Governor’s Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) publishes the 2019 Georgia motorcycle traffic crashes and fatalities fact sheet.
The latest finds that although motorcycles represent just 2% of registered vehicles, motorcyclists are consistently overrepresented in traffic fatalities. In 2019, motorcyclists represented 11% of total traffic fatalities and 21% of total driver fatalities.
This comprehensive fact sheet gives Georgia residents statistical motorcycle data at the state level, as an accessible resource of traffic safety information. The data puts into numbers where crashes are happening, who are involved in crashes, how many were multi-vehicle crashes, plus what contributing factors play a role.
For Georgia, motorcyclist fatalities have steadily increased in recent years. In 2017 there were 139 fatalities, 154 in 2018, 170 in 2019, and 179 in 2020. From 2017 to 2019, motorcyclist fatalities increased by 22%.
In 2019, there were 3,948 motorcycle crashes statewide and a total of 4,269 motorcyclists involved in crashes. The fact sheet found that for every 100,000 registered motorcycles there were 1,941.5 motorcycle crashes. The Atlanta region accounted for 42% of motorcycle crashes, with findings that indicate metro Atlanta has a higher rate of crashes compared to rural counties. The top counties with the highest number of motorcyclist fatalities and serious injuries were Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, and Bibb.
When it comes to licensure, valid motorcycle license holders are significantly underrepresented. According to the fact sheet, for the past decade, riders with some form of a Class M license only account for 6% of all licensed drivers. Yet in 2019, 51% of motorcyclists involved in crashes were riding with an invalid motorcycle license with 7% of those riders operating a motorcycle with no license.
“The most important takeaway from this data is simply this: riders are encouraged to slow down, particularly in the metro Atlanta area, seek training from a state-certified training provider (DDS Operated Motorcycle Training Locations), register your motorcycle, and get fully licensed with a Class M license,” said Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program Manager, Holly Hegyesi.
Other key findings include:
- Riders aged 25–34 represent 23% of motorcycle operator fatalities
- 83% of motorcyclists involved in crashes were helmeted
- 18% of motorcycle operators involved in fatal crashes were speeding
- Total motorcycle-related hospitalization and emergency room charges were $221 million
“Research indicates that successful completion of a RiderEducation (RE) course is a contributing factor in successful highway outcomes for riders of all skill levels. For this reason, we encourage all riders to take a RE course and get fully licensed,” said Hegyesi.
Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP)
The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) is a part of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. GMSP promotes motorist awareness programs, share the road campaigns, and is focused on highway safety issues affecting Georgia motorcyclists as well as offers rider education and licensing programs. The GMSP directly operates training sites throughout Georgia. GMSP offers low-cost, professional training to assist riders in improving their skills.