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On-Highway Motorcycle Fatalities and Injuries Decline According to Latest Government Research

Motorcycle Miles Traveled Increases and Riding Risk Drops

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 9, 2010 – Despite the rising number of motorcycle miles traveled, fatalities decreased 16 percent and injuries declined 6.3 percent last year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2009 Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Among all types of motorists, motorcyclists had the second-largest reduction in fatalities, behind large-truck occupants, and the largest drop in alcohol-impaired fatalities – also a 16 percent reduction.

According to the report, 4,462 riders died in 2009 – 850 fewer than in the previous year. The reduction came while motorcycle miles traveled increased approximately 5 percent last year, some 1.3 billion more miles than in 2008, according to the Motorcycle Industry Council’s 2009 Motorcycle Owner Survey. Also, 11 million motorcycles were in use last year, an increase of some 500,000 compared with 2008.

“There’s always more work to promote and improve safety, but everyone at the Motorcycle Industry Council is heartened by this news,” said MIC Chairman Larry Little. “It shows that we can lower our level of risk out on the road, while we’re putting more miles on more bikes for both transportation and pure fun. The MIC conducts research that’s absolutely relevant to this story. Our Motorcycle Owner Survey provides the best information available on American motorcyclists. It’s the only accurate source for motorcycle miles traveled and it’s one of the MIC’s more important efforts to assist riders everywhere. We thank all our members for funding this vital study.”

"As co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus and a rider myself, it is gratifying to hear that motorcycle fatalities are down so dramatically, particularly when motorcycle vehicle miles traveled have increased,” said Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. “The caucus is committed to continuing to highlight our key messages: Riders should be trained, licensed and ride responsibly, and other road users must be on the lookout for motorcyclists."

The latest MIC Owner Survey found that fewer than 50 percent of riders have taken formal rider education and training such as the Basic RiderCourse offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Both the MIC and the MSF strongly urge riders to get trained and licensed and obey traffic laws, wear all the protective gear all the time, never drink and ride, always ride within their own limits, and become lifelong learners.

"Any decrease in fatalities is good news, but a sixteen percent drop in motorcycle fatalities clearly indicates that we are headed in the right direction,” said Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., of Tennessee, Congressional Motorcycle Safety Caucus member and ranking member of the House Transportation Committee, Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. “However, it is imperative that we continue to promote safe and responsible riding."

NHTSA describes its Fatality Analysis Reporting System as a census of all crashes of motor vehicles traveling on public roads in which a person died within 30 days of the crash.

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. It is a not-for-profit, national industry association representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants.

The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office adjacent to Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC at www.mic.org.

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The Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) is a not-for-profit, national trade association representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV parts and accessories and members of allied trades, located in Irvine, California.