WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation released its latest iteration of “Fact or Fiction” a document that takes a closer look at a government fact sheet concerning motorcycle injuries and fatalities.
In February, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a Traffic Safety Facts document specific to motorcycles. The information is extrapolated from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) which is a census of fatal crashes in all 50 States. Though the information in the fact sheet is contained in a larger agency document, motorcycle-specific information is collated into its own publication.
After reviewing and analyzing the document, the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) quickly issued a statement and updated its “Fact or Fiction” paper, reacting to the NHTSA publication. Since 2010, the group has made a conscious effort to understand, analyze and provide additional context to government-issued statistics. According to the MRF’s Director of Motorcycle Safety and Vice-President of the Board of Directors Jay Jackson, this effort helps set the record straight and gives the broader motorcycle community a better understanding of where potential concerns may be identified.
The latest iteration of Fact or Fiction drills down on the data itself, raising concerns that the statistics also include mopeds, scooters and off-road bikes and therefore is not necessarily indicative of a factual problem. Further, that data should not be used in any serious discussion on ways to reduce motorcycle traffic fatalities because its bringing in very different classes of motorbikes, some of which are not even used for street riding. Another interesting statement from the publication takes a deeper dive on alcohol impairment and motorcycles. Though NHTSA cites that 25% of motorcyclists were killed in a crash involving alcohol, it does not mention that in passenger vehicles this figure was 28% in comparison. By not including this, it suggests to the reader that impaired driving is unique to motorcycles when in fact, it’s a broader passenger vehicle problem.
When asked for comment, President and Chairman of the Board for the Motorcycle Riders Foundation Kirk ‘Hardtail’ Willard explained, “We think its important for the public to understand the full context of these kinds of government publications. I view it as a knowledge versus wisdom argument: knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.”
The NHTSA publication can be viewed here:
The MRF’s 2018 Fact or Fiction document can be viewed here along with previous iterations: