RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - For 17 years, Evelyn Mynes has taught beginning motorcyclists how to ride, and do it safely.
"As a rider myself, you see people out there, you can tell they just got a motorcycle, and don't know what to do with it," Mynes said.
Now more than ever, safety classes like the ones at EKU's Traffic Safety Institute are needed. Motorcycle crashes in Kentucky are up 52 percent this year, compared to last. And deaths on motorcycles are up sharply to 50 so far in 2012.
Why? There are many reasons. Mynes says she finds today's rider is less capable of handling the bigger, more powerful motorcycles.
"There is a lot more torque involved, will take off quicker, and it's heavier," she said. "And the main cause of crashes really are people getting into curves, and they can't deal with it because they're going too fast."
Mynes says she's also seeing more people who aren't prepared physically to control a motorcycle on the road.
"Earlier there were a lot of people, and I hate to say this, that are coordinated. More outdoorsy," Mynes said. "These days, we're finding folks who work behind the desk so much, it's almost as if they don't know how to use their body. And it's a big problem."
Ages of people killed on motorcycles this year range from 19 to 74. More than half were 40 or under. And more than half who died were not wearing a helmet.
Kentucky is like most states: It does not require all motorcycle riders to wear a helmet.
Then there's the problem of other drivers on the road. Often you will hear motorcyclists say- they just don't see us. Mynes says drivers are more distracted than ever, using cell phone, texting, or dealing with a mini-van full of children. She says, "The whole idea about driving has changed. People don't give you any courtesy at all."
One of the new riders we talked to at the safety class told us he does not want to become a statistic. Kevin Britton says, "I don't want to be one of those crazy guys that goes speeding by, weaving in and out of traffic, so I want to to make, get home safe every day."