Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers respond to vehicle accidents across the state daily, but lately they've noticed an increase in motorcycle crashes and fatalities.
State Highway Safety Office officials said 1,377 people were injured in motorcycle crashes in 2010. That same year, 75 people were killed in motorcycle wrecks.
In 2011, the number of fatalities increased to 94, according to accident data.
“Last year, there were over 5,000 motorcycle fatalities throughout the nation. Up from 4,500 from the previous year. That's just too many,” said Col. Kerry Pettingill, chief of the patrol. “One of the things we could do is push motorcycle safety as much as we could. Not just to the motorcyclists, but to the other motoring public.”
To reduce fatal accidents, troopers with the patrol's motorcycle division are working with the state Public Safety Department to offer a free motorcycle safety program at locations across the state.
Pettingill said the program will help motorcyclists as well as vehicle drivers to be aware of each other when changing lanes and entering intersections.
“We want all motorcyclists to come to our programs,” he said. “We want people that want us to provide a program for them, for their businesses, for their organizations. That's what we're going to be here for.”
First session is Saturday
The first event of the program is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at First Southern Baptist Church, 6400 S Sooner Road.