This is shaping up to be one of the deadliest years on record for motorcyclists in the Husker State. Rose White, spokeswoman for AAA-Nebraska, says the number of motorcycling deaths in the past six months is well ahead of last year.
“Fatalities are up 71% this year compared to a year ago,” White says. “With 12 motorcycle deaths reported so far this year, the first half of 2012 has proven to be one of the deadliest years on record for bikers in Nebraska.”
She says one of the primary reasons for the increase in deaths was this year’s mild winter season.
“For the first time in Nebraska history, a motorcycle fatality occurred during the month of January,” White says. “Last year, 23 fatalities were reported for the entire year, the worst year since 1987 when 31 fatalities were reported. At this same time a year ago, there were only seven motorcycle fatalities.” That’s five fewer deaths than this year so far.
The number of licensed motorcycle riders in Nebraska has climbed to a record high of nearly 90,000 and other drivers need to be watchful.
“AAA is reminding motorists to be on the lookout for motorcyclists in the traffic mix,” White says. “Before attempting to make a left turn, always look for motorcycles approaching from the opposite direction. If you’re changing lanes, always use your turn signals, check mirrors specifically looking for motorcyclists, and turn your head to check your blind spot.”
She offers other tips, including: never tailgate a motorcyclist or change lanes abruptly in front of one. Motorcyclists often travel in pairs or groups. If you see one, another bike may be close by.
New motorcycle operators are encouraged to take a motorcycle rider training course and AAA advises experienced riders to refresh their defensive driving skills by taking an advanced course.
Learn more at: www.roads.nebraska.gov/nohs.