Friday, August 15, 2008

Highway Statistics

The NHTSA announced a significant reduction in highway fatalities. In 2007, there were 41,o59 motorists killed on our roads, a decline of 3.9% from the previous year. Injuries also declined by 3.3% to 2,491.000. (Report pdf)

Motorcycle fatalities continued their 10 year increase, with an increase of 6.6% in fatalities and 17% in injuries.

Cyclists (or pedalcyclists as NHTSA calls us) saw a decline of 9.6% in fatalities and 2.3% in injuries.

“Thanks to safer vehicles, aggressive law enforcement and our efforts, countless families were spared the devastating news that a loved one was not coming home last year...You can be sure that we’re not stopping here, the quest is not over until that bottom line number is zero.” .....U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters

I would suspect that people are driving fewer miles and that has an effect on these statistics.



Blogger Chris said...

It's the high gas prices not the hard work of the politicians. Or did the politicians artificially raise the gas prices to help save lives.... yeah... yeah... that's it. Good job guys!

9:50 AM  
Blogger Yokota Fritz said...

Mary Peters is such a joke.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Ed W said...

She can't hold a candle to St. Joan of Claybrook, NHTSA chair under President Carter. She was the one who decided that motorcycles were too dangerous because their front tires were doing both steering and braking. She reasoned that if the bike steered with the rear wheel, it would be safer. They spent an ungodly amount of money building a prototype, and succeeded. It was very safe because no one could control it over about 10mph.

A parked motorcycle is a safe motorcycle.

5:09 PM  
Blogger bother yam said...

13 9/11s worth of Americans a year are killed. Where's the outrage?

12:02 AM  
Blogger jasonk said...

I'm interested in the number of motorcyclists killed. Is the increase due to the fact that more people are riding them? Every guy with too much money on his hands seems to be riding these days. And do these stats count scooters? Recently a scooter rider slammed into the back of a tractor-trailer. He was life flighted to a hospital, but the driver of the truck didn't even know he had been hit, and never stopped. Police didn't attempt to locate him because they said he had done nothing wrong. At work recently, when a co-worker found out I was a bike commuter, he looked at me like I was crazy--too dangerous, he thought. Yet, he said his wife had recently started riding a scooter to work. To me, a small, two-wheeled vehicle that can go as fast as a car is much more dangerous than a bicycle.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Ed W said...

I read somewhere that the increase in motorcycle deaths and injuries was largely attributed to the middle aged demographic - guys who bought a motorcycle for recreation, and who had ridden in their youth or never at all. Statistically, a new rider or an experienced rider in his first year on an upgraded, faster bike, is most likely to be at risk. I'll have to get a copy of the full NHTSA report.

Getting reliable stats on cyclists is harder. We could try to estimate the deaths and injuries on a per capita basis if we could get good numbers on use. NBDA estimates 60 million people use a bicycle at least once a year, if I recall right. Of those, maybe 5 or 6 million are recreational or commuter cyclists who use their bikes more than a few times per week. So, on a per capita basis, which figure would we use?

There are also figures for hours of exposure and miles traveled, each of them seemingly contradictory. On a per-hour basis, bicycling is safer than car travel, but on a per-mile basis, it appears much worse.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

9:21 AM  

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