Motorcycle Deaths Rise 6.6%

Overall traffic deaths down but motorbike deaths up for 10th year in a row
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2008 8:54 AM CDT
Road safety experts say some of the rise in motorcycle deaths may be down to older riders hitting the road after many years and forgetting their reflexes have slowed.   (KRT Photos)
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(Newser) – The number of motorcyclist deaths rose in 2007 for the 10th year in a row, the New York Times reports, jumping 6.6% even as the overall number of vehicle deaths continued to drop. Motorcycle deaths now account for one in eight traffic fatalities, totaling 5,154 last year—a toll safety experts blame on weakened helmet laws, as well as increased ridership as people seek to save on gas.

“We are the only industrialized country in the world where there is an organized effort to weaken or repeal motorcycle helmet laws,” says one expert. “That definitely is a factor in the increasing deaths.” Said a motorcycle industry spokesman: “There’s risks in everything in life, but the risks can be addressed.”