FOX47 NEWS - Motorcycle Deaths Rising

Jeff Angileri
May 28, 2009, 11:02 PM

Motorcycle deaths are on the rise in Wisconsin. Ten riders died on state roads so far this year, seven more than this time last year.

Experts say this troubling trend could slow -- if motorcyclists and automobile drivers alike -- focused more on safety.

When it comes to getting around town, Madison may have some of the most diverse streets in the country --cars, bicycles, pedestrians -- all sharing the same routes.

Now, some motorcyclists are taking proactive steps to make sure they are visible, and riding as safe as possible.

Dressing for the occasion can literally save lives. Wearing a helmet, boots with ankle protection, sunglasses, gloves, and a reinforced, abrasion-proof jacket can help prevent injury in an accident or crash.

Thursday, motorcyclists shared stories about times they were grateful they were wearing proper gear.

Last summer I was racing motocross on Memorial Day weekend, said Marty Hickey, sales manager at The Engelhart Center. If I didn't have the proper boots on, I probably would've broken both my ankles.

Someone ran a red light and almost t-boned me, said John Woodburn of Madison. I saw them just in time, but I ended up tearing up my left knee and impacting my helmet.

On the beltline I had cars pulling right in front of me from the right lane into my right lane, said Steve Ebert of Madison. That's kind of frightening.

Drivers also have to be more cautious about sharing the roads -- that includes checking blind spots, and leaving enough room between your vehicle and the bike near you.

With gas prices creeping higher, you can expect see more riders on the streets and highways. Motorcycle salespeople say there is a direct correlation between high gas prices and the number of people riding motorcycles.

After all, some of these bikes average 50 miles per gallon.

Madison Area Technical College offers a motorcycle training course: http://matcmadison.edu/motorcycle/ or call MATC at 246-5257

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