Health & Science
11:35 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Harley Riders, Beware: Crashes Are Rising

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich speaks with journalist Eric Oliver.

Tens of thousands of motorcycle riders are already in Milwaukee for Harley-Davidson’s 110th anniversary celebration, and tens of thousands more will be rolling into town by the weekend.

Eric Oliver says that motorcyclists need to be noticed by everyone.
Credit steeleman204, flickr

But riders of all brands of bikes are noting with some alarm that accidents involving motorcycles are on the rise in Wisconsin, and now some are calling for an event next summer to raise awareness.

Eric Oliver covered the story for the online Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, and it was especially interesting to him because he is a rider himself.

Oliver found that the number of crashes is rising; in 2011, there were 2,574 crashes and in 2012, there were 2,837. Oliver says in 2013, the number is already higher.

Riders are encouraged to wear helmets, but many are seen without them. In 2011, 93% of the deaths were because riders did not have helmets, but in 2012, the percentage dropped to 77%. Oliver says, however, that just because the rider wears a helmet does not make him invincible.

Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program, which is operated by the state, was established to raise awareness to all drivers that riders are on the road. Oliver talked with the director and found that older riders are the ones who are getting into more accidents than the newer ones.

Older riders grow comfortable with their original bike, but then they switch to a newer, more powerful bike, the older riders tend not to feel as comfortable with them and can lose control. Oliver says that this problem could be lessened if the older riders took more training.

Oliver shares a helpful acronym for everybody on the road: SEE.

  • Search your surroundings to see who is around you
  • Evaluate your options and which option would be the best for everybody
  • Execute the best option carefully.

Eric Oliver is a reporter for the online Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.  He wrote a news story about this topic, which can be found here.