The Governors Highway Safety Association reports that motorcycle deaths were down 22 percent last year in Alabama and more than 7 percent nationwide.
Although any reduction in fatalities is good news, those figures may be more of a fluke than a trend. As much as safety advocates want to tout 2013 as the start of a downward trajectory, it’s more of a stabilization of the statistics, following a big spike in motorcycle deaths in 2012.
Birmingham motorcycle injury lawyers note the primary factors in the 2012 increase had to do with a warmer-than-usual riding season and higher-than-average gas prices. Better weather is more conducive to riding, and rising gas prices prompts people to choose a cheaper alternative to cars and sport utility vehicles.
From January to June, Alabama officials reported a drop in motorcycle fatalities from 45 in 2012 to 36 in 2013 – a 20 percent decrease. From January to September, there were 73 motorcycle deaths in 2012, compared to 57 in 2013 – a 22 percent dip.
Full-year crash data was not yet available for 2013, though it’s so far on track to become the first year we’ve seen a decline in these figures since the mid-1990s.
Unfortunately, there seems to be at least some indication that the numbers are back on the rise in 2014. Here in Alabama just in the last couple weeks, there have been numerous motorcycle fatalities, including:
Although motorcyclists begin to emerge with greater frequency in the spring, summer – beginning with Memorial Day – is when motorcycle riding begins to peak. The problem is there are a host of factors working against riders. For one thing, there tend to be more teen motorists on the road, as school is out and youth have less responsibility. Secondly, there is more traffic in general, as people vacation. And finally, many people simply haven’t trained their eye to scan for motorcyclists, particularly before they shift lanes or make a turn.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, with law enforcement officials and other safety advocates blasting out awareness information. We hope everyone on the road will take heed.
Motorcycle Traffic Fatalities by State, May 1, 2014, Governors Highway Safety Association
Alabama Truck Accident Case Heard by State Supreme Court, April 3, 2013, Birmingham Motorcycle Accident Lawyer Blog