Motorcycle Awareness Month already deadly in metro Detroit

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Posted at 5:16 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 06:55:57-04

While some of us enjoy getting around metro Detroit on four wheels, the weather is warming up and the more adventurous prefer two.

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and sales are expected to increase in the years to come.

Related: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month: Tips for drivers & motorcyclists to stay safe

According to research, motorcycle sales are expected to increase 5.4% per year by the year 2024. The reason? The pandemic is reducing public transportation and ride-share services, forcing riders to think outside the box and opt for another mode of transportation.

Also adding to the sales is the development of electric motorcycles.

While they are exciting, it can be dangerous. Michigan State Police say 122 people died riding a motorcycle in 2019 and more than 2,000 people were injured in crashes.

MSP said the No. 1 reason for motorcycle crashes is drivers not being able to see motorcycles. It's up to both drivers and motorcyclists to make sure they can see each other.

In 2005, Tim Noffsinger was hit while on his motorcycle at Outer Dr. near I-75 in Lincoln Park. He was turning out of a gas station when he was hit.

“He just barreled through no slowing down, nothing, and I got t-boned," he said. “I think the only reason I am still here is at that point and time I had been riding for 30 plus years.”

Noffsinger said the driver of the car took off but was found two months later. After the crash, his left leg became infected and eventually had to be amputated.

This month has already been deadly for motorcyclists in metro Detroit.

On Saturday, a motorcyclist collided with an SUV in Detroit and the man later died in the hospital.

Also Saturday in Roseville, two people on a motorcycle hit a car turning onto Gratiot near Little Mack. The 34-year-old man driving the motorcycle died.

“About 84 percent of them occur on those side and surface streets and a lot of that is people overlook them," Michigan State Police First Lt. Mike Shaw said.

Shaw said drivers need to gear up to make sure they are seen.

“It is your job as you are out there to make sure people can see you, you know ride with that headlight on keep that reflective gear," he said.

Skip wearing black and instead opt for brighter colors. Wear long-sleeves and a helmet to avoid serious injury.

As for drivers, take your time and look both ways.

“There are campaigns going on look twice save a life where we want people to not only take a look the first time, but look again, I mean that is a good habit to be in all the time just to see where these motorcycles are," Shaw said.

Motorcyclists should also try to make eye contact with drivers so you know they see you, especially with all the distractions on our roads.

Shaw said there is science behind motorcycle season. Since we are colder for longer, it limits the time drivers are used to seeing motorcycles on the road, so keep your eyes peeled.