CLEVELAND — Now that August is here, it’s officially the most dangerous time of year for motorcycle crashes in Ohio. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than people in a passenger vehicle to be killed in a crash and four times more likely to be hurt.
If you’re wondering if the pandemic has helped slow crash numbers down; the answer is no. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says crash numbers have been consistently rising since 2019. We’re told up until last week, there have been more than 9,000 crashes with 400 more crashes in 2020 compared to 2019.
“2020 was a very deadly year in regards to motorcycle crashes,” said Sgt. Nathan Dennis, a Public Information Officer for the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The majority of those crashes, more than 800 to be exact, were in Cuyahoga County—making it the highest in the state.
“One of the biggest contributing factors in regards to motorcycle crashes is unsafe speed. So it's operating on roadways going faster than they should,” Sgt. Dennis explained.
We took a look at some statistics showing riders are at the highest risk during the day between three and seven p.m. The weekends, especially Saturdays, are also high risk.
Recent crashes in Northeast Ohio
So far this year, 84 people have now died from a motorcycle crash. Our News 5 cameras were at the scenes of three different motorcycle crashes in northeast Ohio last week alone.
At least one person died when a motorcycle and jeep collided on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland. Then, four people were seriously hurt when two motorcycles crashed on Portage Lakes Drive in Summit County. Another motorcyclist died in Hinckley Township after the driver of another car failed to yield to oncoming traffic.
“Motorcycle crashes do happen as a result of somebody pulling out from a motorcycle as well,” Sgt. Dennis said. “You need to make sure that when you stop at a stop sign, you're looking both ways, that you're paying close attention to make sure that there is not a motorcycle that may be coming down road, but that's not as large and maybe a little bit harder to see.”
State troopers urge more motorcycle training
If you’re new to riding a motorcycle, Sgt. Dennis you must make sure you're truly comfortable with your bike before you hit the road. He says, “you have to make sure that you know how the vehicle functions and how it's going to respond to be able to ride it safely.”
Ohio law does not require motorcyclists to wear helmets. However, it is recommended along with other safety gear like gloves and eye protection.
Taking on some extra training courses is also key.
“Last year, 52% of those riders did not have a motorcycle endorsement,” said Sgt. Dennis. “That is something for someone who is attempting to get their motorcycle endorsement or also a more advanced rider can go through courses there to educate them more and familiarize themselves more on the safety of riding.”
Sgt. Dennis says having good judgment and keeping a safe distance between other cars can help motorcyclists stay safe on the road. However, other drivers play a major role as well.
“Motorcycle crashes do happen as a result of somebody pulling out from a motorcycle as well,” he said. “You need to make sure that when you stop at a stop sign, you're looking both ways, that you're paying close attention to make sure that there is not a motorcycle that may be coming down road…it takes all of us working together to ensure that motorcyclists stay safe as well as motor vehicles stay safe as well.”