Fatal motorcycle crashes double in last 15 years

Published: Apr. 24, 2013 at 10:04 PM CDT|Updated: May. 23, 2013 at 12:31 AM CDT
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Rocket Harley Davidson employees hold six motorcycle safety courses a month.
Rocket Harley Davidson employees hold six motorcycle safety courses a month.

MADISON, AL (WAFF) - Following a fatal motorcycle wreck in Morgan County Tuesday night, employees at Rocket Harley Davidson in Madison talked about biker safety.

Fatal motorcycle crashes have increased nationwide in 14 of the last 15 years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports motorcycle fatalities in Alabama went up almost 30 percent from 2009 to 2011.

"I think the greatest contributor to that would just be the increase in the number of motorcycles on the road," Steve Schemenaur, head of the Riders Education Program at Rocket Harley Davidson

Schemenaur said they have been selling more motorcycles in recent years, in part because of higher gas prices. Motorcycles get much better gas mileage than most cars.

He said there are a lot of new bikers who need to learn motorcycle safety.

"At Rocket, we're very passionate about what we do. We're equally passionate about doing it safely," he said.

They hold six motorcycle safety courses a month.

Paul Walker, the rider education instructor, said riders need to learn how to handle treacherous situations.

"Another statistic from DOT is 70 percent of people who are involved in single-vehicle motorcycle crashes, they all happen in turns and curves because people do not have the understanding of how to properly navigate that curve or turn," Walker said.

The Alabama Department of Transportation estimates 70 percent of motorcyclists who wreck were self-taught or taught by family of friends without taking a safety course.

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