Wichita Too many inexperienced motorcycle drivers and lack of attention from drivers of other vehicles have contributed to nine fatal motorcycle accidents in Wichita so far this year, compared with only one all of last year, riders and police said.
Other contributing factors could be an increase in motorcycle riders because of high gasoline prices and a lack of spaces in training classes, riders said.
And none of the nine people who have died were wearing helmets, police said.
Two of the deaths came after separate accidents Wednesday.
Sandra Weidner, 43, died Thursday at Wesley Medical Center from injuries she suffered when a car hit the motorcycle she was riding on. And Jedidiah Kuhns, 24, died Wednesday night after his motorcycle collided with a pickup truck.
The accidents came less than three weeks after two people died when a motorcycle driven by a 23-year-old who had never before been on a cycle hit a grain truck. Police estimated the driver was going 130 mph when he hit the semitrailer.
Motorcycle rider Casey Dewey said such accidents don't have to happen.
"Anybody can get on them and make them go fast," Dewey said, "but very few can stop them right."
One contributing factor is that vehicle drivers miscalculate how soon a speeding motorcycle will get to them.
"It's a smaller vehicle, so ... it's going to be harder to gauge that vehicle's speed anyway," said Bryan Bierod, a member of the Cessna Motorcycle Club.