Motorcycle Fatalities and Spring Riding Season
Monday, March 17, 2014
I've read about five motorcycle fatalities in the last 10 days, which is five too many. While everybody is excited that the riding season is upon us, be careful out there. Make sure your bike is prepped and ready to ride and scout out conditions of local roads beforehand.
Two headlines in our small local paper disturbed me this past weekend. Both dealt with motorcycle fatalities. The first was a solo rider who died when he clipped a curb and was thrown from his bike. The second fatal motorcycle accident occurred just outside of town on a popular route to the coast. Apparently the rider lost control in a curve, crossed into oncoming traffic, and was sideswiped by a car. His brother was riding with him, albeit on his own motorcycle, and was not injured. Two motorcycle-related fatalities in one day. Both close to home. Not the way I like to get riding season started.
Hearing that two riders lost their lives in our little slice of heaven known as Southern Oregon is tragic. I just got back from Daytona Beach Bike Week
last Friday where three riders reportedly died in motorcycle accidents at the rally. That’s five fatalities I’ve read about in the last ten days, and that’s five too many.
Everybody’s stoked that it’s riding season once again. But don’t let overzealousness ruin a good day. Be sure to go over your motorcycle thoroughly before hitting the road. Check tire pressure. Check tire wear. Make sure everything’s bolted down tight, and go over your maintenance logs. Check your oil. Inspect your plugs. Take a little time to make sure your bike is in good running order.
Take it easy those first few trips out. If you haven’t ridden in a while, your riding skills might be rusty. Road conditions aren’t ideal yet, as many still have residual gravel, salt and rocks left over from the winter. Slow down in corners on your favorite roads until you are sure they are clear. There’ll be a time for bombing over them soon enough.
Ride like you’re invisible. Don’t put your life in the hands of the other driver. If you stay defensive, the odds of staying alive increase. Cars have blind spots, drivers are texting instead of paying attention to the road, and the universal reply to motorcycle vs car collisions is “I didn’t see them until…”
Companies like Allstate Insurance have taken a pro-active approach to increasing awareness and rider safety by placing warning signs at intersections that have been statistically proven to be dangerous for motorcyclists. They’ve also granted money to ideas that promote rider safety as part of its Good Ride Grants
program. One is a “Count Motorcycles Awareness” game that gets travelers to actively look for motorcycles on the open road, similar to playing the license plate game. Anything to make people more aware we’re out there is good by me.
While the beginning of motorcycle riding season brings great excitement, it has also brought tragedy and sadness to at least five families this early in the season. Be safe, be aware, and enjoy the ride.
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