Gasoline prices and their relationship to rising motorcycle fatalities, 1990-2007

Am J Public Health. 2009 Oct;99(10):1753-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.159590. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among young adults. Although automobile fatalities have declined in recent years, motorcycle fatalities are rapidly increasing. The purpose of our research was to quantify the relationship between changing fuel prices and motorcycle fatalities. Our findings suggest that people increasingly rely on motorcycles to reduce their fuel costs in response to rising gasoline prices. We estimate that use of motorcycles and scooters instead of 4-wheeled vehicles results in over 1500 additional motorcycle fatalities annually for each dollar increase in gas prices. Motorcycle safety should receive more attention as a leading public health issue.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data
  • Databases, Factual
  • Gasoline / economics*
  • Humans
  • Inflation, Economic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Motorcycles / economics
  • Motorcycles / statistics & numerical data*
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • United States


  • Gasoline