April 20, 2011
Travel experts say high prices at the pump have more motorcycle drivers on the road, because for some, a motorcycle is a much cheaper way to travel.
"If you can run 200 miles on $10 versus 200 miles on 50, you might as well do it, and enjoy it," said motorcyclist Dennis Simmons.
The price of gas is part of the reason Simmons is looking to expand his motorcycle riding beyond just a leisurely weekend activity.
"I'm a fair weather rider for the most part," said Simmons. "But I'm looking now for longer rides, longer travel, just because the gas is just killing us," said Simmons.
Gas mileage is becoming a bigger factor to buy a motorcycle, according to managers at Alef's Harley-Davidson in north Wichita.
"A lot of them have mentioned, 'I need to start stretching my dollar farther, as much as I can.' This is certainly a way to do that," said Alef's Marketing Director Milt Mounts. "[So] more and more people are riding today. And naturally we want to make sure that they're safe out on the roads."
So, Alef's offers safe riding classes, which are an important tool, according to the state Highway Patrol. Troopers are also advising other drivers to be extra cautious of motorcyclist both as gas prices and temperatures rise.
"One of the first things that I think the rest of us should do, since a lot of times it's not the motorcycle's fault when there's a crash, is that we need to deliberately look for motorcycles," said Kansas Highway Patrol Trooper Gary Warner.