Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2014

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public safety:

Motorcycle deaths, injuries cost $16 billion

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

A crash test dummy flies off a motorcycle after slamming into a car during live, full-scale motor vehicle crash testing at the ARC-CSI Crash Conference at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Monday, May 24, 2010.

A government watchdog says direct costs from deaths and injuries in motorcycle crashes were $16 billion in 2010, but the full cost is likely higher.

The report by the Government Accountability Office said motorcyclists are involved in fatal crashes at higher rates than drivers of other types of vehicles, and are 30 times more likely to die in a traffic crash.

The report says laws requiring all motorcyclists to wear helmets are the only strategy proven to reduce fatalities. It said only 19 states have such laws.

Some motorcycle groups endorse the use of helmets, but have lobbied against state laws requiring them. They say such laws infringe on personal liberties.

Longer-term medical costs of motorcycle accidents weren't included in the total because they are difficult to measure.

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