LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - State Police say 25 motorcyclists have died in Arkansas through the end of June this year. That's 45% less than last year at this time. While they say cooler spring weather and late snowfall meant fewer motorcyclists on the roads, they expect a lot more bikes out and about over the 4th of July holiday weekend.
"This time of year and a beautiful weekend there will be more motorcyclists out riding around so we just want people to be aware and to watch out for them," said Arkansas Motorcycle Safety Coordinator Lloyd Vanover, who is also a motorcyclist himself. "It's my escape. When I get on a motorcycle I like to go out someplace and forget about everything."
Throughout May and June, Vanover's office posted messages on Little Rock city buses reminded drivers and riders to share the road.
"Holiday seasons, a lot of people on the roads," said Rodney Roberts, owner of Rodney's Cycle House in Little Rock. "[Motorcycles] are out there everywhere especially during the summer months so we would like the motoring public, i.e. the four-wheel guys, to actually pay attention to what's going on around them."
Both Vanover and Roberts agree that even though drivers need to watch out for motorcyclists on the roads, motorcyclists have a responsibility to put themselves in safe situations as well.
"Hopefully we've trained enough riders that they're going to be placing themselves in a spot behind that automobile or in traffic where they can be seen," added Roberts. "But these days with your texting and the telephones and the distractions that automobile drivers have it's easy to lose sight of a motorcycle."
Arkansas does not require motorcyclists over the age of 21 to wear a helmet, however all motorcyclists must wear eye protection under state law.