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The high cost of motorcycle accidents in the U.S. (2 of 2)

In our last post, we discussed how the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that motorcycle accident fatalities increased by 7 percent in 2012 from the prior year, and injuries from motorcycle accidents increased by 13 percent.

We also reported that the Government Accounting Office has reported that motorcycle accidents resulted in economic losses of $16 billion in the year 2010 alone after figuring in medical costs, insurance costs and lost wages among other factors. As you can see, motorcycle accidents are extremely costly to the victims and their family members as well as society at large.

Other data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute shows that motorcycle riding appears to be gaining popularity in the United States, with more than 8.5 million motorcycles taking the road in 2012. It appears riding is becoming increasingly popular among two demographics specifically: older Americans and more affluent Americans.

Interestingly, older riders accounted for more than half of all motorcycle fatalities in 2011, and that number appears to be on the rise. In fact, the number riders over the age of 40 who were killed in motorcycle crashes increased by an astounding 78 percent from 2002 to 2011, data from the NHTSA shows. At the same time, fatal accidents among younger age groups fell.

The Insurance Information Institute also gathered information on safety issues pertaining to serious and fatal motorcycle accidents.

First, helmet usage is known as one of the most influential safety factors affecting the outcome of motorcycle accidents. As of March 2014, only 19 states had laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets. In 2012 alone, helmets saved the lives of nearly 1,700 motorcyclists.

Antilock breaking systems and airbags are also safety issues that are gaining attention within the motorcycle and safety sectors. In 2010, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that motorcycles with antilock brakes are 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

Several years ago, Honda became the first company to offer a motorcycle equipped with an airbag, and other companies now offer wearable airbags.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Motorcycle Crashes," August 2014 

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