The large population group dubbed "the Baby Boomers" not only shows up in Iowa highway statistics, it’s also had an impact on the sale and use of motorcycles. DOT Driver Safety Specialist Scott Falb says there are more two-wheelers on the road than ever.
The popularity of motorcycles has been increasing, and he says middle-aged people are replacing the young riders you used to see on motorcycles. For one thing, there are simply more people in that age range, but Falb says also motorcycles cost more than they used to, back in the 1970s when everybody riding them seemed to be in their teens and twenties. Back then a motorcycle was five-thousand dollars — he says today, they’re closer to fifteen, and a Harley will cost you 20-thousand.
As he sorts the year-end highway fatality figures, Falb says motorcycle deaths are going up. With motorcycle fatalities going up, the 56 counted so far for 2006 shows that there are more cycles in the "vehicle mix" on the road today. There’s also a surprising figure that’s somewhat coincidence.
All of the state’s fatal deer-vehicle collisions this past year involved motorcycles. Usually there’s "a bit of a mix," with some cars and some motorcycles involved in crashes with deer on the roadways, and with such small numbers, the statistician says this doesn’t denote a significant trend. But there’s another change in the transportation field that faces those Baby Boomers in years to come.
"Things that are more than golf carts but less than cars are being used in the ‘Meccas of the elderly,’ Arizona, Texas and Florida," he says. Communities set up for the elderly permit and encourage them, as some allow golf carts with special ordinances, and he says they’ll make their way into Iowa.