Since I wrote about motorcycle crashes last week, I’ve been working both with Caltrans and CHP, and going through our own files, gathering statistics about these tragedies.

Statistics may or may not give us all we need to know. They may tell us who, what, when and how but may never tell us why.

Let’s start with a little of what I’ve gathered so far on MC crashes in our Hills:

2014 — 14 TCs, 7 fatal
2013 — 14 TCs, 0 fatal
2012 — 17 TCs, 0 fatal
2011 — 12  TCs, 0 fatal
2010 — 14 TCs, 3 fatal

The “why” is a valuable piece of information in getting to the root of these crashes but, unfortunately, doesn’t necessarily find its way into a report.

For instance, in several of the captions in the newspaper, we published that the motorcycle was rented.

CHP PIO Darren Meyer told me they don’t keep stats on rented vs. owned vs. borrowed. Why is that important? I asked Meyer why he thinks we’re having so many more MC TCs than before.

He believes the economy’s improvement gives people more disposable income to buy or rent MCs and take trips. That, combined with inexperience. But he can’t really say for sure; it’s just an observation.

So I asked him, “What does it take to get a motorcycle license?” Take a written test and either pass a driving test or a driving course.

However, he added, in this state exists a motorcycle “permit” that allows you to ride in daylight hours, not on a freeway and not with passengers. You only have to take a written test.

And another thing he added: Out-of-state/country motorcycle licenses are acknowledged in this state, even if the other state/country has lesser requirements.

Is the “why” inexperience on mountain roads? Maybe so. Still exploring …

Becky Clark,