Motorcyclist News

This section contains SMARTER News and Notable News from Other Sources related to motorcyclist safety issues. The latest news is listed first. News regarding recent research may be noted in this section; however the actual research papers or links to the papers will be posted in our Research section. We encourage visitors to our site to e-mail us at info@smarter-usa.org regarding significant motorcyclist safety news or go to our Facebook page to share the information.

SMARTER News

Looked But Failed to See Motorcyclist Right of Way Violation Caused Crashes

January 20, 2019 - This is a PowerPoint presentation by SMARTER President Dan Petterson at the January 17, 2019 Michigan Motorcycle Safety Action Team, a subcommittee of the Michigan Governor’s Highway Traffic Safety Commission.  Based on Petterson’s review of the research, the presentation looks at the extent of the LBFTS ROWV problem, identifies main causes indicated by the research, compares car vs motorcycle and car vs car crashes of this kind and suggests possible solutions based on the research.  Five causes and five plus countermeasures are suggested.

Data shows increased fatality rate since helmet repeal

March 28, 2018 - An edited version of this article was published in the March 27, 2018 Ludington Daily News. The article summarizes the Michigan Traffic Crash Reporting System data which shows an increase in the Michigan motorcyclist fatality rate post helmet law repeal and the increased risk non-helmeted riders take when they choose to ride without a helmet.

Estimate of Reduction in Deaths, Injuries, and Societal Costs in 2015 Michigan Motorcycle Crashes with Helmet Use

March 9, 2018 - March 9, 2018 – A report completed by Lidia P. Kostyniuk, Ph.D, P.E., Research Scientist, Emerita with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute calculating the reduction in monetary costs and deaths that would have been prevented in Michigan in 2015 if all riders involved in crashes would have worn a helmet.

Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal Costs Lives and Millions of Dollars

March 9, 2018 - March 9, 2018 – News article as published in the Ludington Daily News highlighting a  recent report titled Estimate of Reduction in Deaths, Injuries, and Societal Costs in 2015 Michigan Motorcycle Crashes with Helmet Use  which concludes “If helmets had been worn by all the crash-involved motorcyclists in 2015, monetary costs of motorcycle crashes would have been reduced by $28 million - $32 million, quality of life costs would have been reduced by $157 million - $169 million, and total societal costs would have been reduced by $185 - $201 million. Twenty-one deaths would have been prevented, and total societal costs of motorcycle crashes would have been lower by 10.5%-11.4%.”

The Tragic Consequences of Motorcycle Helmet Law Repeal: Five Michigan Specific Research Studies

July 28, 2017 - A summary of five Michigan specific research reports which substantiate the negative consequences of repealing the Michigan all-rider helmet law.  A version of this article was published as a guest in the Michigan Auto Law Blog.

Summary of Michigan Motorcyclist Crash Data

June 13, 2017 - Summary of Michigan Motorcyclist Crash Data with a focus on the five year periods prior to and after the repeal of Michigan’s all-rider helmet law.  A PowerPoint presentation prepared by SMARTER President Dan Petterson and presented at the June, 2017 meeting of the Michigan Lakeshore Traffic Safety committee.  Also includes a summary of five research studies examining the repeal of the Michigan law. 

The Price We Have Paid for a Small Freedom (to ride a motorcycle without a helmet).

May 3, 2017 - The report provides Michigan motorcyclist crash data for 2016 and also for each year back to 2012, when Michigan representatives and senators voted and Governor Snyder supported the repeal of Michigan’s all-rider motorcycle helmet law.  The data and the research studies support the readily available national and international research which shows helmets use works to reduce deaths and injuries in the event of a crash and when an all-rider helmet law is in effect almost every rider wears a helmet. A version of this article was published as a guest in the Michigan Auto Law Blog.

Statement of SMARTER President Dan Petterson.

January 22, 2014 - A statement by Dan Petterson, an invitee to the January 22 press event sponsored by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety at the National Press Club, Washington, D.C., on the release of the 2014 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, urging lawmakers to support essential lifesaving all-rider helmet laws.

Q&A: CDC, U.S. Congressman Tim Walberg, and the AMA.

December 12, 2013 - A SMARTER-prepared document to provide the motorcycling community with complete information regarding Walberg’s questions

SMARTER’s Letter to CDC Director Frieden.

December 4, 2013 - An advisory letter stating that responsible motorcyclists and the professionals involved in the fight to save lives and prevent or reduce the seriousness of injuries need all the help available.

One Year Post Repeal: Where Do We Go From Here?

April 10, 2013 - A news release from which excerpted comments were made by SMARTER at the April 10, 2013, news conference held at the Michigan Capitol by leading members of the Head First Coalition.

Motorcyclist Organizations Differ Over Recent Government Agency Announcements.

February 20, 2013 - A news release cautions motorcyclists to consider source and motive before using information to make potentially life-altering decisions about riding safety.

NTSB 2013 Most Wanted List: The truth regarding motorcyclist safety. 

February 5, 2013 - A news release explains why motorcyclist safety was not included in the 2013 top ten transportation challenges identified by the NTSB.

Notable News from Other Sources

NTSB Issues 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements

February 5, 2019 - The National Transportation Safety Board announced its 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, during an event held at the National Press Club, Monday. First issued in 1990, the NTSB Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements serves as the agency’s primary advocacy tool to help save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce property damage resulting from transportation accidents.    

