Report: Ariz. roadways safer overall, except for motorcyclists

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Arizona roadways are getting safer, and heading into the summer months when many of us travel, that is good news.

The Arizona Department of Transportation says 823 people died in crashes on state and local roadways in 2012, which is down from 827 fatalities in 2011. But not all the statistics in the new report are good.

The number of motorcycle riders or passengers killed in 2012 is up five percent from 2011, with 139 killed last year compared to 132 in 2011, according to ADOT.

Motorcycle safety will get even more attention this year, ADOT says, but officials remind everyone on the roadways, it is a two way street and drivers need to be aware of motorcyclists and vice versa.

At Ride Now Tucson, managers say they have seen a big increase locally in people riding motorcycles over the past few years, some hoping to save money on gas.

Nineteen states have laws requiring motorcyclists of all ages to wear helmets, but Arizona is not one of them.

Safety courses encourage riders to wear them, even though historically there has been a "non-coolness" factor associated with helmets.

"There has been that stigma in the past but with helmet designs changes so much," Ryan Summers of Ride Now Tucson said. "They've created cooler helmet designs and styles that have helped with that. Also, helmets are literally cooler. The ventilation with them is better, the safety and comfort of helmets has changed significantly in the past few years."

Ride Now Tucson hosts motorcycle safety courses taught by T.E.A.M. Arizona. For information, visit

For information on motorcycle helmet laws by state, click here.

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