A total of 13 people were killed in motorcycle-related crashes in Oregon last month, the worst single-month death toll since 1986, the Oregon Department of Transportation reported Tuesday, citing preliminary reports.
ODOT says most of the crashes can be attributed to motorcycle driver error such as speeding, improper cornering maneuver or impaired driving.
"Motorcycling is different from driving a car – you need a higher level of skill and awareness than you do in a passenger vehicle," said Pat Hahn, communications and outreach manager with TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program.
"It doesn't matter whether you're a first-time rider or a seasoned expert, motorcycle training will help take your skills to a higher level," Hahn said.
ODOT-approved motorcycle safety courses are provided by the TEAM OREGON Motorcycle Safety Program.
Since 1997, Oregon law has required all riders under 21 to complete a TEAM OREGON Basic Rider Training course as part of the endorsement process.
In 2009, the Oregon Legislature passed a phased-in mandatory training requirement for new riders. Currently, new riders age 21-40 must take either the Basic or Intermediate Rider Training course. Those under 21 must take the Basic Rider Training course.
Additional age groups will be phased in as follows:
Jan. 1, 2013 – All new riders under age 51
Jan. 1, 2014 – All new riders under age 61
Jan. 1, 2015 – All new riders no matter what age.
The hope is that as more people go through training, the number of crashes will decline.
ODOT and TEAM OREGON offer tips for motorcyclists:
--Remember that operating a motorcycle is much more complex than driving a car. It takes an estimated 2,500 tasks to ride a motorcycle and only 800 to drive a car. That's why it's so important to not drink and ride. If you stop at a drinking establishment, have non-alcoholic drink instead of beer or wine.
--Realize that conditions such as heat, cold or fatigue can impair your ability to pay attention and respond to road hazards.
--Riding in groups or carrying a passenger can be very distracting. Stay focused on managing the roadway and traffic.
--Don't overestimate your ability to take corners. Speeding and cornering kills more motorcyclists than any other combination.
--Take a motorcycle training course. Visit http://team-oregon.org/ to see the latest class schedules and locations and to register.
Preliminary motorcycle related fatalities for 2012 year-to-date – 34
Total motorcycle related fatalities for 2011 – 40
Average age of motorcyclist killed in Aug. 2012 in Oregon – 45
Of the 13 people killed in motorcycle crashes in Aug. 2012 in Oregon, 12 were men and one was a woman