Thursday, 4:30 PM
Bay State motorcycle accidents up
By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff
Deaths from motorcycle accidents rose dramatically in Massachusetts in 2004, state disease trackers reported today.
The annual report tallying how Bay Staters died found that 70 motorcyclists died in 2004, compared with 40 the previous year. The fatalities substantially eclipsed death figures for other recent years as well, with 55 motorcycle-related deaths in 2001 and 2002.
Bruce Cohen, director of research and epidemiology at the state Department of Public Health, said there had been a "marked increase in ridership" in Massachusetts.
"We can't say this is necessarily a trend, but a dramatic increase needs to be followed," Cohen said.
Men accounted for 67 of the motorcycle deaths.
Overall, life expectancy in the state reach a historic high in 2004, 79.6 years compared with 77.9 years nationally. A decade-long decline in deaths due to heart disease helped fuel the rise in longevity.