National Association of State
Motorcycle Safety Administrators

May 2013 Newsletter

In This Issue:

2013 SMSA Executive Committee Elections

NHTSA Sponsored Motorcycle Safety Program

2013 National Summit Information

2013 SMSA Outstanding Contribution Award

2013 SMSA Outstanding State Award

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcyclists Urged to Wear High-Visibility Gear

Action Alert to Motorcyclist-Safety Advocates

AAMVA Motorcycle Safety Blog

Rising Motorcycle Fatalities

New Study: Motorcyclist Deaths Spike in 2012

Advertise here in the SMSA Monthly Newsletter. For details please contact the SMSA office at or (724) 801-8075

Upcoming Events

SMSA Events

2013 SMSA Conference
August 23rd - 25th
Kansas City, Missouri

2 Wheel + Motor, An International Fine Art Exhibition Grand Opening
July 18th
Pickerington, Ohio

2013 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days
July 19th - 21st
Lexington, Ohio

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame 2012 Induction Ceremony
October 18th
Las Vegas, Nevada

Contribute to Our Newsletter

Send your News, Upcoming Events, or Articles that you wish to share with SMSA members so we can post them in our future Newsletters to: SMSA Office

Our mailing address is:

SMSA Office
1434 Trim Tree Road
Indiana, PA 15701



2013 SMSA Executive Committee Elections
We will need to elect three Regional positions (Western, Central and Eastern Regional Representatives) and one Supporting Member position in 2013 SMSA election. 

Elections are done by ballot prior to the 2013 Member Business Meeting on August 23, 2013.  There will be no elections at the Annual Business Meeting.

Regional Representatives are elected by the state members in each region. 

The Supporting Member is elected by the Supporting Members.

If you are interested in serving on the SMSA Executive Committee as a Regional Representative or Supporting Member Representative, please submit an Intent to Serve Form to the SMSA Business Office at by June 1, 2013.

If you would like to nominate someone for one of these positions, please contact that person before making the nomination so they are aware of your plans.  Individuals running for a position on the Executive Committee need to obtain approval from their organization to run for and accept a position on the SMSA Executive Committee.

All three Regional Representatives and the Supporting Member Representative will serve a two year term starting August 2013 and ending August 2015.

Individuals running for a Regional Representative position must be the designated voter from a state in the region. 

Individuals running for the Supporting Member Representative must be the designated representative for the member organization.

No Executive Committee Representative elections will be conducted during the 2013 SMSA Member Business Meeting.  Individuals submitting letters of intent to participate in the 2013 elections or nominations received after June 1, 2013 will not be eligible to participate in these elections. 

There will be no write in votes for the 2013 SMSA election.

To view the Criteria for Qualification and Intent to Serve Forms visit the SMSA Website at

NHTSA sponsored Motorcycle Safety Program Coordination Training Courses in 2013
The Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA), Transportation Safety Institute (TSI) will be conducting their second National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sponsored Motorcycle Safety Program Coordination Training Course, June 4 and 5, 2013.  This is an on-line course that can be completed from your office during normal work hours.  The training is interactive and lasts approximately 3 hours each day (total of 6 hours per course).  The course focuses on the comprehensive approach to motorcycle safety and reviews successful and promising practices.  NHTSA’s 11 components for a comprehensive approach are the foundation for this training.

If you want to participate in this course, contact your state highway safety office for information on how to register for this course.

2013 Summit Information
The SMSA National Summit on Comprehensive Motorcycle Safety Programs will be held on August 23-25, 2013 at the Westin Kansas City at Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri.  The annual SMSA Summit brings together leaders in motorcycle safety.

The SMSA National Summit offers an unparalleled opportunity to build relationships with individuals and organizations committed to improving motorcycle safety programs.

Pre-Summit activities include: two professional development workshops and the annual business meeting.

Supported by our host state, the Missouri Motorcycle Safety Program, and with special events sponsored by the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, the National Summit will provide attendees with three days of informative and interactive sessions addressing motorcycle safety across the country.


The Summit registration form as well as Sponsorship and Exhibitor Opportunities are available on the SMSA website at 2013 Summit and Events.

2013 SMSA Outstanding Contribution Award
The SMSA Award Committee is seeking nominations for the 2013 SMSA Outstanding Contribution Award. This annual Award, formerly known as the Chairperson Award, recognizes individuals who through their dedication, commitment and contribution to motorcycle safety have made a positive impact on a national, state or local level.  SMSA selects one person annually for this award. Nominees may be currently or previously associated with the SMSA or an SMSA member’s program or organization.  Individuals may not nominate themselves and individuals that have previously received this award are not eligible.  Members of the Award Committee are also not eligible for nomination.

