Motorcycle Accident Rates Soar in Wilson County, North Carolina
Some connect the higher number of incidents with the higher gas prices - motorcycles are smaller and achieve much higher miles per gallon rates. On the other hand, others believe that the increase in accidents is simply a combination of the warmer weather during the spring, summer, and fall months paired with the fact that there are simply more motorcycles on the road with North Carolina's growing population.
"People have been seeking cheaper modes of transportation, especially during the warmer months," he said. "I definitely feel it has to do with economic reasons."
Sgt. T. Futrell with the N.C. Highway Patrol had similar thoughts on the increased motorcycle incidents.
"People are attempting to save money because the motorcycles and the scooters receive better gas mileage," he said. "The increase in the number of accidents can be contributed to several factors. There are more on the road and a lot of riders are inexperienced."
The paramedic supervisor of the Wilson County Emergency Medical Services Alan Parnell, reported to the Wilson Daily Times that there were 24 scooter and motorcycle accidents between April and October, compared with not a single accident during the same time period last year.
The 24 accidents include two fatalities in the past 60 days. On October 9, an 18-year-old Lucama man Desmond Jones, collided with a Chrysler van. Jones was thrown almost 80 feet through the air and died at the scene. His passenger, Bobby Martrez Bradberry, was thrown over 170 feet and remains in serious condition at Pitt Memorial Hospital. The North Carolina Highway Patrol said that Jones was speeding at the time of the accident and that the bike was fitted with a nitrous oxide tank that is meant to give the bike speed bursts.
On September 1, Mary Beth Perry, 35, of Wilson, was killed when she was speeding and lost control of her bike. She hit a utility pole and died.
Futrell emphasized that even those who drive cars can help curb accidents by being more aware of motorcycle riders.