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I'm not quite sure if this has been posted or discussed on our site. Interesting statistics from the Highwat Safety Department. I found it while researching helmet safety. Please check out the statistics, as they are interesting. What are your thoughts? It looks to me like these statistics are indicative of an aging, changing demographics in America. The numbers are food for thought.


Fatality Facts
 

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I'm not quite sure if this has been posted or discussed on our site. Interesting statistics from the Highwat Safety Department. I found it while researching helmet safety. Please check out the statistics, as they are interesting. What are your thoughts? It looks to me like these statistics are indicative of an aging, changing demographics in America. The numbers are food for thought.


Fatality Facts
Very interesting statistics. I'd would have been interested to see "years of experience", along with age, catagory.
 

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Very interesting statistics. I'd would have been interested to see "years of experience", along with age, catagory.
Good point. A lot of older folks with little to no experience are buying big cruisers & hitting the road without really knowing what they're doing.
 

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Interesting stats; I bookmarked them for later examination and reference. The age thing was curious; did it indicate that older people were getting into motorcycles, or does it indicate that the skill sets of older riders who've been riding a long time are starting to deteriorate? If it's the latter, it does give guys like me (pushing 50 and riding for 40 plus years) something to think about.
 

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A lot of the older rider crashes come from riders who took many years off and start riding again thinking they still have the knowledge, muscle memories and reflexes they used to have. They don't.
 

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A lot of the older rider crashes come from riders who took many years off and start riding again thinking they still have the knowledge, muscle memories and reflexes they used to have. They don't.
I'd like to see a study that makes a distinction between those classes of riders (older long term riders and older new riders/older riders who've taken a long break from riding). Do the skill levels required to ride a motorcycle deteriorate faster with age than do those necessary to drive a car?
 

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More males in their twenties died than any other age grouping, including the senior set that often, like GW pointed out, includes returning riders and a good number of riders who drink. If you stay sober and take her easy, you have a decent chance of not being in this study.

What do you think about the numbers on larger cc engines affecting deaths?
 

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The displacement trend lines are interesting. The smaller bikes show a steady decrease for the entire time period, although maybe that's just a reflection of field population. Deaths on bikes with larger than 1400 cc has surged, again not normalized for population. Mileage ridden should also be significant, but again isn't measured.

The factors that are not a reflection of field population or miles ridden per year are (1) 25% of fatalities are unlicensed riders and (2) alcohol. Anyone can get trained/licensed and simply decide not to drink & ride. Easy risk mitigation.
 

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Skills don't deteriorate faster. The skills required are more complex and difficult to develop. Returning riders often don't do the necessary steps to rebuild their knowledge and muscle memory. I was away from riding for 16 years and had my only crash requiring medical treatment, or resulting in damage to the bike requiring an insurance claim, five months after returning to riding.

The best place I've found to go for safety statistics is Motorcycle Safety Site
If you don't find what you are looking for right away, join the group and go to the forum to ask. If anyone does that, post the user name you apply for there in this thread. It can take a while for new members to be approved if no moderators are on line.
 

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Good point. A lot of older folks with little to no experience are buying big cruisers & hitting the road without really knowing what they're doing.
I think that is somewhat substantiated by the numbers. There is a rapid rise in fatalities by engine size over 1400cc that is significant. There is a decrease in fatality rates of sub 1000cc engine sized bikes.

There is also a corollary in the table " Fatally injured motorcycle drivers by age and motorcycle type, 2012 " Here it shows there is a high number of fatalities of the 50+ age group while riding Cruiser and Touring models. These are typically larger CC bikes.

That being said.. there is still a high number of fatalities in the Sub 30 age group while riding SuperSport bikes, 43% of these are the result of single vehicle accidents. This is a statistic that is lost on many of the younger riders. Single vehicle collisions account for almost half the fatalities to riders.

I see this very frequently, new riders of all ages on bikes too big for them to handle, with limited education, not enough experience and far too much confidence. When confidence exceeds experience occurs is when a problem is about to happen.

New riders fatigue quickly and do not have the stamina to ride for extended periods of time, dehydration and fatigue play a large role in the number of incidents and particularly fatalities later in the day. There is a high percentage of motorcycle collisions that occur between 3pm and 6pm and 6pm to 9pm. Late afternoon after a big lunch folks get sleepy, they get fatigued, they are dehydrated, judgement is impaired, reaction times are slower etc. This is a bad combination of issues.

Early evening, dusk is a bad time of day to ride, in addition to fatigue and dehydration, there are quality of light issues / visibility. Other vehicles are often on the road, people rushing home from work.. People rushing out for a good evening event.. Many animals come out at dusk, deer, hogs and other such hazards. Moisture starts collecting in the shaded corners at this time, road conditions change.

BAC.. A large number of the fatalities there was an elevated BAC level. Almost 20% were at a level above 0.15
 

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Skills don't deteriorate faster. The skills required are more complex and difficult to develop.
Explains why alcohol is an even bigger risk factor on a bike than in a car. Riding is a very difficult field sobriety test with severe penalties for failure.
 

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I think part of the stats on bigger bikes is simply that more larger bikes were being sold. Until last year or so, engine displacement had been on a steep climb for a long time. So the % mostly reflects what bikes were being ridden.
 

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I think part of the stats on bigger bikes is simply that more larger bikes were being sold. Until last year or so, engine displacement had been on a steep climb for a long time. So the % mostly reflects what bikes were being ridden.
I would partially agree. but consider..

The number of fatalities for the under 30 group has dropped significantly over the years. This is mostly the crotch rocket/sport bike and adventure bike group. Conversely the number of fatalities has increased for the 50+ age group, yes there are more of these folks on the road now.. Pair that up with the table: Fatally injured motorcycle drivers by age and motorcycle type, 2012

Large displacement is favored by the older group why.. because these are the bikes that are comfortable, come with all the features and cruise out on the interstate.

