Missouri Highway Patrol: Age plays a part in motorcycle safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - There were two deadly motorcycle crashes in Greene County in just one week. Both motorcycle drivers were under the age of 21.

Zane Wasczuk, 15, of Ozark, Mo., was killed Tuesday when his motorcycle collided with a pickup at Republic Road and Hillcrest in southwest Springfield. Another crash happened last Wednesday on West Division when a speeding bike hit a truck turning near Farm Road 123.

Sgt. John Lueckenhoff of Missouri State Highway Patrol said age plays a factor in motorcycle safety.

"Young drivers, especially that 16-24 year-old that they're inclined to have more collisions involving motorcycles, simply because of inexperience and their willingness to take risks more than an older driver."

In Missouri, you can get behind the handlebars of a motorcycle at 15-and-a-half, but it has its rules, just like a drivers permit.

"It is still a permit, which is why the 50 mile radius is in place, why the 250 CC displacement is in place," he said.

The patrolman said unlike a regular drivers permit, motorcycle permits don't require adult help.

"We don't want a passenger on that motorcycle," he said. "It's not really practical to have another person riding on a second motorcycle with you because they can't really give you instructions, physically, while you're operating."

The state trooper said drivers should add extra distance between their car and motorcycles out on the road. He also shared tips for motorcyclists.

"We want them to utilize safety equipment, we want them to obey traffic laws," he said. "[Drivers should] drive within the speed limit and make sure they're being as cautious as possible at all times."