February 19, 2007

U.S. Transportation official urges manufacturers to provide helmets and training with motorcycles

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Mary Peters, has called on manufacturers to provide free or heavily-discounted DOT-certified helmets, or driver safety training, with the purchase of every new motorcycle sold in the United States.

“Helmets and proper training are just as important as brakes or headlights when it comes to the well-being of motorcyclists,” Peters says. “We shouldn’t be letting any customer take a bike out of the store without a helmet as part of the package. Safety shouldn’t have to be an option when purchasing a motorcycle.”

Peters said that only 58 per cent of riders currently wear helmets, down 13 per cent from four years ago. She also noted that 700 motorcyclists would survive crashes each year if they wore helmets, and that while motorcycles account for only two per cent of all vehicles on the road, they are involved in over 10 per cent of all crashes. Motorcycle fatalities have more than doubled in 10 years and now account for over 4,500 highway deaths and 78,000 injuries each year, with the crash rate among riders 50 years of age and older has increased by over 400 per cent.

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