Preliminary report sheds light on Tippecanoe Co. motorcycle crashes

WISH File Photo (DeAndre Taylor)
WISH File Photo (DeAndre Taylor)

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s probably not surprising almost all of the motorcycle crashes in Tippecanoe County last year occurred in the summer months. Drivers are more eager to expose themselves to the elements if the weather is warmer. The increase and where and how these motorcycle crashes are happening may be a surprise.

The Tippecanoe County Area Plan Commission looked at motorcycle wrecks from 2013, 2012 and 2011, and a preliminary report shows crashes with injuries were up by 21 from 2012 to 2013. Of the 134 motorcycle crashes in the county last year 108 of them had at least one injury.

“We are a planning office so we kind of start the process and identify some of the problems and needs and then they do eventually get passed down to engineers and law enforcement for more of the solutions,” Transportation planner Tim Stroshine said.

Stroshine said the motorcycle crash analysis is part of an overall vehicle crash analysis. He expects the final report to be complete at the end of the year.

The number of crashes with injuries has changed, but for the last three years the number of crashes with fatalities has not. There have been four in each year.

The report also details what time of day and where the crashes are happening. Most of Tippecanoe County motorcycle crashes happen in the city limits of Lafayette and West Lafayette.

“There is more traffic,” Stroshine said. “It’s a lot different traveling on the open road than it is on city roads, especially for motorcycles. They’re smaller vehicles so they are harder for drivers to see sometimes.”

However, most of the motorcycle crashes in 2013 did not involve other vehicles. Twenty-seven were considered non collision wrecks, 19 were because the motorcyclist ran off the road.

“A lot of the times what will happen is people will run off the road,” Stroshine said. “That is one of the most typical types of single vehicle crashes are those run off the road crashes. In that case that can be for a variety of reasons, but something caused them to run the vehicle off the road or lay the bike down to prevent a more serious accident.”

The Area Plan Commission also finished a bicycle crash analysis, the first of its kind for the commission, and is getting ready to start a report on crashes involving pedestrians.

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