Young riders not getting message of motorcycle risks

LAS VEGAS -- So far this year, Clark County has seen 60 traffic-related deaths versus 85 this time last year, which is a 29 percent drop.

The number of pedestrian crashes is down 19 percent. However, the number of motorcycle deaths is up 45 percent from 11 last year to 16 this year.

The deadly crashes are often covered on the nightly news but some bikers aren't giving it a second thought.

So far this year, southern Nevada has seen one deadly motorcycle crash after another, averaging more than one every two weeks.

Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Richard "Axel" James says it is not the Harley riders or necessarily the flashy riders who end up dead.

"I've seen these young men who go out and ride, ones that we always call the 'crotch-rocket pilots' that ride the wheelies up and down the freeways. A lot of those guys have a lot of experience doing that, because they are pushing the envelope. A lot of the everyday riders, who want to go out and say, 'I rode a bike, several times, I think I'm pretty good at it,' those are the ones with less than five years experience and get into these kinds of horrific accidents." Trooper James said.

Those horrific sights and news stories haven't steered them away.

"The individuals are usually in their late twenties, early-thirties, recreational enthusiasts," James said.

Kevin Gil fits that description. The engine in his Kawasaki Ninja sports bike is 300 CC's. It is a starter bike that can go up to 115 miles per hour. Gil confesses he has hit the top speed once or twice.

"At the 15 usually around midnight there's no traffic at all," Gil said. "It is one of those things where you have the power to tempt you really. That is why I stuck with the 300 because a 600 or a 1000 cc bike, those will easily go 200 miles an hour."

He says getting injured himself is more impactful than seeing it happen to someone else on the news.


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