the number of fatal motorcycle crashes dropped from 63 to 45. But in 2010 it went back up to 52.

It is only natural to wonder about what role helmets can play in possibly preventing a crash from becoming fatal.

Overall, from 2008 to 2012 there were somewhat more than twice as many deaths of motorcyclists without helmets (156) as there were of helmeted motorcyclists (75). There were also six fatal accidents where it wasn't known whether there was helmet use.

It should also be noted, however, that helmet use can be a controversial issue in the motorcycle community. Some riders feel that helmets make them less safe because helmets interfere with their vision and hearing.

Source: NHTSA.gov, "Traffic Safety Performance (Core Outcome) Measures for Connecticut," Accessed April 1, 2014

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