By Stacy Smith

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A new report shows that motorcycle riders are much more likely to die in a crash than drivers.

There are also financials costs passed on to all drivers with increased insurance premiums and health care costs.

Over the last two decades, the number of people killed in crashes is down.

However the number of motorcyclist killed on the road has increased.

Hitting the open road on a motorcycle with the wind blowing in your face, is a joy to those who ride.

But it is also a constant threat.

A new study shows that motorcyclists are involved in fatal crashes at higher rates than drivers — and are 30 times more likely to die in a crash.

“That’s possible because you have no protection around you,” one motorcycle owner said. “Yeah, I mean that’s the percentage unfortunately.”

The report published by the Government Accountability Office says that in 2010, the direct costs from deaths and injuries in motorcycle crashes were about $16 billion.

The report shows that helmets are the only strategy proven to reduce fatalities, but only 19 states have a universal helmet law.

In Pennsylvania, riders over the age of 21 are not required to wear a helmet if they have completed a motorcycle training course or have been riding for two full years.

“Motorcycle helmets should be up to the individual,” the motorcyclist said. “I don’t think someone should mandate what you should wear what you shouldn’t wear.”

According to the national highway traffic safety administration, in 2011 200 motorcyclists died in Pennsylvania.

Nearly one half of those killed were not wearing a helmet.

“I assume it will be a little bit safer,” one man said. “I don’t know how much but if something happens its better than hitting your head straight on the ground I guess.”

While the report is trying to help address safety concerns, many riders say the risks are just part of riding.

“If I don’t feel timid when I hike my leg over its time for me to park it in the front yard and put a for sale sign over it,” the motorcyclist said. “That’s the way I look at it and I’ve been doing it for 40 years.”

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