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Progress made on motorcycle fatalities, but more work to be done

Improving safety for motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania takes a concerted effort on the part of lots of different people and groups. In order to decrease the number of motorcycle accidents and fatalities, cooperation between our state's transportation department and the state police has had to improve -- and, by many accounts, it has. Additionally, training of new riders has gotten better.

The results are significant. Fatalities and overall accidents last year were down dramatically from the previous year. There were about 500 fewer motorcycle accidents and 29 fewer fatalities in 2013 than there were in 2012. There also were about 3,500 fewer registered motorcycles in the state as well.

The drop in registrations could be the beginning of a trend. A new law that has been on the books since February puts restrictions on residents regarding how they may apply for a motorcycle license permit. Under the new law, people cannot apply more than three times in a five-year period for a permit.

Members of a bikers' group that rallied in the Capitol Rotunda recently also reiterated that the proper safety attire is essential for people who ride motorcycles. This might seem to contradict the group's very public stance against a mandatory helmet law, which was repealed in our state back in 2003. Group members said that they don't disapprove of people wearing helmets; they merely want people to have a choice in the matter.

Riders wearing helmets do, of course, survive accidents better than those without helmets. However, helmets and other safety equipment cannot completely protect against injury. Doing everything in one's power to stay safe, though, is a good rule to live by.

Source: Penn Live, "Riders, lawmakers rally in Capitol for motorcycle safety," Gideon Bradshaw, June 2, 2014

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