November 26, 2014

Troubling trend: motorcycle deaths up in Nebraska (AUDIO)

A motorcyclist died in Lincoln this week, the fourth in the city this year, the 14th statewide, a tragic trend.

The numbers, as related by Fred Zwonechek with the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, are somber.

“So far this year we have a total statewide 14 motorcycle fatalities. That compares to nine at this time last year. Last year, we had 13 total for the year. So we’re already ahead of where we were last year,” Zwonechek tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

A combination of factors contribute to the increase, according to Zwonechek, but the real problem boils down to two main factors: more motorcyclists on the road and less attentiveness by drivers.

“As drivers, regardless of the vehicle we’re operating, we need to drive defensively and also look out for those other motorists out there,” according to Zwonechek.

Nebraska has a record number of motorcycles registered, topping 94,000 in 2013. That number is up by more than 10,000 since 2009.

A fatal motorcycle-car accident remains under investigation in Lincoln.

Lincoln police report the motorcycle rider, 24-year-old Jaclyn “Jaci” Kehling of Lincoln, died in the wreck Monday at an intersection in the city.

According to police, Kehling hit a car turning in the intersection, striking the rear passenger side of the vehicle.

Kehling was taken to Bryan West Campus hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

No one else was injured in the accident.

Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this story.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:40]