Motorcycles are the deadliest vehicles in American. In 2018, the most recent data available, bikes were only 3% of the vehicles on the road but bikers were 14% of traffic deaths.
There’s good news and (even more) bad news. Luckily, tried, true and well understood methods offer effective ways of reducing these deaths. Some states have seen some success in lowering the death rate for bikers. Unfortunately, Arizona is not one of those states, according to a recent report from an organization focused on saving lives on the open road.
Insurance industry, safety groups gives Arizona low score
Some might think dying while riding is simply the risk you take when you ride a motorcycle. The inventor often credited with the first motorcycle, after all, died in 1896 while riding one of his bikes. But biker deaths have doubled since 1997.
The nonprofit Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety brings together segments of America with interests in reducing dangers on the road, namely consumer groups, health and safety experts and the insurance industry.
Its latest report acknowledges states that have passed the kinds of laws that the group finds reduces motorcycle deaths, such a California, Oregon and Washington. It also calls out those it sees as having failed act to keep its citizens alive.
The group’s worst ranking states include South Dakota, Wyoming, Missouri, Montana and Arizona.
Laws can make a difference, reports find
Experts on motorcycle safety point to the increase in the number of SUVs for playing a role in motorcycle deaths. The vehicles have greater mass and momentum, but their geometry is also less likely to allow a biker to over the hood instead of winding up on the road and under the wheels.
Much easier to control by law, however, are enforcing the speed limits and requiring bikers to wear helmets. Indeed, in 2012 the federal Accountability Office studied what government action could affect the death count and mandatory helmets laws were the only methods it could show to be effective.
Despite attempts to change the law, Arizona requires helmets only for riders under 18 years old.