Motorcycle fatalities outpacing last 2 years


POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Motorcycle deaths on Oahu so far this year exceed those over the same periods in the past two years, according to Honolulu police.

The 11 motorcycle-related deaths for the year as of yesterday accounted for more than a third of the 31 traffic-related deaths on Oahu so far this year.

Four motorcycle deaths occurred over the same time last year, while six occurred over the same time in 2007.

Statewide, there have been 21 motorcycle fatalities as of yesterday. Besides the 11 on Oahu, six have occurred on the Big Island and four on Maui.

Honolulu police are urging the public to adhere to speed limits and follow safety rules.

According to Honolulu solo bike officer Kristopher Kiyabu, many of the crashes on Oahu involved excessive speed. Kiyabu noted that seven of the 11 fatal bike crashes also involved operator error.

The state Department of Transportation plans to hold a public rally on motorcycle safety, tentatively over the July 4th weekend.

Kiyabu encouraged motorcyclists to wear protective gear, including eye protection, bright clothing and helmets, although six of the 11 dead motorcycle riders were wearing helmets.

Not all of the fatal accidents were the faults of the motorcyclists. Some involved vehicles driving into the paths of the bikes.

For example, on May 31, Thomas Reimer, 36, and his 7-year-old son, Thomas Jr., were killed in Pahoa on the Big Island after a sedan driven by a 21-year-old man struck them as the driver made a left turn. Police had said Reimer had the right of way.

Both father and son were wearing helmets.