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Reminders from the Michigan State Police to Help Prevent Motorcycle Deaths

Many people hit the road on a motorcycle in the summer, but it can be deadly.

The skilled motorcycle association says in 1992, Michigan had 31 rider deaths. Last year, there was an all-time high of 166 motorcyclist deaths.

Peyton Cutting’s parents were in a bad motorcycle accident last summer.

“Somebody had rear-ended them going about 60 miles an hour, and they were going under ten,” said Peyton Cutting, General Associate, Zips Harley-Davidson in Traverse City. “The helmets are why my mom is still alive today.”

Michigan State Police say since the motorcycle helmet law was repealed in 2012, they have seen a steady increase in motorcyclist deaths, but that’s not the only factor.

“Almost half of all motorcycle fatalities are people who don’t even have a license to ride a motorcycle, and therefore, they haven’t taken the proper safety classes to know what to do to evasive maneuvers,” said SPL/LT. Derrick Carroll for Michigan State Police.

Alcohol is another factor in many deadly crashes.

Drivers also have a responsibility when it comes to looking out for motorcycles.

“Obviously plenty of distance between yourself and the motorcyclist. Once they start breaking, they will stop rather quickly, whereas a larger vehicle takes more time to stop,” explained SPL/LT. Carroll. “That’s when we see crashes, especially in construction sites or stoplights or another vehicle comes up, and rear ends a motorcyclist.”

Cutting says reflective motorcycle jackets are also an important safety item that would have helped her parents.

“If they were wearing jackets that day, my mom wouldn’t have had any road rash,” said Cutting. “When you look at the jacket, it looks like a white line through it, and it’s a very subtle, gray color. But once it reflects on a light like, say, headlights on a car or something, it would reflect, and then you would see it.”

These are all things to remember when you drive on two wheels.