Local News

Motorcycle Deaths Triple in Decade

Posted April 21, 2008 12:29 p.m. EDT

— The number of motorcyclists killed in wrecks statewide has tripled in the last 10 years, officials said Monday.

The state recorded 183 motorcycle rider deaths in 2007, up from 61 a decade earlier. Nationwide, deaths of motorcyclists jumped 140 percent during the same period.

Mild weather, which allows for extended riding seasons, and a 17 percent increase in motorcycle registrations over the past two years have contributed to the higher number of North Carolina deaths, officials said.

A Millbrook High School graduate died Thursday in a motorcycle wreck in the North Carolina mountains. Authorities said Cameron Wagner, 20, a student at Western Carolina University, lost control of his bike. Inexperience with the bike was the biggest factor in the crash, authorities said.

Gov. Mike Easley declared this week as Motorcycle Safety Week in North Carolina.

The Governor's Highway Safety Program urged motorcyclists to wear helmets meeting federal safety standards and to wear bright or reflective clothes to be more visible to other drivers. Other drivers should stay alert for motorcyclists and keep a safe distance from them, officials said.