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Motorcycle Safety Evolution

For many, there’s nothing like riding a motorcycle along Connecticut’s scenic byways – and thanks to advancements in motorcycle safety over the years, it’s statistically safer to ride now more than ever. Still, the nature of the motorcycle can lead to significant injuries in a crash.

Motorcycle Safety Evolution

Connecticut’s roads are popular among bikers, and fortunately, 2011 saw the lowest number of biker fatalities in more than 10 years, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Connecticut Department of Transportation. This trend may be partially attributed to the motorcycle safety evolution that has been occurring since the early inception of the motorbike in the mid-19 th century.

Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers proudly represents Connecticut’s bikers who have been harmed in a collision. We understand how difficult it can be to cope with injuries caused by another driver’s carelessness or recklessness, and believe that victims like you deserve justice.

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A Timeline of Motorcycle Safety Evolution

From clunky steam-powered velocipedes to today’s lean machines, the motorcycle has undergone many
changes – and so has the way we study, implement and think about motorcycle safety. With a relatively short history in society, the modern “motorbike” includes safety features that have evolved over time.

Learn about important milestones in the evolution of motorcycle safety in this timeline:

  • 1885: the first usable motorcycle is invented
  • 1903: the Harley-Davidson Motor Company is founded
  • 1928: first front-wheel brakes offered by Harley-Davidson
  • 1939: introduction of flashing turn indicators
  • 1940: first sealed-beam headlamps
  • 1945: 198,000 motorcycles registered in America
  • 1949: hydraulic front suspension used by Harley-Davidson
  • 1949: first Honda motorcycle model built
  • 1952: introduction of hydraulic brakes
  • 1953: first protective helmet patented by University of Southern California (USC) professor
  • 1955: 450,000 motorcycles registered in America
  • 1957: establishment of Snell Memorial Foundation and first helmet performance standards
  • 1958: rear suspension introduced by Harley-Davidson
  • 1958: 500,000 motorcycles registered in America
  • 1959: Yamaha becomes first Japanese model made available in U.S.
  • 1962: 646,000 motorcycles registered in America
  • 1965: 1.4 million motorcycles registered in America
  • 1966: the establishment of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS)
  • 1967: first full-facial coverage helmet introduced by Bell Helmets
  • 1970: 2.8 million motorcycles registered in America
  • 1972: motorcycle controls standardized by FMVSS
  • 1973: creation of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)
  • 1973: first crash tests using motorcycle airbag system conducted
  • 1975: 5 million motorcycles registered in America
  • 1976: first study of motorcycle crashes begun by Harry Hurt at USC with funding from NHTSA
  • 1976: first air bag jacket patented in Hungary
  • 1977: rear-wheel steering project funded by NHTSA
  • 1980: U.S. motorcycle fatalities reach a new peak
  • 1980: establishment of International Motorcycle Safety Conference
  • 1981: release of motorcycle Accident Cause Factors and Identification of Countermeasures, A.K.A. the Hurt Report
  • 1984: 5.4 million motorcycles registered in America
  • 1988: BMW introduces anti-lock brakes (ABS)
  • 1990: MSF sponsors Second International Motorcycle Safety Conference
  • 1997: National Agenda for Motorcycle Safety developed with sponsorship from NHTSA & MSF
  • 2013: 47 states and the District of Columbia have established helmet laws


Not only has motorcycle safety evolved, the gear a biker rides with has also been improved. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, boots, eye protection and helmets themselves have evolved. From air bag jackets to reflective vests and Kevlar clothing, a biker can protect his or her body from head to toe these days, reducing the risk of fatalities with proper PPE.

Have you been injured in an accident or fall? Do You have question and want to know your legal options. Call 203-437-6190 for a free consultation and remember there is NO FEE unless WE Win.

Contact Our Connecticut Motorcycle Accident Injury Law Firm

Riding a motorcycle carries plenty of rewards; however, there are also many risks. Despite taking every safety measure, even the best biker can’t always avoid an accident; especially when negligent motorists fail to show the same concern for safety.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Connecticut motorcycle collision, the victim could be entitled to compensation for the damages they have suffered. At Jonathan Perkins Injury Lawyers, we fight hard to defend biker’s rights. We use thorough research, reputed experts and our formidable reputation to passionately pursue justice for you. We are proud to serve our neighbors throughout Connecticut.

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