Summer is the Most Dangerous Time to Ride in Iowa
With the winter upon us and the bike set up for a long stay in the garage, it’s time once again to get our riding fix through stories, articles, and other vicarious methods.
To get over the post-bike season blues, I’ve been looking at statistics to see what they can tell me about motorcycling in Iowa, and see what I can do with that information.
Looking over the Iowa state government statistics for motorcycle crashes, one thing is immediately apparent: the summer is dangerous.
Although there’s some significant fluctuation between whether it’s early or late in the warm weather season, it’s clear that almost all crashes take place between April and September, with the bulk in the warmest summer months.
Of course, this is obvious on some levels. The season to get out on the bike is the season most likely to have the most crashes. There have been, as further proof of this, no accidents in December since at least 2009. The same goes for January. Anyone who’s spent a winter in Iowa understands that no matter how passionate you are about riding, nothing is going to get you out on those roads for the coldest months.
So, those initial facts line up very much with what would be expected, but what else can we learn from the statistics? First of all, the number of accidents per month is relatively low. Considering Iowa has one of the highest motorcycle loving populations in the country, it’s amazing that numbers remain in single digits most months. That, combined with the lack of accidents in winter, suggest Iowans are responsible motorcyclists above all else.
What else can we learn? Well, the accidents are rare, but when they happen, they are serious. In most months, the number of crashes and the number of fatalities are about even. That means, on average, for every motorcycle crash, there is one fatality.
The reason for this may be the rarity of helmets. Overwhelmingly, sometimes at 10 to 1 in some months, motorcyclists are refusing to wear helmets, and it is costing them. So, for all their safe riding overall, this refusal is leading to a high number of fatalities whenever a crash does happen.
What all this means is, first, we should pat ourselves on the back for being overall very good representatives of the biking world. We keep our accident count low, which shows we’re responsible riders as a state. However, second, there needs to be more of a push to wear helmets in this state. While we Iowans love our freedom, and I wouldn’t dream of recommending a change in the law, we need to put more responsibility on ourselves to stay safe. Those statistics are pretty clear on that.
Of course, it’s worth pointing out, as The Biker Lawyer’s website does, that there are plenty of reasons for accidents and not all of them are the biker’s fault. Nor are all injuries due to a lack of a helmet. However, the statistics don’t lie. There’s a problem on this issue, and since we have a long winter ahead of us, we have a lot of time to think up a solution.