Look Twice, Save A Life.” State and local officials hope motorists will adopt this philosophy while driving and keep a better lookout for motorcyclists. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that although overall vehicle fatalities are at their lowest in six decades, motorcycle accidents have actually increased. Already more than 800 motorcycle accidents have occurred on Kentucky roadways in 2012, an increase of almost 70% over this same time last year. Motorcycle deaths in Jefferson County alone are up more than 50% in 2012.

A fatal accident just this week is a terrible reminder of the potential dangers for motorcyclists on the road. The news report (http://tinyurl.com/6tqh397) does not list a cause.

What’s responsible for the dramatic increase in motorcycle accidents and fatalities this year? Good weather is partly to blame—better weather means more motorcycles out on the road, earlier in the year. Higher gas prices cause people to look for cheaper forms of transportation and many people are riding motorcycles, scooters and mopeds to help reduce their transportation costs. And the distracted driving epidemic threatens all motorists on the road but especially motorcyclists who have little protection on their bikes. Oftentimes, motorcycles are not seen by other drivers until it’s too late. Drivers frequently claim they never saw the motorcycle. Collisions at intersections and left-hand turns are the most frequent type of collisions involving motorcycles and cyclists are often badly injured or killed.

Several organizations are trying to reduce this disturbing trend by educating the public about motorcycle safety, both motorcyclists and the non-motorcycle driving public. Kentucky State Police spokesman Lt. David Jude explained “our principal concern is to increase driver recognition of motorcyclists in traffic, while at the same time encouraging cyclists to engage in overall safe operation of their bikes.”

Motorcycle safety classes are offered throughout Kentucky and Indiana. Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) operates the Kentucky Motorcycle Safety Program through its Traffic Safety Institute in Richmond and offers motorcycle safety training at sites in Kentucky. The Indiana Motorcycle Operator Safety Education Program provides safety and training courses through ABATE of Indiana, Inc. There are programs available in both states for beginners and more experienced riders, as well as for the non-riding driving public. And Motorcycle Safety Foundation has RiderCourse motorcycle training centers throughout the country. You can find links to those safety programs at the end of this article.

For motorcyclists, safety officials recommend the following:

  • Always wear a helmet and eye protection
  • Always wear protective clothing – long pants, long sleeves, gloves & boots
  • Wear reflective or neon clothing to help drivers see you
  • Conduct a motorcycle safety check before each ride
  • Practice defensive driving while on a motorcycle
  • Never ride in between lanes or in blind spots

And drivers, take special precaution to be watchful of motorcyclists. Although motorcycles don’t take up the same physical space in a driving lane, they have as much right as other vehicles to their space on the road. Don’t follow too closely behind a motorcycle and never try to share a lane. Remember the mantra, “Look Twice, Save A Life.”

If you or a loved one is injured while riding a motorcycle, contact Becker Law Office for answers about your lost wages, past and future medical bills, replacement cost of your motorcycle, and compensation for your pain and suffering. Remember: Motorcyclists have a right to the road and a right to compensation for their injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.

To find more on motorcycle safety:

In Kentucky:

Motorcycle Education Program at Eastern Kentucky University: 859-622-2236
Share the Road Kentucky: www.KentuckyMotorcycleEducationandSafety.com
Glenda Hobbic
502-609-0309
ghobbic@sharekyroads.com

In Indiana:

ABATE of Indiana, Inc.
www.abateonline.org
800-232-2283
317-422-8474

For information on RiderCourse training:

Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) at www.msf-usa.org
800-446-9227