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National Roadway Safety Strategy Announced

By General Posts

Thursday afternoon, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced a new national road safety campaign. The plan, known as the “National Roadway Safety Strategy,” comes in response to increased year over year fatalities on our nation’s roadways. In 2020, an estimated 38,680 people died as a result of a motor vehicle crash. Of those, approximately 9% were motorcyclists’ fatalities.

What is most alarming about the increase in fatalities, is that the total number of miles traveled on our roads decreased during the pandemic. Americans traveled 13.2% less miles in 2020 than we did in 2019, but we saw a 7.2% increase in deaths.

The preliminary numbers for the first 6 months of 2021 are also troublesome. From January through the end of June 2021 an estimated 20,160 people died in crashes. That is the largest number of projected deaths in that time frame since 2006.

To combat this trend the plan outlines five key objectives:

  • Safer People: Encourage safe, responsible behavior by people who use our roads and create conditions that prioritize their ability to reach their destination unharmed.
  • Safer Roads: Design roadway environments to mitigate human mistakes and account for injury tolerances, to encourage safer behaviors, and to facilitate safe travel by the most users.
  • Safer Vehicles: Expand the availability of vehicle systems and features that help to prevent crashes and minimize the impact of crashes on both occupants and non-occupants.
  • Safer Speeds: Promote safer speeds in all roadway environments through a combination of thoughtful, context-appropriate roadway design, targeted education, and outreach campaigns, and enforcement.
  • Post-Crash Care: Enhance the survivability of crashes through expedient access to emergency medical care, while creating a safe working environment for vital first responders and preventing secondary crashes through robust traffic incident management practices.

The recently passed infrastructure bill has components and funding to help achieve some of these goals. For example, $14 billion in new funding was specifically allocated for road safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also announced plans this week to increase the data it collects on crashes. The agency wants to boost the number of crashes investigated and add additional studies that examine crashes involving medium-duty trucks, pedestrians, and workers who are hit on the road.

We at the Motorcycle Riders Foundation are encouraged to see that the U.S. Department of Transportation is taking a complete view of traffic safety, incorporating multiple factors to make our roadways safer. We also remain committed to the theory of crash avoidance, as a crash that doesn’t happen is always safer than one that does.

To get more detail and read the 41 page report click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.
See website at: http://mrf.org/

MRF Update: Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)

By General Posts

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation released an interactive website with data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). FARS, which became operational in 1975, containing data on a census of fatal traffic crashes within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. To be included in FARS, a crash must involve a motor vehicle traveling on a traffic way customarily open to the public and must result in the death of a vehicle occupant or a nonoccupant within 30 days of the crash.

Fatal crash data for motorcyclists and passengers from the years 2010 to 2019 is included on this website.

Users of the website can sort the information on fatalities by a variety of categories, including:

  • State where the crash took place
  • Crash Characteristics
  • Environmental Characteristics
  • Month of Crash
  • Time of Crash
  • Helmet Usage
  • Alcohol Usage
  • Age and Sex of Victims
  • Weather Conditions
  • Single Vehicle v Multi Vehicle

While this information can be useful in understanding when, why and where crashes are taking place, it’s important to note that this data includes not just traditional motorcycles but also mopeds, scooters, minibikes, and pocket bikes.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation believes crash avoidance is key component of rider safety. There are zero fatalities in crashes that never happen.

To see the website and view the decade’s long data click here.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation
The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit MRF Website at: https://mrf.org/

Contact Governor Gavin Newsom TODAY about AB43- Traffic Safety Bill

By General Posts

National Motorists Association (NMA). California

Immediate Attention: Contact Governor Gavin Newsom TODAY about AB43–the Traffic Safety Bill

Dear California NMA Members,

AB43 is a “hair on fire” situation. The bill, generically titled “Traffic Safety,” was passed by the state Senate and Assembly earlier this month by votes of 30 to 5 and 68 to 5 respectively, with a few abstentions in both chambers. AB43 was forwarded to Governor Newsom on September 17th and is awaiting his action. That’s why the urgency. (Please send this out to family and friends as well).

Members should email their opposition to the bill to:
Governor Gavin Newsom
c/o Ronda.Paschal@gov.ca.gov –Deputy Legislative Secretary

The main issue is that the bill would reverse nearly 100 years of California speed limits being based on fact-based engineering by allowing the lowering of limits without any particular rationale. By disregarding proven traffic engineering standards and posting unrealistic limits, many more drivers traveling at conventional, safe speeds will be stopped and ticketed for noncompliance.

Police and community relations will be poorly served by a dramatic increase in traffic stops that serves no safety purpose. Speed traps will become much more prevalent.

The forced lowering of speed limits will also create a surge in traffic accidents. Most drivers obey their instincts of what is a safe rate of travel on a particular road. That’s why the prevailing methodology for setting the safest speed limit is based on the prevailing behavior of 85 percent of drivers. Studies have shown repeatedly that the 85th percentile rule for establishing speed limits minimizes crashes.

By reducing speed limits below those levels, there will be a wider variance of driving speeds on the road, some obeying the new numbers on the speed limit signs and more following natural driving patterns. The result will be more vehicular interactions between regular and slower drivers, creating the conditions for more crashes.

Write from your own perspective, which will give a much more impactful statement to the governor. We urge you to do it today!

Thank you for your support of motorists’ rights in California.

National Motorists Association – www.motorists.org

Fact or Fiction – Helmet Use

By General Posts

from Motorcycle Riders Foundation at http://mrf.org/

On a nearly annual basis the media in this country is inspired to report stories about motorcycle fatalities on our nation’s roadways. Invariably, these stories paint motorcycle rider deaths as a product of irresponsible riders who live in states that have some level of helmet choice. Frequently they report statistics that prove their narrative but fail to paint a full and complete picture. The lens with which these stories are reported often takes the naïve view that crashes can be made “safer” if only bikers somehow followed government helmet mandates.

