The East Valley Tribune recently published an article highlighting a twenty-two percent increase in fatal motorcycle accidents in the past year in Arizona. According to the Tribune,
Overall, the number of fatal Arizona motorcycle collisions doubled from 2001 to 2005, and transportation officials say they are particularly concerned about a surge in driver deaths in the 45-to-54-year-old age group.
Deadly motorcycle crashes increased at 10 times the rate of other vehicular deaths between 2004 and 2005, with more than half involving motorcyclists age 35 and older. Those statistics differ significantly from crash data for other vehicle types, in which older drivers died at a far lower rate.
These statistics seem to suggest that older motorcyclists are not adequately trained and are prone to collisions. However, shouldn’t we also look to the increasing number of drivers on Arizona roadways as another reason for the increasing number of collisions? Also, problems associated with cellphone use and driver inattentiveness could be a contributing factor to both auto and motorcycle collisions. Recent studies suggest that cellphone use while driving can be as distracting as alcohol impairment leading to serious auto accidents. Before we start blaming only motorcycle riders for inadequate training on Arizona roadways, shouldn’t we also look to distracted drivers who may not pay careful attention to the roadway and cause accidents with motorcyclists? Operating a vehicle on our roadways involves a partnership between the driver and everybody else on the roadway. Shouldn’t everybody who drives take safety seriously and drive defensively whether or not you ride a motorcycle, a car, an SUV, a van or a commercial truck. What do you think? Are motorcyclists unfairly singled out in this article? I’d like to hear your thoughts.