Motorcycle accidents on the rise - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Motorcycle accidents on the rise

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Jim Harlow, left, with girlfriend Maggie Jim Harlow, left, with girlfriend Maggie

Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A record number of motorcycle riders are dying on Indiana highways. Numbers are up due to a combination of alcohol use, a lack of rider experience, and the absence of helmets.

James Harlow is recovering from a compound fracture. Most of the skin and muscle on his knee was shaved off in a recent accident.

"Next thing I know we are lying in the middle of the street. The bike is sitting over there still running," he said. "The bike went off to the right and we were fling off to the left."

Harlow and his girlfriend Maggie were involved in a motorcycle accident in early June. Neither were wearing a helmet. A car, according to them, ran a red light.

"The next thing I seen was headlights and grill, ya know, I had no time to react," said Harlow.

In the past ten years motorcycle ownership has almost doubled in Indiana. More motorcycles are on the road, and they're involved in more accidents. In 2007, more than  500 motorcycle riders were involved in accidents and a record number died.

According to records kept by the state, the most likely person to die in a motorcycle accident on Indiana road is a 40 to 50-year-old man riding alone on a weekend. The deadliest time is late afternoon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The numbers go up when you take away helmets and experience. Some 50 percent of those killed were not wearing a helmet and more than 60 percent were new riders.

"Experience and knowledge is your best bet," said Harlow.

Harlow has been beating the odds for thirty years, and like all riders he's "had a couple close calls and had time to react but nothing were I couldn't get out of it."

He got out of this one "and yes, I will probably get back on a bike again. Once it is in your blood..."

As for Maggie, she hasn't decided if she wants to ride again.

Expect to see a lot of motorcycles on the road when the Moto GP comes to town in two weeks.

Indiana traffic safety data

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