Report: Motorcycle deaths on the rise in Michigan - WNEM TV 5

Report: Motorcycle deaths on the rise in Michigan

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BAY COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

A sobering study revealed a troubling truth - more motorcyclists are dying in fatal crashes across the nation and the increase in Michigan is ever greater.

The numbers can be shocking and there are several factors that contribute to the increase.

For Michigan, one of those factors include the repeal of the state's mandatory helmet law.

"It's very unfortunate," said Bubba Phillip, motorcyclist.

He loves being out on the open road with his favorite two-wheeler. The owner of Bubba's Tri-City Cycle cringes every time an accident takes a biker's life.

According to a report by the Governor's Highway Safety Association, motorcycle deaths in Michigan are up. Phillip blames other motorists.

"There's a lot of distracted driving out there. It's a mess out there. People just don't pay attention," Phillip said.

There were 112 motorcycle deaths in 2014. That number rose to 138 in 2015. That's a 23 percent increase.

Sarah Schubert, motorcyclist, had her own close call recently.

"A guy on the expressway come over like that and ran me off the road, but I kept it under control," Schubert said.

She said it was a scary situation.

"Most people think motorcycles are slow because they're small and they'll pull out in front of you. They do a lot of that," Schubert said.

The study also said Michigan's repeal in 2012 of their helmet law is another reason behind the rise in deaths, but people at Phillip's shop don't agree with that assessment.

"I don't believe it's a factor. Statistics are made up any which way you want. There's other statistics that say states have repealed the helmet law, the death rate has gone down," Phillip said.

Of the 138 deaths, the report said 56 were not wearing helmets. However, 74 were wearing helmets. In eight cases it's unclear.

As for Phillip, he understands every time he rides a motorcycle there's a risk. He cautions his fellow riders to play it safe.

"You're exposed. It's really dangerous out there. You've just got to be careful and be experienced and drive defensively," Phillip said.

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