Risky encounters with high-speed performance motorcycles are becoming more common on Maryland highways as sport bikes have gained in popularity among the young, thrill-seeking set, reports the Baltimore Sun. Police are concerned about the hazards posed by groups of sport bikers zigging and zagging through traffic at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Last September, a 21-year-old man was killed near Frederick, Md., when he lost control of his sport bike and crashed into a tow truck while performing a high-speed maneuver. The rider, who wasn’t wearing pants, was being videotaped by a stunt promoter following him in a sport utility vehicle.
Motorcycle highway fatalities in Maryland rose to 69 last year from 51 in 2000, and 29 in 1994. Police departments are wrestling with how to catch and ticket risk-taking riders without engaging in dangerous high-speed chases. “You don’t want to see somebody get killed for a traffic violation,” said Sgt. Bill Booth of the Anne Arundel County police. “When you go to stop them, they just take off.” Extreme riding “has no place on public streets and highways,” said Tom Lindsay of the American Motorcyclist Association, an Ohio-based group representing more than 260,000 members nationwide.