SMSA Outstanding Contribution Award Nomination Form

2013 SMSA Outstanding State Award
The SMSA Award Committee is seeking nominations for the 2013 SMSA Outstanding State Award. This is a new award that recognizes a state with a comprehensive state motorcycle safety program (NHTSA Highway Safety Program Guideline No. 3 – Motorcycle Safety Program) and has implemented strategies that are successful, effective and can be measured, evaluated and serve as best practices.

State Award Nomination Form

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness MonthMotorcyclists have all the same rights and privileges as any motor vehicle driver on the roadway. During Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month in May - and during the rest of the year - drivers of all other vehicles and all road users are reminded to safely "share the road" with motorcyclists, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe.

What are States doing for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month?

Minnesota will be running a NHTSA Section 2010/405 supported motorcyclist awareness television spot; the Governor will do a motorcycle safety proclamation; and they will have approximately 35 to 40 motorcycle groups/clubs/organizations handing out motorcyclist awareness materials and cleaning windshields on weekends at rest areas around the state. This event is their annual Washout and has been held each spring for over twenty years.


  • Billboards are currently up on Idaho’s roadways statewide; one for sober riding and one for PPE
  • There will be 4 Motorcycle Awareness Rallies across Idaho on May 4th (Boise, Idaho Falls, Orofino, and Coeur D’Alene) in an effort to increase driver awareness.  Representatives from Idaho STAR will be speaking at each rally.

  •  Numerous Facebook/Twitter posts throughout the month ( promoting Motorcycle Awareness

  •  The Office of Highway Safety is currently airing a motorcycle safety PSA ( – produced by Oklahoma, used by Idaho with permission)

  •  Idaho’s May eNewsletter was published May 1 and has lots of info and resources (

  •  Idaho (in cooperation with their Office of Highway Safety) is currently developing a 30 second radio ad for broadcast.  Here is the draft script (for a 5-year old girl to read):
    o   My name is Morgan and my daddy rides a motorcycle.
    o   He says I can ride one too when I’m bigger. 
    o   I already know that motorcycles are small and hard to see.
    o   So, when we ride in the car we always look twice for motorcycles.
    o   When you drive your car please look twice for motorcycles, too.
    o   I love my daddy and want him to come home safe.
    o   (new voice, adult male most likely) -Sponsored by the Idaho Transportation Department, Idaho Coalition for Motorcycle Safety, and the Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program

  • Idaho STAR then plans to make a video version of it (filmed at a local motorcycle shop) that they can push out through their social media channels (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter). 
  • Motorcyclists urged to wear high-visibility
    gear in new campaign

    Motorcyclists are being urged to ride defensively and make themselves more easily seen by wearing high-visibility riding gear through the federally funded Ride Safe to Ride Again campaign. This is the first time the effort has urged the use of gear that enhances both daytime and nighttime visibility of motorcyclists to the motoring public and includes the use of colors such as fluorescent red, orange, yellow or green and retro reflective trim.

    The Ride Safe to Ride Again campaign, sponsored by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP), recognizes that the best person to look out for a motorcycle rider's safety is the rider. In previous years, the campaign has concentrated on key skills riders need to know to avoid being injured or killed in a crash. Read more here.

    Action Alert to Motorcyclist-Safety Advocates: SMARTER is urging concerned motorcyclist-safety advocates to contact their U.S. representative to urge him/her to OPPOSE Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act, planned for introduction on May 6.

    This bill is bad for motorcyclist safety. It would restrict federal funding for use solely on those efforts aimed at the limited goal of reducing the number of crashes through education and awareness programs, despite the fact that there is no research to indicate that training and awareness programs reduce the risk of traffic crashes.

    While reducing the number of crashes must be ONE of the goals of comprehensive motorcyclist-safety efforts, it is foolish to believe that we can eliminate all crashes and is therefore foolish not to include preventing deaths and injuries and lessening the severity of injuries in the event of a crash as vital additional goals. The safety of motorcyclists is best served by comprehensive efforts comprising multiple components, and those efforts should not be constrained by limited funding and biased restrictions. States must be allowed to allocate money to areas they determine are most appropriate. A recent Government Accountability Office report recommends increasing states’ flexibility in the use of federal funding (see, NOT restricting their funding, as this bill proposes.

    Targeted enforcement zones have been shown to be an effective traffic-safety measure. Automobile drivers are subject to seatbelt enforcement zones, which motorcyclists are not subject to. Why is it unfair to utilize motorcycle-only checkpoints when automobile-only checkpoints are readily accepted as an effective strategy to reduce traffic-law violations?

