2009 Motorcycle Fatalities Down in U.S. by at least 10%
The new study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) James Hedlund, a former NHTSA official, used preliminary motorcycle crash data from all 50 states, although some states data was incomplete. The study does not indicate why there were less fatal motorcycle accidents in 2009. However, given the poor state of the economy, many riders likely cutback on the amount of time spent riding.
Many riders do it for recreation. So when the economy tanks and money is tight, it's understandable that fewer motorcycles may be hitting the road. This also means that there may be fewer beginners buying motorcycles. The more experienced the rider is the safer he/she generally is on the road.
In Washington state, motorcycle accident deaths were down over 15% from 81 deaths in 2008 to 69 deaths in 2009. However, 2008 saw a spike in motorcycle related deaths, as 2007 also had 69 deaths. It's hard to say what caused the drop motorcycle related fatalities in 2009. What's more important about these statistics is that there were more people alive last year because they somehow avoided a fatal motorcycle accident.