More people died on Wisconsin roads last year (837) than in any year since1981. What do state officials blame for this shocking statistic? Let’s start by examining the following facts:

  • Subdivisions and shopping centers are now built almost exclusively withcars in mind.
  • Funding for public transportation is either stalled or shrinking inalmost every municipality.
  • Funding for highway construction and reconstruction is growing at ahealthy yearly rate.
  • As a result of these factors, the number of miles driven by citizens hasincreased every year. (58.6 billion miles for all Wisconsin drivers,combined; 586 million more miles than last year)
  • There is a direct correlation between the number of miles drivenby any given individual and the chances of ending up in some sort of carcrash. If you don’t believe me, ask the automobile insurance industry.
  • More of the vehicles on the road are bigger and heavier (read: SUVs)than historically has been the case.
  • The average speed driven on Wisconsin roads has also crept upwards.
  • Heavier objects traveling at higher rates of speed have more energy thatmust be dissipated in any sort of crash, thereby causing more injury todrivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Given all that, what would state transportation officials blame for thegrim highway death statistics? Motorcyles, of course. 22motorcyclists did the state DOT a disfavor and got themselves killed.