    This bill is being promoted by bikers’-rights organizations as a backhanded way to prevent educating riders on the effectiveness of helmets and to prevent states from promoting helmet use. In addition, the bill would also restrict funding for a wide variety of additional components of comprehensive motorcyclist-safety efforts.

    Please contact your U.S. representative immediately to urge him/her to OPPOSE the Stop Motorcycle Checkpoint Funding Act Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner plans to introduce May 6. You can find contact information for your U.S. representative at

    AAMVA Motorcycle Safety Blog
    The Motorcycle Safety Blog is up and running!!   Please take the time to click on the following link:  and read about what your fellow riders are blogging.
    Please feel free to leave your comments or submit your own story.  We are looking for your input to help increase motorcycle safety awareness! 

    If you are interested in leaving a comment or submitting a blog, please send it to  AAMVA is interested in hearing what you have to say! 

    Rising Motorcycle Fatalities
    April 25, 2013
    Matt Danielson
    McGrath & Danielson
    Tom McGrath's Motorcycle Law Group

    Over the past few years, we have read numerous articles which claim that while motor vehicle related fatalities have been decreasing, motorcycle related fatalities have been increasing.  An article published this week on made that same point.

    Instinctively, this does not make sense.  With the motorcycling community placing more of an emphasis on training and education, one would think that we would be seeing a decrease in motorcycle related fatalities.  If you go to the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) you can find the fatality statistics through 2010.  For illustration purposes let’s look at motor vehicle fatalities from 2005 to 2010 since that is the last year in which NHTSA has reported data.  While it is true you will see motor vehicle fatalities are generally dropping, motorcycle fatalities during this period have gone up and come down. 

    Interestingly, NHTSA further breaks down motor vehicle fatalities per 100,000 registered motor vehicles.  However, they do not do that for each type of motor vehicle.  It is only done for motor vehicles as a whole.  Unfortunately, one cannot find a breakdown of registered motorcycles per year on the NHTSA site (to be accurate I should say I couldn’t).  However, if you go to the website for the Federal Highway Administration you can find motorcycle registrations by year and then compare those numbers to the reported fatalities from NHTSA.  Those numbers break down as follows:

    2005 - 6,227,146 registered motorcycles and 4,576 motorcycle related fatalities
    2006 - 6,678,958 registered motorcycles and 4,837 motorcycle related fatalities
    2007 - 7,138,476 registered motorcycles and 5,174 motorcycle related fatalities
    2008 - 7,752,926 registered motorcycles and 5,312 motorcycle related fatalities
    2009 - 7,929,724 registered motorcycles and 4,469 motorcycle related fatalities
    2010 - 8,009,503 registered motorcycles and 4,502 motorcycle related fatalities

     When we look at those numbers, the motorcycles fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles from 2005 to 2010 break down as follows:

    2005 – 73.48
    2006 – 72.43
    2007 – 72.48
    2008 – 68.52
    2009 – 56.36
    2010 – 56.21

     As you can see, when we factor in registrations, we see that since 2005, motorcycle fatalities per 100,000 registered motorcycles are trending down as well.  If that is the case, why don’t we see any reporting on that fact?  It is because simply reporting numbers without context is easy.  It takes work to actually find relevant data to put the numbers into perspective. Those who have no interest in either motorcycles or motorcyclists are not going to do the work it takes to report accurately.  After all, reporting that motorcyclists are killing themselves on the highways makes a much better story than reporting that our community’s emphasis on training and education seems to be having a positive impact on highway safety. 

    New Study: Motorcyclist Deaths Spike in 2012
    Approximately 5,000 Motorcyclist Fatalities Projected

    WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a new report released, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is projecting that motorcyclist deaths increased approximately 9 percent in 2012, to more than 5,000 lives lost. This is greater than the overall traffic fatality increase projected by the federal government and would be the 14th out of the last 15 years in which motorcyclist deaths increased. Notably, this level of deaths closes in on an all-time high, and motorcyclists remain one of the few roadway user groups where no progress can be shown over the last decade.

    The new report – the first state-by-state look at motorcyclist fatalities occurring in 2012 – was authored by Dr. James Hedlund of Highway Safety North. Dr. Hedlund is a former senior official with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Most states have reasonably complete fatality counts for at least the first nine months of 2012, enabling GHSA to confidently project the full year. Dr. Hedlund completed similar projections for GHSA for 2009, 2010 and 2011, all of which mirrored the final fatality numbers. To view the entire report visit the GHSA website at