Making room for motorcycles - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Making room for motorcycles

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June 1, 2005

Albany - As temperatures warm up, motorcycles rev up and hit the road. Motorcycle crashes are often more devastating than other vehicle accidents. 20% of vehicle wrecks end in injury or death, but an astounding 80% of motorcycle crashes result in injury or death. A few driving tips can help keep bikers and other motorists safe.

Motorcycle sells continue to climb. "This is the time of year that everybody loves to ride bikes," said Charles Hough, Flint River Harley-Davidson. With more motorcycles on the road, the number of wrecks involving bikes are up too.

"Weekend after weekend, you see an increase in accidents," said Albany Paramedic Randall Balkcom. Balkcom says he responds to accident involving motorcycles all too often. "We're starting to see more motorcycle wrecks that involved injures and fatalities."

Motorcycle fatalities have steadily increased since 1997. On average, about 3,000 people die in motorcycle wrecks each year in the US.

"In a car you have the structure of the vehicle around you," said Balkcom. "With a motorcycle when you hit the ground, it's just you and the pavement."

Georgia law requires all riders wear helmets, but that's not the case in some neighboring states. "Head injures are one of the number one causes of death in motorcycle wrecks," said Balkcom.

Charlie Hough with Flint River Harley Davidson says vehicle drivers need to be extra cautious of motorcycles this time of year. "The profile of a motorcycle is much smaller than what we're used to looking for in a SUV or car, so it's harder for people to see them," said Hough. "The motorcyclist themselves probably have more accidents in curves because they made take a curve too fast or out ride their own experience. We always caution people to drive within their own limits and where ever they're comfortable."

Most motorcycle dealers offer driver's safety course that teach new riders to safely share the road with larger vehicles. Motorcyclists are going everywhere now from back roads to interstate. So they're urging other drivers to look twice and save a life.

There will be a lot more motorcycles riders in Albany this weekend for the Annual Bike Days at the US 19 Dragway. So watch out for riders.

posted at 5:52PM by news@walb.com