Correlate that data with the table: Motorcyclist deaths by location of crash, 2012

Now you see that the large percentage of fatalities occur not on the interstate but on the non-interstate and minor roads.

Large bikes, lots of power and displacement on small back country roads... :yikes:


No matter how we interpret the stats.. The sad fact is that far too many riders get hurt or die each year. Rider education and self discipline are two easy things we can do to improve the stats.
 

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this is a pretty interesting infoset.
the increase in deaths overall i think can be attributed to a higher number of riders as gas prices rose and more of the baby boomers got bikes because, hell why not?

motorcycle safety hasn't really changed in the last 30 years aside from better brakes and more recently ABS brakes.

i feel the displacement thing doesn't really tell us much other than the uptick in harley/indian and other big twin type cruisers are out there. and not to make assumptions but these types of riders tend to NOT take safety very seriously when riding so this doesnt really come as a surprise that the deaths have climbed up

the most interesting trend i see is the stark reversal in the highest fatality rates by age. whats changed between then and now that us youngins arent killing ourselves off but the older folks are? stubborn old habits in the older folks and safetysafetysafety being drilled into kids today?

though, the gender aspect should never be used in any comparisons unless they correct it with a # per 1000 ratio, since the males outnumber females by 10 to 1 so of course theres more guys dying on the roads
 

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Interesting stuff. Thanks.

I fit into the group that GW mentions - I returned to riding at age 50 after a thirty year break. I had never ridden a street bike before I bought my Strom. It's obviously interesting (to me) that 35% of fatalities are occurring in riders over age 50. It's not all that useful though, without knowing the percentage of all riders who are over 50, how long they've been riding etc. - the same goes for most of those statistics - the devil is always in the details, and the details aren't quite there.

We all know riding is dangerous, frankly it's part of the reason I do it. Still, it's good practice to decrease that risk wherever possible.

What I take away from those stats are:
1. No alcohol (or drugs) ever, not a drop
2. Don't ride at night
 

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motorcycle safety hasn't really changed in the last 30 years aside from better brakes and more recently ABS brakes.



the most interesting trend i see is the stark reversal in the highest fatality rates by age. whats changed between then and now that us youngins arent killing ourselves off but the older folks are? stubborn old habits in the older folks and safetysafetysafety being drilled into kids today?

To respond to this.. In my view..

Motorcycle safety has changed a lot in the last 10-15 years. Handling dynamics and engineering has improved, tire technology and braking efficiency. But most importantly, rider education coupled with personal riding equipment and gear.

The younger generation subscribe more to ATGATT, whereas the older generation doesnt. The younger crew are riding smaller displacement, lighter bikes with more protective gear
 

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I'm not quite sure if this has been posted or discussed on our site. Interesting statistics from the Highwat Safety Department. I found it while researching helmet safety. Please check out the statistics, as they are interesting. What are your thoughts? It looks to me like these statistics are indicative of an aging, changing demographics in America. The numbers are food for thought.


Fatality Facts
Unless I missed it when going over it twice, I don't see anything showing the numbers of riders out there and/or the number of fatalities per either the number of riders or number of miles ridden.

Numbers without context can often mislead.

I think without that baseline the numbers can't really be used to draw conclusions about how good or bad a particular age group is. Hypothetically speaking, if in the USA 80% of the riders are 50+ years old and they represented 35% of the crashes then they might very well be much safer riders than other groups even though they are a high percentage of fatalities.

For the same reason it is hard to draw conclusions about sport bikes, engine displacements, etc.

..Tom
 

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Unless I missed it when going over it twice, I don't see anything showing the numbers of riders out there and/or the number of fatalities per either the number of riders or number of miles ridden.

Numbers without context can often mislead.

I think without that baseline the numbers can't really be used to draw conclusions about how good or bad a particular age group is. Hypothetically speaking, if in the USA 80% of the riders are 50+ years old and they represented 35% of the crashes then they might very well be much safer riders than other groups even though they are a high percentage of fatalities.

For the same reason it is hard to draw conclusions about sport bikes, engine displacements, etc.

..Tom
Tom,
I completely agree. I thought though, that these studies done by a reputable Government institution (if there is such a thing?!), would initiate some
introspection and discussion. But, you are correct, there are so many variables.
 

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Besides the variables in statistics, only reported crashes are included, and those not so well. There are a huge number of crashes that don't get into the mix. I attended a meeting of state motorcycle safety professionals in Texas a few years back and was amazed at how small the percentage of crashes that even reach the statisticians was. One speaker there would not even hazard a guess at the numbers.
 

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One statistic I didn't see was fatality/accident rates related to formal rider education and training. It would be interesting to see if riders who have received formal rider training have a higher or lower incidence of crashes/fatalities. I had been riding since 1972 when I took the Idaho STAR experienced rider course in 2004. It was an eye opening experience, and I learned a lot that I only thought I knew! That training not only made riding a more pleasant experience, it may well have saved my life on some occasion, even if I wasn't aware of it.

It's true that the statistics for older riders has risen recently, but I, also, feel that it's due to more older people getting into rider as the retire or approach retirement. I do believe that there is a difference between starting out riding as that age and being at that age but having ridden since a much younger age. That speaks to experience, IMO. The skill set is already there, whereas a beginner has no skill set, and being older can impair the proper development of a good set of riding skills. I may be accused of defending older riders, but I limit that to older riders with years of experience behind them. After 42 years of riding motorcycles of all kinds and engine displacements, from 100cc to 1800cc, I feel I have a reasonable skill level. Now I just need to have the maturity to know when those skills start to deteriorate and I need to hang up my helmet while I'm still ahead of the game.
 
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