With the weather being nicer and everything, people are trying to be outside as much as possible. Gardening, grilling, going to the park, and lately I’ve seen: motorists.
Old timers (I meant the cars) were seen on the road, all shiny and gorgeous. Classic sport cars, classic trucks, and the like; ‘parading’ on the street with the drivers all smiley and proud. That doesn’t bother me. They look safe in the car (as long as the seatbelt’s on).
Bikers cruising with their Harleys. Loud noise from their exhaustion pipes? That doesn’t bother me either. They look safe with their black helmets, black leather jackets, and boots.
What bothers me is this. College kids riding their Honda/Yamaha superbikes with no appropriate clothes for safety. Tough dudes wearing a shirt (I’ve seen guys with no shirt, even!), cargo shorts, and sandals while the dudettes riding with him just wears skimpy tank top and shorts with sandals (thongs or wedges). Normally it’s a flock of them. Four to five bikes riding carelessly even on highways. Instead of riding in line, they’d go side by side so they can chat. It’s very unsafe.
According to Iowa Department of Transportation website, in the past five years, Iowa motorcycle fatalities have nearly doubled, while other vehicle fatalities have declined. Here’s more scary facts:
- Motorcyclists are six times more likely to be injured than other motorists involved in crashes – based on miles driven.
- On average, more than 46 motorcyclists die from crashes each year in Iowa, based on data from the last five years. In 2006, there were 56 motorcycle fatalities in the state and five so far this year, which doesn’t bode well considering motorcycle traffic volume is lower this time of the year.
- 90 percent of motorcycle fatality victims were not wearing a safety helmet.
- Among riders age 45-54, overall crashes have increased 71 percent and injuries increased 182 percent between 2001 and 2005. In 2006, there was a 185.7 percent increase in the number of fatalities compared to 2001.
- Less than 50 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle…in most crashes motorcyclists are simply going too fast and fail to control the motorcycle.
- In fatal crashes where there were two or more vehicles involved, motorcyclists had contributing factors 64.3 percent of the time, while other motorists had contributing factors 39 percent of the time.
- In crashes where the motorist was found responsible (rather than the motorcyclist), the most common cause of the crash was the motorist not seeing the motorcyclist.
Based on those facts from Iowa DOT, I wondered if our local authorities could come up with ‘Click It Or Ticket’ for fining motorists who are not wearing their seatbelts, why can’t they come up with something for the motorcyclist?