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Researchers and bike groups agree; more rider education needed

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) – A University of Iowa researcher is looking for patterns in who gets charged and convicted in motorcycle/car crashes; as well as intervene by suggesting more biker education.

“We want to get the word out there and hopefully see some tangible changes,” Clinical Assistant Professor Cara Hamann said.

Hamann and her team looked at over 5,000 crashes between 2011 and 2015, about 1,000 per year. They found that just 1/4 of riders in these wrecks were wearing helmets. Additionally, they saw that young males without a helmet were the most  likely to be charged after an accident.

While she’s a strong advocate for getting Iowa off the short list of just three states with zero helmet laws, the “young” part of this data has her hoping to at least install more biker education before they hit the road.

A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education’s (A.B.A.T.E.) Iowa chapter believes helmets should remain a choice, but can agree on the need for more standardized education.

“Too many people learn to ride a motorcycle in somebody’s driveway, or a parking lot, and bad things happen,” A.B.A.T.E. Iowa Cedar Rapids Representative Pete Leehey said. “The right way to learn a motorcycle is through an accredited program, with an instructor that knows what they’re doing.”

Also fighting for bikers as a lawyer for crash victims, Leehey says he all too often hears auto drivers say the same thing after accidents.

“I didn’t see them,” Leehey said.

Hamann and her team said they also found bikers involved in multi-vehicle accidents had better driving records than those who crashed on their own in single-vehicle ones.

Hamann’s study is being reviewed right now and she believes it’ll be officially published soon.


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Travis Breese

Reporter, Iowa City

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