(WICHITA, Kan.) — More people died on Wichita roads in 2010 than the year before. That's a troubling statistic for the Wichita Police Department. Deadly car crashes are up, but the biggest increase was with motorcycles.
Eleven people died in motorcycle crashes last year, that's an 83% jump over the year before. "I don't like to hear about that at all. I'm in the business of motorcycle safety and it upsets me that's happening," said Joe Gattenby. Gattenby has ridden bikes his whole life and runs the Motorcycle Rider Education school in west Wichita. "It's the most fun I've ever had in my life riding them, but people have to consider do I really know how to do this," he said.
He says inexperience is often what leads to these kinds of crashes. "We teach them to take curves properly." He says although the law doesn't require it, riders should take safety lessons. "So they can learn how to swerve and get out of the way of stuff that falls out of trucks or cars," he said.
It wasn't just motorcycles that experienced more deadly accidents, 18 people also died in car crashes. That's a 38% increase. Police say the top five reasons for traffic accidents are failing to yield, inattentive driving, following too close, running a red light and driving under the influence.
Gettenby says if all drivers slow down and pay constant attention to the road, hopefully this trend can be reversed in 2011.