SOURCE: Injury Prevention, news release, Dec. 15, 2014
MONDAY, Dec. 15, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- As gas prices rose in recent years, so did motorcyclist injuries and deaths, a new study suggests.
In times of gas increases, more people start using motorcycles and many of those riders are inexperienced, the researchers explained.
They examined data gathered between 2002 and 2011 in California, which has the highest number of motorcycle registrations in the United States and the third highest number of motorcyclist deaths.
The analysis revealed a strong association between rising gas prices and an increasing number of motorcycle registrations, along with motorcyclist injuries and deaths. But it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
Between 2002 and 2011, higher gas prices resulted in an additional 800 deaths and 10,290 injuries among motorcyclists in California, according to the study published online in the journal Injury Prevention.
Crashes were more likely to occur in urban areas and during the afternoon. Of the motorcyclists involved in crashes, nearly 93 percent were men, 46 percent were middle-aged, and 68 percent were white. Riders ages 16 to 24 and those on the latest models of motorcycles were most likely to be involved in at-fault crashes.
The study also found that one in five injured riders was uninsured.
Along with mandatory helmet laws, other ways to reduce motorcycle injuries and deaths include compulsory training, stricter licensing tests and raising other drivers' awareness of motorcycles, the researchers said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about motorcycles.