Alarming jump in local motorcycle deaths - FOX 13 News

Alarming jump in local motorcycle deaths

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

A motorcycle shattered to pieces after colliding with a car. A bad crash that's become a familiar scene.

"We've seen such a dramatic increase in motorcycle fatalities over the last year," said Sgt. Carl Gigueri of Tampa police.

The number of people killed in motorcycle crashes is on the rise throughout Florida. In Tampa, the jump in numbers are especially troubling.

This time last year, there were three fatalities.

This year, there are 13.

"Some of it, the drivers are impaired. So they are not able to operate the motorcycle properly," Gigueri said. "Inexperienced drivers, which are not necessarily their fault, but they're not used to dealing with traffic and having drivers violate their right of way on a constant basis. And then, of course, the ones who are speeding and driving recklessly."

Tampa police are cracking down with zero tolerance for speeding, reckless driving and other violations.

"The power, the speed, they're fast. Even you're cruisers can get up and go pretty quick," said Craig Emerich of Barney's Motorcycles. "And when you have the adrenaline on the bike, you want to go faster and faster. That's where I think a lot of the accidents occur."

"People will be tired and driving too fast, driving beyond their skill level. It's not just one single thing. It's usually a combination of factors that happen all at once, and it's usually not a good combination," said Joe Strohmier of Motorcycle License Training

Long-time motorcyclists say they're glad police are stepping up enforcement, especially if it helps save lives.

"You want people to take it seriously, and you have to respect the bike regardless," said Tre Williams of Barney's. "You want to be safe and enjoy yourself. So if they make sure everybody's doing all the legal stuff, you can continue to ride."

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