CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Those wheezy riders from Ohio who take to the road on motorcycles in Hollywood's "Wild Hogs" safely make it all the way cross continent to the promised land of bikinis and beaches. But the U.S. Transportation Department reports motorcycle deaths are increasing rapidly, and plans to launch a scientific and engineering study by summer to zero in on factors causing crashes.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters -- who fractured her collar bone in an Arizona motorcycle wreck in August 2005 -- credits a helmet with saving her from a severe head injury or worse. She still likes to ride, she told the Motorcycle Industry Council last month, but said the government is going to begin action to cut the toll. The Transportation Department has found that motorcycles are 2% of the vehicles on U.S. roads, but account for 10% of all crashes.
"For almost a decade, motorcycle fatalities have been going up steadily. In fact, they have more than doubled since 1997 -- increasing by 115%. IN 2005 alone, more than 4,500 motorcyclists lost their lives in crashes. And additional 78,000 riders were injured," Peters said.
Baby Boomers -- like the buddies who leave Cincinnati for adventure in Wild Hogs -- are partly behind the grim statistics. Peters says the boomers "are going out and buying bikes and wrecking them. The 10-year increase in crashes among the Renaissance Riders like me -- the 50-plus age group -- is astonishing. Four hundred percent!"
The Transportation Department has a short statement about motorcycle deaths available HERE. Few reviewers and critics who wrote about WILD HOGS mentioned that stars Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence, William H. Macy and John Travolta yukked it up while travellings cross country on such hazardous vehicles. The movie's motto is "A lot can happen on the road to nowhere." How true.
Check out this REVIEW. It sounds like a fun flick. Secretary Peters said she clipped her husband's front tire and went down while riding from Tucson to home in Phoenix. "I remember the moment I knew it was going to happen. But God is merciful and the next memory I have is I was off the bike and lying on the pavement with a broken collar-bone. So as you can imagine, motorcycle safety is a subject I take very personally and very seriously."