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Motorcycles will always be more dangerous than passenger cars. The statistics make this all too clear, year in and year out. For instance, if you look at the fatalities per miles driven, deaths are about 28 times as common on bikes as they are in cars. Quite simply, cars offer types of protection that motorcycles cannot offer.

That said, some recent trends do show that things are growing a little safer. For instance, in 2017, motorcycle fatalities dropped by about 300 people when compared to 2016. We still lost nearly 5,000 riders over the course of the year, but that decline still shows that hundreds of people survived who wouldn’t have the previous year. That’s progress.

Will the trend last? That’s what researchers did not want to commit to. They said that they felt a bit optimistic, but they had seen these types of rises and falls in the past. What would the numbers look like in five years or 10 years? If they could see a trend continuing long-term, that’s when they’d feel happy with the progress.

On top of that, they didn’t know if the roads were safer or if people just rode less often. They noted that some serious weather in southern states may have kept motorcyclists indoors more in 2017 — or at least in cars. That could account for the drop in fatalities, which doesn’t actually mean that riding was any safer than it was before.

Have you suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident or lost a loved one in a deadly crash? Make sure you know what legal options you have.