State Highway Patrol: Deadliest Labor Day holiday in five years

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The Ohio State Highway Patrol said more people died over the Labor Day weekend this year. And a third of the deaths involved motorcycles.

Twenty-four people died in Ohio over the long weekend. That’s more than a 70 percent increase. The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Toby Smith said of the 24 people who died, eight of them were on motorcycles.

“There were four operators of those motorcycles that were not wearing a helmet. And the one passenger that was killed was not wearing a helmet. But we don’t know if those were direct results of not wearing that helmet,” Smith said.

Pete Cline is with Motorcycle Ohio – part of the governor’s highway safety office. Cline said the number of motorcycle He said there’s been a steady increase since 1998.

“We’re seeing about a two percent increase a year in registered motorcycle endorsement holders,” Cline said.

Smith said the number of fatal crashes involving motorcycles is also on the rise. He said part of the problem is drivers of other vehicles fail to see motorcycles.

“Even though that the federal regulation is to have that headlight lit and that the bikes are visible we still have problems with people failing to yield to the right of way to the motorcycle which is a major contributor to a crash,” Smith said.

Ohio only requires minors and those with temporary motorcycle permits to wear a helmet. Cline said helmets help save lives but are not the only answer to motorcycle safety.

“Helmets when used with other riding gear are, can significantly reduce the fatality rate when riding a motorcycle. But helmets itself are not the end all, be all of motorcycle safety,” Cline said.

While the Ohio State Highway Patrol said this was the deadliest Labor Day holiday in five years, there were fewer fatal crashes involving alcohol.

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