Motorcycle Accidents Rise With Age Of Drivers

Thursday, September 28th 2006, 10:19 am
By: News On 6

A recent government study shows fatal motorcycle crashes are on the rise. News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says you might be surprised at the age group involved.

Tulsa Police officer Craig Murray: "People getting a little older and wanting to relive their youth, and stuff and buying motorcycles and the motorcycle industry is really skyrocketing with the number of sales."

Unfortunately, what are also on the rise are deadly crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the population owning bikes has changed over the past decade. More riders age 40 and over are getting killed.

Danny Elliot knows the risks of the road, he crashed and survived. “And this older lady was a little more interested in her banana she was eating than traffic, pulled out. I locked it up and hit her, doing about 30 miles an hour, flipped over the bike to the other side."

Elliot was wearing a helmet and wasn't speeding. Other than a few bumps, bruises and torn clothes, he made it out okay. Elliot's been riding most of his life, but Tulsa Police say the problem often lies with people who've been driving a car for decades and think they can just hop right on a bike.

Tulsa Police officer Craig Murray: "A lot of older Americans are riding em, a lot of older Americans are dying on them." Police say last year; nearly half of Tulsa's motorcycle fatalities were over the age of 40. But no matter how old the person behind the handlebars, police say the biggest killer is speed. "The velocity of going off of one of those things and you hit a solid structure and if you hit it just right, that helmet cracks open and what's left inside is going to crack with it."

The study shows the highest number of fatalities is still the under 20 age group, but police say seeing an increase in fatalities among older riders is a wake up call for everyone. Danny Elliot: "It makes you think and makes you realize, you know, everybody thinks they're bulletproof, but you're not. I was just lucky."

Oklahoma riders are required to have an "M" endorsement on their driver's licenses. Contact your local bike shop for information on a safety class.