Motorcyclists are being reminded to watch out for deer as they begin to hit the road the Spring. Scott Falb is a spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Transportation. He says of the 61 motorcycle fatalities in Iowa in 2007, a record number involved collisions with deer.
Ten of the motorcycle fatalities last year were related to deer. In 2006, nine of the 57 motorcycle fatalities occurred when a bike collided with an animal. Prior to those two years, the all time high for such fatalities was four in 2001. May is recognized as Motorcycle Safety Month. Falb says the 61 motorcycle fatalities last year was the highest total in Iowa since 1982. He says many of the people that are injured or killed in motorcycle crashes are older riders that may be getting back on a motorcycle for the first time in decades.
"There are people who had bikes when they were very young…laid off of motorcycling while they were raising a family. And now that the kids have gone off on their own, they’re rediscovering motorcycling again and they’re coming off a 15 or 20 year hiatus in riding," Falb said. Those older riders are often getting on motorcycles that are much more powerful than the bikes that were made in the 1970s or 80s.
"There are a number of experienced rider courses to help reaccustom them to riding motorcycles again. And particularly to riding the size of motorcycle that they’re now riding, since they have increased in size from when they were young," Falb said. The number of motorcycles registered in Iowa has been rising every year since 1998. Last year, there were more than 153,200 motorcycles registered in the state.