Good news for Connecticut residents: motorcycle deaths nationwide are decreasing in frequency. The yearly rates of fatal motorcycle crashes fell for only the second time since 1997, according to recently released 2013 statistics. A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association showed that a 7 percent drop occurred in motorcycle deaths throughout the country. About 300 fewer deaths occurred in 2013 than in 2012.

Experts credit safety advances in vehicle manufacturing for the decreases in overall highway fatalities. However, many of the newest safety features — including airbags — are not included on motorcycles. As a result, motorcycle riders are about 26 times more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a collision than their counterparts behind the wheel of a car. Riders are also five times more likely to suffer an injury in a crash. Motorcyclists make up 15 percent of highway fatalities, though they constitute only 3 percent of vehicles on the road.

This data has not yet been confirmed by federal numbers for the 2013 calendar year. That information is expected to be released later this year. This study showed that fatalities dropped in Washington, D.C., along with 35 states. On the other hand, 13 states saw an increase in the number of motorcycle fatalities. The overall number of fatalities therefore decreased when compared to last year.

One factor that has been cited for the high rates of motorcyclist deaths is the lack of mandatory helmet laws. Helmet use is optional for riders in 31 states, though some have requirements that govern younger riders. These statistics indicate that motorcycle accident victims are far more likely to suffer serious injury and even death. Motorists of all persuasions need to drive with care to ensure that riders are kept safe on our nation’s roadways. Motorcycle riders should not have to worry about a negligent party inflicting a serious personal injury upon them.

Source: The Washington Post, “U.S. motorcycle deaths declined in 2013” Ashley Halsey III, May. 06, 2014