As Gas Prices Rise, so do Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

A recent study by the University of Nebraska Medical Center found a link between higher gas prices and fatal motorcycle accidents.

The study, which was published in an issue of Injury Prevention, a peer-reviewed journal for health professionals, found that between 2002 and 2008, there was a 34% increase in accidents resulting in fatality and injury in California. Fatal Motorcycle Accidents

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Study Results

Using data from California’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System from 2002 to 2011, researchers estimated the impact of inflation-adjusted gasoline prices per gallon. In 2008, there were 13,457 injuries that represented the 34% increase from 2002. From 2002 to 2008, gas prices increased about $0.30 per gallon each year. The study also found that more than 92% of those involved in the crashes were male, more than 46% of them were middle-aged and almost 68% were white. The researchers concluded that rising gas prices resulted in an additional 800 fatal motorcycle accidents between 2002 and 2011 in California based on the data studied.

Cause of Increase

The study was unable to pinpoint the exact reason why higher gas prices may lead to more accidents, but did hypothesize that commuters turn to less expensive modes of transportation when gas prices increase. Because motorcycles tend to use less gas than passenger vehicles, riders who have little experience or training may choose a motorcycle anyway because they are more fuel-efficient. This could lead to errors on roads that cause crashes, and, ultimately, fatal motorcycle accidents.

Safety Suggestns

Suggestions were made by the researchers for methods of reducing fatal motorcycle accidents, including mandatory helmet laws and public awareness campaigns that help make other drivers more aware that more motorcyclists may be on the roads when gas prices rise. In addition, the study suggested that states implement stricter licensing tests to be sure that those who choose motorcycles as an economical solution are ready for the hazards that may face them on the roads.