Last year, 73 motorcycle riders and passengers died in Wisconsin traffic crashes.
Department of Transportation officials say drivers need to share the roads, and motorcyclists are urged to brush up on their skills, get properly trained, take an advanced rider course, and get licensed.
“Motorcycles are back on the road. Please look twice for motorcycles,” said Greg Patzer, manager of the Wisconsin Motorcycle Safety Program with the DOT. “In Wisconsin where we don’t ride all year round, the physical skills and such are somewhat perishable over the winter months.”
Motorcyclists are legally required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their driver license. Patzer’s department has done an in-depth analysis of motorcycle fatalities. “In any given year approximately 35 percent of our fatalities in Wisconsin are unlicensed or not properly licensed.” In 2013, that number was as high as 42 percent.
Also Patzer noted, approximately two out of three motorcyclists who died in crashes from 2009 to 2013 were not wearing helmets. More than a half million Wisconsin residents have a motorcycle license or permit.
Many other states are experiencing similar problems with improperly or unlicensed motorcycle riders, said Patzer.
May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.