More motorcycle crashes has some pushing for helmet laws in Iowa

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:56 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa is seeing more motorcycle crashes and deaths. There were 63 motorcycle fatalities last year, the most in 39 years. This year is at the same pace with 10 so far.

Most of those killed were not wearing helmets. The Iowa Department of Transportation says 78% of those killed were not wearing a helmet. Iowa is one of a handful of states that don’t require people to wear a helmet on a motorcycle.

It’s been busier than ever at Fast Forward Cycles in Cedar Rapids.

“People are kind of looking out for something to do during the pandemic,” said owner Taylor Wilkin. “A lot of stuff still closed down. Not a whole lot of options as far as things to do.”

Wilkin believes more riders are causing more accidents. He wants drivers to be on the lookout for motorcyclists. He says motorcyclists also need to be careful.

“Not be speeding and weaving in and out of traffic,” he said. “Be predictable, that kind helps car drivers kind of know where you will be at.”

He always wears a helmet, but doesn’t think others should be forced to.

“I think it’s nice to have the freedom to choose,” he said.

Trooper Bob Conrad with Iowa State Patrol has been to plenty of accidents involving people not wearing helmets.

“It’s not a broken ankle or a broken arm, you know or a fractured pelvis, stuff like that,” he said. “It is that head injury that head trauma that can really cause that fatality.”

Conrad can only enforce the law, but they’d be required if it was up to him.

“It’s something I’d advocate for,” he said. “Being the person that knocks on somebody’s door and tells them their loved one is not coming home. I wanna see anything that will save lives. I believe if you look at the stats that helmets will end up saving lives.”

Iowa had a helmet law for one year back in 1975 and a state report found it did lower fatality rates. A bill this year that would have made helmets mandatory for people under 18, didn’t get much traction.

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