Public Burden? Raw numbers on the size of the “problem” of motorcycles (1991 figures)

Public Burden Attack

Don’t Blame 2.2 Percent

From helmet laws to catastrophic health insurance, and from Congress to city councils, anti-motorcycle legislation comes in many forms and many directions. But is all this attention really necessary? Are motorcyclists really dying in epidemic proportions, and are they draining the coffers of local, state, and federal governments?Anyone who straddles a two-wheeler faces the risks of motorcycling, but according to the latest figures from the National Safety Council (NSC) in its publication, Accident Facts-1991 Edition, these perceived dangers may be ill-founded. In 1990, motorcycles represented 2.2 percent of the overall U.S. vehicle Population, yet were involved in only .9 percent of all traffic accidents a significantly low rate of involvement.

Furthermore, only 2.53 percent of all registered motorcycles were reportedly involved in accidents in 1990, and only 3.06 percent of those resulted in fatalities.

At a total of 2,900 for 1990, motorcyclist fatalities comprised 6 percent of the total vehicular fatalities, and ranked well behind passenger cars (25,700), trucks and buses (8,200), and even pedestrians (7,400).

Remember when people used to say that you shouldn’t be afraid to fly in an airplane because you where more likely to die in an automobile accident then in a plane crash?

Applying this logic, more people should be ditching their cars in favor of the relative safety of a motorcycle. Your chances of having an accident in an automobile are 110 times more than on a motorcycle and – you are 10 times, more likely to die of a head injury in an automobile.Better trade in those boats, too, because nearly twice as many people drowned last year as died in motorcycle crashes. And forget about walking, because well over two times as many pedestrians were killed in accidents as motorcyclists.

Besides, if you’re on your feet, you are also more than four times as likely to trip and die in a fall.

Combining the already low number of fatalities (which is at its lowest point in 20 years) with the fact that motorcycling’s safety record is improving faster than any other vehicle group, it is ironic that motorcyclists are being singled out as a legislative priority. Why are motorcyclists being targeted when they are the smallest group of traffic users, have the lowest rate of accident involvement, are the lowest category for fatalities and have the most improved safety record of all vehicles?

Why not write your local, state and federal lawmakers and ask them why?

-Bill Bish
National Coalition of Motorcyclists

Total U.S. Fatalities: 2,167,999
Motorcycle Fatalities: 2,900

Leading Causes of Death In The United States
(Source: NSC Accident Facts, 1991)

Heart Disease 765,156
Cancer 465,048
Stroke 150,517
Accidents 97,100

Motor Vehicle 46,300

Passenger cars 25,700
Trucks 8,200
Pedestrians 7,400
Motorcycles 2,900
Bicyclists 1,000
Buses/taxis/tractors 130
Other 970
Falls 12,096
Poison 5,353
Drowning 4,966
Fires/burns 4,965
Other 20,562
Chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease
Pneumonia 77,662
Diabetes Mellitus 40,368
Suicide 30,407
Chronic liver disease,
Homicide 22,032
AIDS 16,602