Motorcycle accidents and fatalities are up in Mississippi

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 7:43 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Motorcycle fatalities across the nation have been increasing over the last several years, from 40 deaths in 2019 to 62 in 2021. Experts say that number could rise.

What was once a vehicle for adrenaline seekers and weekend cruisers is now more common on the road. Law enforcement and motorcycle experts say these hogs are becoming the “practical” way to get around.

“You can just see driving around every day. I mean, we’ve got kids being dropped off at school on motorcycles now,” Brandon Police Chief William Thompson said.

“There are constantly people coming to class, and one thing is due to the fuel prices, so people want to try to ride something that is less expensive than riding in a big truck,” Donald Young, owner of Southern Mississippi Motorcycle Training, said.

In a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, motorcycle deaths in Mississippi increased by 55% between 2019 and 2020.

Chief William Thompson said that trend could continue if folks don’t stay vigilant.

“A lot of people aren’t as experienced on a motorcycle as others, and some think they’re experienced when they really aren’t. And getting in heavy traffic when rain begins, high-speed interstate driving, inexperienced drivers need to be aware, you know, keep their speed where they need to be. Drive where they’re comfortable; drive within the limits in which they’re comfortable.”

Young said just a few classes could be the difference between life and death when involved in a bike accident.

“It’s improved the reception to hazard awareness, the basic crash avoidance skill and improving your braking and cornering,” Young explained.

Chief Thompson said it’s important for drivers to not push their limits on their bikes.

“Don’t act a fool. Drive within the speed limit; drive within your capabilities, especially if you’re on a motorcycle. I was young once too. You think you’re bulletproof, but I’ve been in wrecks, and I guarantee you’re not,” Chief Thompson said.

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