Motorcycle Deaths High Among Super-Sport Riders

Posted September 18, 2007 5:56 p.m. EDT
Updated September 19, 2007 1:41 p.m. EDT

— With trade names such as Ninja and Monster, the highly powered super-sport motorcycles are hot sellers these days.

Quick and nimble, the bikes are built on a racing frame but are modified for street use. Their lightweight, powerful engines put them in a dangerous category.

Super-sport motorcycles make up less than 10 percent of registered motorcycles but account for more than 25 percent of rider deaths – four times higher than all other types of motorcycles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

"It's really scary to think that there would be a vehicle out there traveling that fast, the way the traffic is in this area," said North Carolina Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin.

On May 30, a person was injured on Capital Boulevard near Spring Forest Road when, according to police, three super-sport bikes were racing and one of the motorcycle riders struck a sport utility vehicle.

Clendenin remembered a recent Interstate 40, anti-speeding sweep in which a super sport motorcyclist was clocked at more than 100 mph.

"Let me tell you, I've been to those scenes when those types of motorcycles are involved in crashes, and usually, the operator of that motorcycle is severely injured – and often times killed when they're traveling at these high speeds," he said.

Matison Motorsports in North Raleigh is one of the biggest motorcycle dealerships in the Triangle. It sells about 100 of the sport bikes each month, and employees there said it all comes down to driver responsibility.

"We have state-of-the art motorcycles that make a ton of horse power," said Bo Denbo with Matison Motorsports. "What we ask our customers here is: When they purchase the bike, definitely read your owner's manual and drive within the posted speeds and the guidelines that are set forth out there. And everybody's a winner."