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Des Moines metro sees string of motorcycle accidents

There have been almost 4,800 motorcycle crashes in Iowa since 2017.

DES MOINES, Iowa — June 20 is Ride to Work Day, an annual event that encourages motorcycle riders to take their two wheels out for a spin. But here in the metro, there's been an uptick in serious accidents involving motorcycles.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on June 19, officers responded to reports of a crash at the intersection of E. 12th St. and University Avenue. According to investigators, an oncoming vehicle drove into the motorcyclist's path.

Later, around 10:30 p.m. the same night, officers investigated an accident at the intersection of E. 26th St. and Maple Street. Police said the motorcyclist was traveling at high speed and ran a stop sign before crashing into an SUV. 

No charges have been filed in either case.

According to data from Iowa State University, about 64% of motorcycle accidents in Iowa since 2017 resulted in injuries, but 5% of them were fatal. The Iowa Department of Transportation says that there were 58 fatal motorcycle accidents in 2020; 63 people total were killed.

RELATED: Fatal crash kills 1 near Van Meter

So what can riders do to help keep themselves safe? 

The first one is the timeless rule — wear a helmet. Of Iowa's 43 motorcycle fatalities in 2019, 79% of riders weren't wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. 

Another tip: know your motorcycle. That might seem obvious, but over half of all motorcycle crashes involved riders with less than five months of experience with their bikes.

But if you're someone who prefers a car's interior to the seat of a bike, there are still ways to help out motorcyclists.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation encourages all drivers to give motorcyclists some extra following distance on the road, double-check any blind spots and keep a close eye on their mirrors. Motorcycles are small, and they're often a lot closer than they appear.

In total, there have been almost 4,800 motorcycle crashes in Iowa since 2017, with 50% of them involving a single motorcycle and 47% involving a motorcycle and at least one other vehicle.

RELATED: Man charged with OWI after police say he hit a woman with his motorcycle

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