It's a funny thing about opinions: Sometimes they are wrong.
Because we've had a raft of tragic motorcycle deaths this year in Erie County, I assumed that it's likely they've been going up statewide. I figured that perhaps because of the hike in gas prices, more people have been using hogs to get around, thus causing more accidents. I phoned the highway patrol, figuring the numbers would get me on Page One.
Well, I checked, and I was wrong. Motorcycle deaths actually are down statewide.
From January to July 2007, Ohio had 117 fatal crashes and 122 fatalities. From January to July of this year, there were 114 fatal crashes, with 117 fatalities, said Lt. Tony Bradshaw, an Ohio Highway Patrol spokesman who tracked down the numbers for me.
"Statewide, what we're seeing right now is a reduction," he said. "Certain areas of the state may be up a little bit."
I'll try to remember to check again at the end of the year.
Nationally, though, the safety trend for motorcycles is not good. The New York Times reported on August 14 that the number of motorcycle deaths rose during 2007.
"Deaths of people in cars and trucks, on bicycles or on foot dropped by nearly 2,000 last year, pushing the overall death rate to a historic low. But deaths of motorcyclists surged 6.6 percent, to 5,154; 2007 was the 10th straight year of increase," Times reporter Matthew L. Wald wrote.Mo