May is Motorcycle Safety Month

DES MOINES — There have already been 14 motorcyclists killed in accidents this year and the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau and the Iowa Department of Transportation are trying to raise awareness of the problem.

GTSB spokeswoman Colleen Powell says some people are not following basic safety rules. “We know speed has been a factor even in our passenger cars, that people are just driving way too, fast excessive speeding. We may also be seeing that on motorcycles people being distracted,” she says.

Powell says being distracted in a car or on a motorcycle can lead to bad results as you need to have all your attention focused on driving. She says there’s also another trend in the motorcycle deaths. “74% of our motorcycle fatalities are unhelmeted, and that’s compared to the national average which sits closer to 38%,” She says. “So we’re almost double here in our state.”

Powell says motorcyclists can give themselves more protection with a helmet. “We’re one of three states without a helmet law — right now people’s choice but we always encourage people to be protected, the same way we encourage people to wear seatbelts when they’re in a vehicle,” Powell says.

Motorcycles make up three tenths of one percent of all registered vehicles in the state, and 0.33% of all vehicle miles traveled, but last year motorcycle deaths accounted for 16% percent of total traffic fatalities.