Thunder Roads Magazine MO/So. IL 2018-June - Page 16

SAFETY FIRST Just the Facts, Ma’am”…or…“Who Do You Think You Are?” *25 percent of riders involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) of 0.08 or higher, the highest rate of impaired vehicle operation across all vehicle clas- sifications. By Matt Thomason *37 percent of riders killed in single-vehicle crashes were alcohol impaired. “94% of all crashes were a result of choices made by the *Motorcycle riders killed at night were three times more vehicle operator.” likely to be alcohol impaired than day riders. With my left eyebrow raised and forehead slightly fur- *802 riders killed in 2016 likely would have lived had they rowed, I continued reading the 2015 fact sheet released been wearing a helmet. by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administra- *33 percent of riders killed were speeding, compared to tion that made this declaration, and it has given me a few 19 percent of passenger car driver deaths. months’ worth of ideas for future safety articles. So, stay *49.6 percent of rider deaths occurred on the weekend. tuned! We have some very interesting topics ahead for *22 percent of riders killed rode motorcycles larger than those who are interested in the truth of who we are as a 1501 cc (up 8 percent from 2007) commuter society, who happens to have a fair amount of Finally, while the average age of riders killed has fallen motorcycle enthusiasts among us. from 43 to 39, riders 40 and older killed rose from 49 per- I found the above statement while poring over some other cent in 2007 to 54 percent in 2016. data regarding who we, as motorcyclists were in 2016. It I could write entire articles on each one of these items sometimes takes time to get the facts straight, especially above. In fact, some of them have been heavily covered when you are gathering information across 50 states, so from this corner before, and as sure as the sun will rise these statistics (NHTSA’s 2016 Data Sheet for Motorcycles; again tomorrow, I’ll do it again! But is that where it ends? crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov) were only recently released. Are the facts the final statement of who we are? Is this who In 2016, 5,286 motorcyclists were killed, up from 5,029 we are destined to be as motorcycle enthusiasts? in 2015, which represents the highest number of riders Innovations in technology continue to improve the ma- killed since 2008. You could be saying to yourself, “Well, chines we ride and with that, some levels of safety are that’s because there are more riders out there.” In actuality, increased. Sometimes those changes help. However, the across the U.S., fewer miles were ridden on a motorcycle in technology between our ears has been around since the 2016 than in 2008. beginning of time. There is no finer machine out there for Motorcyclists also represented 14 percent of all traffic helping us make good decisions and define who we are. fatalities for 2016 despite being only 3 percent of the reg- Please, as a fellow rider who has seen people die while istered vehicles on the road and rolling on only 0.6 percent riding, let’s do the smart things and not the other. I want to of all vehicle miles traveled! Therefore, motorcyclists (get see you out riding the roads. I want to hear your stories of ready for this….) are 28 times more likely to die in a crash where you have been. I want to see the places you have than passenger car drivers. seen through your own eyes. I want to feel the passion you Let that sink in a moment. have for riding in my own heart. I want you to be aware Why is this the case? Why is this who we are? Well, let’s of what is around you at all times and practice perfect and just get to the facts. After all, it’s summertime and we’re all safe riding for you and the ones you love, so you can get out riding, so here are some actionable items you can do home and live to ride another day. NOW to reduce your chances of becoming a statistic for 2018: “…and Hey! Let’s be CAREFUL out there!”…and “Hey! *27 percent of riders killed did not have a valid motorcycle Let’s be CAREFUL out there!” license. Thunder Roads Magazine 14 Thunder Roads Magazine 15