The only true solution to motorcycle safety and reducing fatalities are proactive measures, which prevent a collision from occurring at all, rather than reactive steps that may or may not offer some level of injury mitigation only after a crash has already taken place. Rider education, which prepares motorcyclists to interact with other roadway users by learning and practicing the skills necessary for hazard avoidance and developing a strategy to deal with real world traffic, is the primary component of a comprehensive motorcycle safety plan. Additionally, educating all motor vehicle operators to be alert and free of impairment as they share the road with others is critical in deterring crashes caused by inattention.

When coming across these stories keep in mind some facts that are omitted from their reports.

Fact: Over the last decade motorcycle related deaths have varied between years but for the most part remain flat. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2019 shows 5,014 deaths, a decrease from the 2008 5,307 deaths NTSHA recorded. In that same time period registered motorcycles increased from 7.7 million in 2008 to 8.7 million ten years later. In other words, there are a million more bikes on the road and there were 300 less deaths.

Fact: Twenty-nine percent of motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes in 2017 were riding without proper licensure at the time of the collision. A valid motorcycle license includes a rider having a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement or possessing a motorcycle only license. Proper training and licensing are fundamental parts of motorcycle safety, taking unqualified riders off the road is a commonsense solution to lowering motorcycle fatalities.

Fact: The lack of a helmet mandate in the 31 states who have allowed freedom of choice does not prohibit someone from choosing to wear a helmet. In fact, a 2019 U.S. Department of Transportation audit showed that states without mandatory helmet laws still saw 56.5% of riders choose to wear a helmet.

Fact: A 2019 U.S. Department of Transportation Fatality Analysis Reporting System report showed that in crash study data, where helmet use was known, 36% of motorcyclists killed were not wearing a helmet. Conversely 61% of motorcycle fatalities involved a rider wearing a helmet. The remaining 3% had unknown usage. These numbers closely mirror NHTSA data on overall helmet usage which shows 64% of riders wearing helmets.

Fact: Despite the constant drum beat from safety advocates, the media and Washington D.C. bureaucrats about the ills of helmetless riders, state legislatures continue to trust the judgment of bikers. Just last year Missouri passed a modified helmet law allowing the choice to ride without a helmet to those who are qualified. In at least three other states, West Virginia, Maryland, and Nebraska there are active campaigns to change their helmet mandates and let those who ride decide.

Ride With The Leaders ™ by joining the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) at http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983

84 arrests, 226 citations and 18 crashes reported in 24 hours at massive motorcycle rally in South Dakota

By General Posts

by Caitlin O’Kane from https://www.cbsnews.com

South Dakota authorities on Sunday reported the first haul of crashes, arrests and citations from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in the western part of the state. The annual rally started on Friday, drawing thousands of maskless riders to the streets and bars of Sturgis.

While organizers have said they expect fewer visitors than in other years, the Argus Leader reports the number of arrests and citations have increased from last year.

The Department of Public Safety reported that police made 84 arrests for driving under the influence or drug-related offenses during a 24-hour period spanning from Saturday into Sunday morning. That’s up from last year, when 76 people had been arrested in a similar time frame.

Police have also issued more citations, with 226 people getting tickets. The figure is 37 more than last year. But it appears police are less lenient this year and are letting fewer people off with warnings.

So far, police in the region have reported 18 crashes, which is down from last year’s mark of 20. None have been fatal.

Shrugging off the five million coronavirus cases now tallied in the U.S., thousands of motorcyclists converged this weekend in Sturgis for what is billed as the biggest cycle gathering in the world.

“I’ve been here since the beginning of July,” one person in Sturgis told CBS News. “People are tired of being at home, you know. This is what this rally started about is freedom.”

In June, city officials decided in an eight to one vote to go ahead with the rally, CBS affiliate KELO reports. In an email to CBS News, the City of Sturgis Public Information Officer Christina Steele said the “decision to hold the Rally came after hearing from thousands of attendees that they were coming to the event, even if it was canceled by the City of Sturgis.”

In past years, the 10-day rally in the town of Sturgis has drawn hundreds of thousands of bikers to socialize, drink and party together — raising fears among some locals that this year’s version could be a superspreader event.

For now, the north-central state is far from the hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic — Meade County, where Sturgis is located, has registered only one virus death, according to state health officials. But in the last two weeks, South Dakota has recorded an increase in the percent of virus tests coming back positive — and former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told “Face The Nation” that a second wave may be harder to control.

“This has become so pervasive across the country that it could start to infect more rural communities that have largely been untouched to date,” he said.

Some of the bikers pouring into the area are coming from distant states far more afflicted.

South Dakota, site of the famed massive sculpture of four former presidents on Mount Rushmore — where President Donald Trump held a rally last month — is one of the few to have never ordered a lockdown or insisted on mask-wearing.

Attendees in Sturgis are being encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. Few appeared to be doing so.

So far, as the town’s Main Street fills with bikes and bars fill with bikers, there is scant evidence of social distancing. Visitors to this 80th edition of the cycle rally already greatly outnumber the 6,000 residents of Sturgis, wedged into the South Dakota hills.

The rally has long been a huge economic boon to Sturgis, and vendors were taking full advantage of it on Sunday.

They peddled T-shirts marked “I survived corona” or “God, guns and Trump” or bearing a photomontage of the president wearing a leather jacket and making an obscene gesture.

While some locals worried about the two-wheeled invaders, the state’s governor warmly embraced them.

“We’re excited for visitors to see what our great state has to offer!” tweeted Kristi Noem, a Republican and strong Trump supporter.