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May 28, 2001

Fatality Stats Follow Graying Of Population But Overall Streetbike Death Rate Is Down, AMA Says

The following press release was issued by the AMA:<BR><BR>"AMA puts motorcycle fatality statistics in context<BR><BR>"PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has become aware of recent media reports about the increasing number of fatalities among motorcyclists over age 35. While the AMA is concerned about any increase in motorcycle-related fatalities, these reports fail to consider other relevant statistics.<BR><BR>"According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) overall motorcycle-related fatalities actually declined substantially between 1990 and 1999. Although fatalities did see a slight increase over the past two years, that followed a decade during which motorcycle-related fatalities declined by 48% -- a far better track record than any other form of highway transportation.<BR><BR>"In focusing on increased fatalities among riders over age 35, the media reports overlooked the overall demographics of motorcyclists. Between 1990 and 1999, according to statistics provided to the AMA by NHTSA, the mean age of fatally injured motorcyclists rose from 29.3 years to 36.5 years. During the same period, the mean age of motorcycle owners rose from 26.9 years to 38.1 years.<BR><BR>"In other words, the fatality statistics simply show that when there are more motorcyclists of a given age group on the road -- no matter what that age group -- more accidents come out of that group.<BR><BR>"A spokesman for NHTSA agrees.<BR><BR>"'What we see here seems to track the census data--it's a function of the numbers,' said Rae Tyson, public information officer for NHTSA. 'I don't think that anyone disagrees that we need new information. There's a crying need for research.'<BR><BR>"'The most important revelation in these media reports is the need for a comprehensive nationwide study of motorcycle accident data,' said Robert Rasor, President of the American Motorcyclist Association. 'The AMA has been working closely with NHTSA on the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety, and we're anxious for the research to begin.'<BR><BR>"Last year, the AMA--along with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and other industry groups--succeeded in incorporating a motorcycle-accident study in the National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety. As a result, NHTSA officials have said they hope to begin such a study in the near future.<BR><BR>"Statistics quoted in recent media reports come from NHTSA's annual report on highway fatalities. The most recent comprehensive federal study of motorcycle accident data was published in 1980, and sampled accident data only in Southern California."