IT’S DANGEROUS OUT THERE: New Mexico is one of the most dangerous states for motorcyclists.
That’s the takeaway from a new study by QuoteWizard (see all the data at quotewizard.com/news/posts/dangerous-states-for-motorcycles).
But before we drill down on those numbers, know that it’s not much safer for anyone else. Overall, with 259 deaths January through July, New Mexico is way ahead of the 230 traffic deaths in 2020 and 243 in 2019 over the same period. Although January and February of this year started out with fewer fatalities than in the previous two years, things went south in March and have stayed deadlier ever since.
According to data from the New Mexico Department of Transportation and University of New Mexico, there have been 30 motorcycle deaths this year from January through July. (Over the same period, there were 26 in 2020 and 27 in 2019). Yes, it’s more deadly to drive another vehicle – in the same time frame there have been 78 deaths in cars, 43 in pickup trucks, 42 in vans/SUVs and 11 in tractor-trailers or buses. Also dangerous is walking – 47 pedestrians were killed in that span.
Six ATV riders and two bicyclists also died in wrecks in the first seven months of the year.
Back to that study: According to QuoteWizard, we rank eighth in the nation based on 2019 data, with 9.1 deaths for every 10,000 motorcyclists (Louisiana is No. 1, with 21.1; Montana is last, with 0.7).
APD BUSY WITH MOTORCYCLE CRASHES: Don’t just take the study authors’ word for it. A look at just some of the Albuquerque Police Department’s most recent email alerts on traffic fatalities include deaths and serious injuries at all hours of the day, and on everything from Harleys to mopeds to ATVs:
• Aug. 3, 5:06 p.m.: Officers in the Northeast Area Command are currently investigating a fatal motorcycle crash. This occurred on San Mateo near Claremont. This is a vehicle-versus-motorcycle crash; unfortunately the motorcyclist perished in the crash.
• July 31, 2 a.m.: The Motor Unit was called out to a fatal crash located at 98th and Tower SW. During the investigation it was learned a motorcyclist was headed northbound on 98th from Tower. A four-door sedan was traveling southbound on 98th and made a turn east toward Demi Road. The sedan turned in front of the motorcyclist causing the motorcycle to T-bone the sedan. The motorcyclist was ejected from the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet and received significant head trauma. The individual was transported to UNMH in critical condition and later succumbed to his injuries.
• July 29, 11:16: p.m.: Units in the Northwest Area Command are currently conducting a serious motorcycle crash investigation. This occurred in the area of Bob McCannon and El Tesoro Escondido. The motorcyclist was transported to UNMH where he is listed in critical condition.
• July 26, 6:06 p.m.: Officers in the Southeast Area currently investigating a serious crash. This occurred on Central at Eubank. This is a vehicle-versus-moped crash. One female has been transported to UNMH and is listed in critical condition.
• July 22, 9:58 a.m.: Officers are currently investigating a fatal crash involving a motorcycle at Jefferson and Paseo del Norte. … Once on scene, officers were advised the Harley-Davidson motorcycle was traveling northbound on Jefferson when it struck a Toyota Tacoma truck. … The motorcycle rider succumbed to his injuries.”
• July 1, 8:15 p.m.: Officers in the Southeast Area Command are currently investigating a fatal dirtbike crash. This occurred in the area of Los Picaros and Ira Sprecher roads. One individual was driving an ATV and the other was driving a dirtbike. Both the ATV and dirtbike crashed into each other. The male riding the ATV was transported to the hospital and is in critical condition. Sadly, the male riding the dirt bike received non-survivable injuries and died on scene.
This is just a snapshot of a couple of weeks.
HELMETS, SEAT BELTS AND ALCOHOL: The NMDOT/UNM data shows that 30 of the 36 motorcycle/ATV riders killed in the first seven months of this year were not wearing a helmet. Of the 163 who died in cars, pickups, vans and SUVs, 109 were not wearing a seat belt. If there’s a bright spot, it’s that alcohol was a factor in just 22% of the wrecks this year. In all of 2020, it played a role in 36% of traffic fatalities, 41.2% in 2019.
Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM, 87109.