Rash of Motorcycle Crashes Misleading

In the last month alone, we have reported 11 serious crashes involving motorcycles in our viewing area. Four riders have been killed. In the last day, we were there for the aftermath of two of them.

In Milford, Nebraska the Seward County Sheriff says a motorcycle collided with a pickup along I-80. Fifty-six-year-old Mark Porter of Seward was critically injured.

On Wednesday morning, a three-wheel motorcycle crashed into a home at 106th and M Street. The motorcyclist went through three fences, clipped a swing set and rammed the home next door.

As of Wednesday evening, Omaha Police say Gary Lloyd, 66, of Omaha, had a brain bleed and was admitted to an Intensive Care Unit at Alegent Creighton Medical Center. Investigators believe he suffered an unknown medical condition just before the crash.

The number of cases alarms many, especially safety officials.

While we’ve seen several crashes lately, historically, things are better than they used to be.

On May 30th, Omaha firefighter Scott Petersen was killed. Investigators determined a pickup crossed the center line and hit him.

Five days earlier Preston Turner was killed when an 83-year-old driver turned into his path during a heavy rain.

Sierra Stark of Council Bluffs said, “It's a good reminder to definitely watch out for motorcyclists."

Stark came across a fatal crash on Valley View Drive in Council Bluffs Friday morning. Police said a car turned into the path of Mickie Carroll, killing him.

Carroll’s family is full of motorcycle riders. They understand the risk but don't understand why car drivers don't pay better attention.

Marlon Carroll, the victim’s brother, said, "I was coming up to see him this weekend. That's gone, so now he won't come back."

Now for the perspective. Statistically, over the past five years, Nebraska has averaged 18 motorcycle fatalities and 560 crashes per year. Compare that to the 1970s, before motorcycle safety courses came into play. Nebraska averaged 30 to 40 motorcycle fatalities a year and approximately 1,200 crashes. In the 70's, Nebraska had 40,000 riders. There are now 95,000 in the state.

Dave Halen is chief instructor for motorcycle safety in the state of Nebraska. He knows motorcycles are tiny, don't stand out in the crowd and it’s hard to judge their distance.

He said, “It sometimes makes me doubt what I do for a living in the training business. Although long-term, I think we've had a positive effect. But it's always disconcerting when the season of riding begins and these types of accidents happen."

Here's something else interesting from the Nebraska Department of Highway Safety. Young people aren't getting motorcycles. Out of the 90,000+ riders in the state, approximately 1,200 are 20-years-old or younger.

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