Motorcycle deaths were slightly lower over the first nine months of 2010 than in the same period the previous year, according to a new report. Yet while the downturn mirrors statistics nationwide, officials are cautioning bikers to remain vigilant on the road.

The report issued by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) in April states that 286 Florida motorcyclists died over the first nine months of last year, compared to 293 over the same time frame in 2009. Meanwhile, motorcycle fatalities dropped by more than two percent nationwide.

A local motorcycle enthusiast tells The Tampa Tribune’s Keith Morelli that “the dangers to bikers mostly are vehicle drivers on phones, either talking or texting or motorists just not paying attention when they switch lanes or make turns.” In addition to death, motorcycle accidents can also result in brain and spinal injuries, broken bones and paralysis.

Despite the decrease in fatalities thus far, GHSA – a nonprofit association representing state highway safety offices across the country – points out that the national drop is slight compared to 2009, in which biker fatalities plummeted by 16%, snapping 11 straight years of increases in motorcycle deaths. The organization also notes that the use of Department of Transportation compliant motorcycle helmets dropped by 13% over the same period in 2010, a freefall that the GHSA calls “alarming.”

“To prevent an increase in motorcyclist fatalities in 2011, states should work to increase helmet use, provide motorcycle operator training to all who need or seek it and reduce motorcyclist alcohol impairment and speeding,” the organization cautions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008 and that an additional 823 could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

May is “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.” If you or a loved one was recently injured in a motorcycle accident, contact the Florida motorcycle accident lawyers at Anidjar & Levine for a free initial consultation. Our experienced and diligent attorneys can help you to assess your case after an accident.

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