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OCR for page 9
SECTION III Type of Problem Being Addressed General Description of the Problem As motorcycle use increases, providing a safe environment for motorcyclists continues to challenge transportation professionals. Motorcycle ownership has increased dramatically over the last several years and statistical trends have shown a steady increase in motor- cycle fatalities. Motorcycles represent approximately 2 percent of all registered vehicles in the United States, but are responsible for only about 0.4 percent of all vehicle miles traveled. In 2006, motorcycles accounted for over 11 percent of all traffic fatalities (FARS, 2006). Exhibit III-1 presents the long-term trend in motorcyclist fatalities, showing a significant increase since 1997. Exhibit III-2 shows that the annual increase in motorcycle fatalities has been significant not only in numbers, but in percentage change (except for 2002), and as a proportion of all fatalities in the USA. Motorcyclist injuries, however, have not grown in the same fashion. From 1996 to 2006, while fatalities grew 122 percent, injuries grew 60 percent. While the rate of growth for fatalities continues to be steady, that for injuries may be slowing. When taking into account exposure, however, the increase in fatalities appears to be less pronounced (see Exhibit III-3). Recent trends show that the number of registered motorcycles in the United States continues to rise along with the number of miles being driven by motorcyclists. Given this trend, unless the issues related to motorcycle safety are addressed directly, fatalities and serious rider injuries stand to increase proportionally. Single-Vehicle Crashes Research has shown that as much as 50 percent of all motorcycle crashes are single-vehicle crashes (FARS, 2006). This research has shown that the following factors contribute to the risk of being involved in a fatal single-vehicle motorcycle crash: Motorcycle rider over the age of 40 On a rural road or an undivided road High BAC level On a curve Contacting a fixed object off of the roadway At night Not wearing an FMVSS 218 compliant helmet Not holding a valid or proper license III-1

OCR for page 9
SECTION III--TYPE OF PROBLEM BEING ADDRESSED EXHIBIT III-1 Motorcyclists Killed 19892006 Source: Shankar, 2004; FARS, 2006 EXHIBIT III-2 Motorcycle Fatality and Injury Trends Source: Adapted from Shankar, 2004; FARS, 2006 Year Fatalities and Injuries 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 Total Killed 42,013 41,501 41,717 41,945 42,196 43,005 42,884 42,836 43,510 42,642 Change -- -512 +216 +228 +251 +809 -121 -48 +674 -868 Motorcyclists 2,116 2,294 2,483 2,897 3,197 3,270 3,714 4,028 4,576 4,810 Killed Change -- +178 +189 +414 +300 +73 +444 +312 +548 +234 Percent -- 8.4 8.2 16.7 9.4 2.3 13.6 8.5 13.6 5.1 Change Percent of 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.9 7.6 7.6 8.7 9.4 10.5 11.3 All Fatalities Motorcyclists 53,000 49,000 50,000 58,000 60,000 65,000 67,000 76,000 87,000 88,000 Injured III-2