Arizona Motorcyclists Must Wear a Helmet or Pay Fee Not to

January 20, 2019 - HB 2246, or the working title “motorcycle riders; helmets; fees” bill, proposes all motorcyclists and passengers operating an “all-terrain vehicle or motor driven cycle” must wear a helmet at all times while operating the vehicle.  However, those who do not wish to wear a helmet can be exempt from the proposed requirement if they pay a fee when registering their motorcycle, according to verbiage in HB 2246. https://www.abc15.com/news/operation-safe-roads/new-bill-may-require-motorcyclists-to-wear-helmets-or-pay-fee-not-to    

NTSB Motorcycle Safety Report

October 2, 2018 - October 2, 2018. The National Transportation Safety Board on October 2, 2018, released a Safety Study, Select Risk Factors Associated with Causes of Motorcycle Crashes. The report analyzed select risk factors associated with the causes of motorcycle crashes and evaluated strategies for crash prevention. The NTSB makes recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, the Motorcycle Industry Council, the American Motorcyclist Association, and the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

2018 – Lives and Costs Saved by Motorcycle Helmets in 2016

May 29, 2018 - This is a Traffic Safety Facts Research Note released in May 2018 based on crash data from 2016.  In 2016 the use of motorcycle helmets saved an estimated 1,859 lives – if all riders had worn helmets and additional 802 lives could have been saved.  Nearly $3.4 billion in economic costs and $21 billion in comprehensive costs were saved by the use of helmets but an additional $1.5 billion in economic costs and $9.2 billion in comprehensive costs could have been saved if all riders had worn helmets.

Motorcycle Helmet Use in 2017 – Overall Results

May 29, 2018 - This is a Traffic Safety Facts Research Note released in April 2018 that shows that the use of DOT compliant motorcycle helmets was not statistically different in 2017 from 2016 and remains at about 65%.  Helmet use in states requiring all riders to wear helmets has increased to 87%.

Motorcyclist Traffic Fatalities by State: 2017 Preliminary Data

May 6, 2018 - A report from the Governors Highway Safety Association.  The report projects that 4,990 people were killed on motorcycles in 2017. This number, based on preliminary data provided by State Highway Safety Offices (SHSOs), represents a projected 5.6% decrease from 2016 – a difference of 296 lives. In spite of this reduction, motorcyclists remain significantly over-represented as a proportion of all traffic deaths, with motorcyclist fatalities occurring 28 times more often than passenger vehicle occupant fatalities per mile traveled. This is a stark reminder that much work remains to establish a lasting downward trend.

New Data Finds Motorcyclist Fatalities Down 5.6% in 2017

May 6, 2018 - A May 2, 2018 news release from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) announcing the 2017 Preliminary Data Report.  While fatalities are down, motorcyclists remain over-represented in traffic deaths.

Why drivers may fail to see motorcycles in plain sight

March 14, 2018 - January 5, 2018 - Link to an article in ScienceDaily describing a research report which examines how the phenomenon of inattentional blindness, or a person's failure to notice an unexpected object located in plain sight, might explain the prevalence of looked-but-failed-to-see (LBFTS) crashes, the most common type of collision involving motorcycles.  

Helmet use associated with reduced risk of cervical spine injury during motorcycle crashes

March 14, 2018 - March 6, 2018 – Link to an article describing research from the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics in Madison which found that, during an accident, helmet use lowers the likelihood of cervical spine injury (CSI), particularly fractures of the cervical vertebrae.  

What is the Motorcycle Advisory Council and how will it affect us?

December 23, 2017 - December 20, 2017 – Link to a RevZilla Common Thread article by Mark Gardiner.  An excellent review of the first meeting of the Motorcycle Advisory Council and general motorcyclist safety issues.

No easy ride: Motorcycle industry is in deep trouble and needs help fast, panel agrees

December 15, 2017 - December 14, 2017 - Link to a Los Angeles Times article.  A group of two dozen concerned motorcycle veterans has published a comprehensive research document that addresses the question, “Can this industry be saved?”

Give a Shift – Roundtable Discussion.

December 15, 2017 - December 5, 2017 - This is the full report of the Give a Shift (GAS) discussion, an anonymous & public discourse on the future of motorcycling (see the December 14, 2017 LA Times news article.  

Pro-helmet activists are notching wins against motorcyclists shouting ‘freedom’.

May 5, 2017 - Link to an article in STAT, a national publication focused on finding and telling compelling stories about health, medicine, and scientific discovery. For two decades, the riders — and their rallying cry of freedom — have often had the upper hand in these battles. Now, though, the public health advocates are gaining traction as more and more evidence emerges that mandating helmet use saves lives.

Does the Senate really need a Motorcycle Caucus?

April 12, 2017 - Link to an editorial by The Des Moines Register. A caucus is simply a group of senators or representatives who meet occasionally, usually to pursue common legislative objectives. Some are ideologically focused and tend to be partisan, but others are based on topics of personal interest to members. The Senate caucuses are more informal than those in the House, which receive funding and official recognition from the chamber. Even so, it’s fair to ask whether the U.S. Senate really needs a Motorcycle Caucus to address what Ernst describes as the issues of “safety, infrastructure and energy efficiency.”

Senators Announce Formation of Motorcycle Caucus.

April 4, 2017 - Link to a news release announcement from U.S. Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Gary Peters (D-MI) regarding he formation of the first-ever Motorcycle Caucus in the United States Senate.

Community Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations.

August 1, 2013 - The finding and rationale statement of an independent, nonfederal, unpaid panel of public health and prevention experts appointed by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention whose evidence-based finding is that “universal helmet laws increase helmet use; decrease motorcycle-related fatal and non-fatal injuries; and are substantially more effective than no law or than partial motorcycle helmet laws….”