Now that warmer weather has arrived, more motorcycles are appearing on Iowa roadways. Just this week, four Iowans have died in traffic crashes involving motorcycles. Scott Falb, with the Iowa Department of Transportation, says there are nearly 44,000 more licensed motorcycles in the state compared to 12 years ago.
Falb says during the 12 year period, motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise. Sixteen people were killed in motorcycle accidents in 1996, while 61 motorcycles deaths were reported last year. The popularity of motorcycles has not quite reach the craze of the 1970s, when motorcycle fatalities hit record highs. Falb says the 450 to 650 cc bikes made in the ’70s were not as dangerous as those made today.
"Today, the vast majority of our bikes are in the 1,000 to 1,500 cc range. To give people an idea of what that means, a 1,500 cc engine is the same size engine that you had in a Honda Civic until recent years," Falb said. The 61 motorcycle fatalities recorded last year was the highest number recorded in Iowa since 1982.
The four motorcycle deaths reported this week occurred in Jasper, Johnson and Harrison Counties. Another motorcycle crash in Bremer Country seriously injured a man from Tripoli.