The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration loves statistics. In fact, some might even say they fetishize them. Statistics are great, because as long as you're willing to manipulate them, they'll pretty much always work in your favor. For the average rider, often times it can have a negative impact, such as when statistical data was used to create a helmet law in California.
Other times though, statistics just might work in our favor. As is the case with a 5 million dollar grant given to the CHP to improve upon the preliminary findings that between 2010 and 2011, motorcycle fatalities increased by 20 percent, injuries by 10 percent and overall collisions also by 10 percent. We have a problem here, so what's the solution? Throw resources at it.
Most news agencies are reporting this as a new grant, but actually this is the third time that the grant has been awarded, hence the 'III' tagged to the end of it. You can read the actual study here and the report from the CHP here. I must say, that I'm a bit confused as to why the CHP is citing a 2011 study, no less a preliminary study, when data for 2012 is already available.
Oh that's right, because in the 2012 study, motorcycle fatalities actually fell by 3% in the 9 months cited between 2011 and 2012. But I suppose it's easier to justify receiving a grant when there is a problem that needs solving, rather than a solution that needs perpetuating.
Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that the CHP and NHTSA are spending money on motorcycle awareness, though I think their tactics in doing so are often deceiving. In this particular case it is working in our favor, but in the past it has worked against us.
In a national context, California does pretty good. Motorcycle accidents increased significantly from 2011 to 2012 country-wide, but fell in California. Programs like this, that put money back into awareness, are likely a good reason why California is able to lead the charge for safety, and although I don't approve of the tactics being employed to garner money, I do approve of their helping riders. What do you think, do the means justify the ends?