Gasoline prices have a strong influence on the economy, how much we drive, and many other factors. Now we have solid evidence that higher gasoline prices have another drawback: they lead to more motorcyclist deaths.

According to data from the NHTSA and the GHSA, motorcycle deaths hit a peak in 2008, also a year that the national average hit its highest ever point- $4.122/gallon, according to GasBuddy gas price data. In years when gasoline prices remained at elevated levels, the number of motorcyclists who lost their lives also were at elevated levels.

While awareness programs have likely assisted in keeping vehicle drivers in the know about how to avoid motorcycle accidents, educational programs haven't had the positive impact to balance the negative impact of gasoline prices.

While the data paints a bleak picture, the conclusion here makes sense: there are more motorcyclists on the road as the economic incentive rises with higher savings vs. driving a vehicle. Motorcycles achieve better fuel economy than vehicles, and when pump prices hit record highs, more motorcyclists took advantage of their more efficient motorcycles. As the pump prices then fell, less motorcyclists used their more efficient two-wheel motorbikes.

This simply proves that high gasoline prices could be directly causing more motorcycle deaths as bike riders increasingly take to the road as gasoline prices climb. Be safe out there!