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Fatal motorcycle accidents in Texas: what the numbers say

When it comes to fatal motor vehicle accidents of any type, it is a melancholy exercise to try to spin statistics as encouraging when the number of deaths remains so high. 

Consider, for example, motorcycle accident deaths in Texas. It's true that the number of those deaths decreased by 6 percent last year. There were 460 in 2012, compared to 488 in 2011.

Overall, however, the number of motorcycle fatalities in Texas is up significantly in Texas in the last decade. Since 2004, deaths in motorcycle accidents statewide have increased by 56 percent.

To be sure, the decline from 488 to 460 motorcycle fatalities is a step in the right direction. After all, it isn't only that the number of deaths in motorcycle accidents went down. Each one of those 28 fewer deaths means that 28 unique human beings are alive who could have been killed in a motorcycle accident.

But Texas is still losing far too many unique human lives each year in motorcycle crashes. Even with last year's modest decrease, the number of fatal accidents is still more than 50 percent higher than it was a decade ago.

The national picture shows a multi-year trend toward increases in motorcycle fatalities as well. Indeed, the national number has gone up for 14 of the last 15 years.

There are certainly many serious car accidents and serious truck accidents in Texas and across the nation as well. Motorcyclists, however, are often especially vulnerable because they are not protected by the exterior of their vehicles if a collision occurs. That is why nearly 90 percent of motorcycle accidents involve injuries or death.

Source: The Dallas Morning News, "Texas motorcycle, scooter deaths down in 2012 but still higher than a decade ago," Jeff Mosier, May 5, 2013

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