WINSLOW, Maine — The first eight months of 2022 saw 25 fatalities involving motorcyclists, while the entirety of 2021 saw 22, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.
The increased number in fatalities is a shock, even to longtime motorist Mike Perkins, who has nearly 20 years of experience teaching motorcycle safety at KMD Driving School in Winslow.
"It's always a shock when you see people killed on a motorcycle," Perkins said. "People were locked away for two years, and now they want to get away and have fun. ... They don't have time to take the course."
But at Perkin's latest class on Sunday, 11 motorists finished their training and passed the test, obtaining a motorcycle license.
One of the motorists, Ed Brown, has been biking since he was 15. He said he had to go through the process again after living outside the country.
"It feels good to get it back," Brown said.
Brown said he is a first responder and is concerned about the rise in motorcycle deaths.
"I am a firefighter for the city of Waterville. It is disturbing," he said about the motorcycle deaths. "It could be avoided with education like with this course."
Perkins adds the increase in deaths should also be considered with the higher number of riders on the road.
"Last year we did over 3,000 riders. This year we are looking at 2,700 riders," Perkins said.
Perkins said when done right, it's easy to avoid mistakes and stay attentive on the road.
"If you want to go ride, then go ride. Just enjoy the scenery but you can't be enjoying the scenery at 100 miles per hour."