Your tax dollars at work: the Governors Highway Safety Association just completed a study showing that motorcycle fatalities decreased by roughly 10% in 2009, the first such decrease in rider deaths since 1997. While this looks like good news on the surface, the study neglected to correct for key contributing factors, such as a corresponding decrease in motorcycle purchases, registration renewals or an increase in state unemployment. The report did suggest that a reduction in motorcycle leisure travel, coupled with worse than usual weather conditions, could have contributed to the reduction in deaths.
Let me get this straight: someone actually paid for a study that showed a result, without bothering to quantify how that result was achieved. There’s plenty of speculation (reduced leisure riding, fewer new riders, bad weather), but absolutely no hard data to confirm or refute the real causes. A Spanish dictionary, for example, has lots of data. Unless you are able to apply that data in the proper context, you’ll never learn to speak Spanish. That, ultimately, is the flaw of this study.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that fewer riders are getting killed. It just seems to me that the money wasted on this study could have been better spent on figuring out how to keep returning riders alive once the economy bounces back. Even a simple “Watch out for riders” campaign would have done more good than a study that simply tells us what we already know.