Gasoline Prices and Their Relationship to Rising Motorcycle Fatalities, 1990-2007

This article reports on a study undertaken to quantify the relationship between changing fuel prices and motorcycle fatalities. The authors note that, although automobile fatalities have declined in recent years, motorcycle fatalities are rapidly increasing. They used the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database, which contains information on every vehicle fatality occurring on public roads in the United States. This study include 56,168 motored cycle deaths, in the period from 1990 to 2007; these data included both drivers and any passengers the vehicle carried. Weekly gasoline retail prices were obtained from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), based on weekly nationwide telephone surveys of approximately 900 retail gasoline outlets. The authors' analysis also adjusts for climate, as climate has a significant impact on motorcycle use. Their findings suggest that people increasingly rely on motorcycles to reduce their fuel costs in response to rising gasoline prices. Use of motorcycles and scooters instead of 4-wheeled vehicles results in over 1,500 additional motorcycle fatalities annually for each dollar increase in gas prices. The authors conclude that motorcycle safety, including formal motorcycle training and required helmet laws, should receive more attention as a leading public health issue.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Wilson, Fernando A
    • Stimpson, Jim P
    • Hilsenrath, Peter E
  • Publication Date: 2009-10


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01148169
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 31 2009 9:33AM