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Motorcycle Deaths At Highest Rate In 30 Years

Indiana Criminal Justice Institute officials say about half the people involved in fatal motorcycle accidents do not have the proper license.

motorcycle riders

Photo: Steve Baker (flickr)

Motorcyclists ride in Indianapolis wearing helmets, which the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute says reduces fatality rates by more than 30 percent.

The number of motorcycle fatalities in Indiana is on the rise.

In 2012, 152 Hoosiers died in motorcycle and moped accidents, up from 118 in 2011. It is also the most in any single year since the 1970s.

Ryan Klitzsch is the Division Director of Traffic Safety at the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. He says there are three things that are the main cause of motorcycle accidents. Alcohol is one. Not wearing a helmet is another.

“And then lastly we know that about half of those involved in these fatalities were not even legal to ride, meaning they weren’t properly endorsed on their license, didn’t have the motorcycle endorsement so that means they never took the test or never took a basic rider course for example,” Klitzch says.

Klitzsch says with the increase in gas prices, more people are buying motorcycles, but they are not taking the time to learn the safety lessons that go along with them. He says his office is working with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to get more motorcyclists the proper training and licensing they need to ride.

Crashes were also up in 2012. There were 2,935 crashes last year, compared to 2,850 crashes in 2011.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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