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More motorcycles on the road

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May 8, 2008

Thomasville-- More record gas prices.  After a brief and small decrease, the national and state averages hit new all-time highs today.   That's why we're all looking for ways to save gas.  

Some people are carpooling, while others are driving gas-saving motorcycles. With more two wheelers on the road, it's important to be careful and those of us in cars need to watch out for them.  

There are a lot of reasons Nelson Caviness likes riding his Harley to work.  "I deliver stuff for my business and at 40 miles a gallon it's a lot easier to fill up and a heck of a lot more fun," he said. 

Bart Williams is a motorcycle safety instructor for the Georgia Department of Driver Services.  He says it seems more and more people are beginning to think like Caviness.  "We've seen a definite increase on the sales of motorcycles and definitely there are more motorcycles on the highways nowadays than we saw several years ago," said Williams. 

But as the number of riders increase, so do the number of accidents.  In Georgia, motorcycle crashes nearly doubled from 2000 to 2006, and motorcycle fatalities increased by 150% in the same time span. 

"About 80% of the motorcycle riders that are in the world today that have taught themselves usually wind up having an accident. Usually in the first 6 months of their riding experience," said Williams. 

That's why Williams and Caviness agree taking a rider's course by a trained professional is a great idea. "It's a very learning experience, even if you've been riding all you're life, if you've never taken the Georgia course, take it, it could save your life," said Caviness.

If saving gas is a big priority, salesman at Southern Power Sports say you might want to look into a scooter.  "Some of the scooters get over 100 miles to the gallon," Williams said. And scooters 50 CCs and under don't require you to have a class M motorcycle license. 

But that doesn't mean riders should opt out of training.  "They still should have some sort of training absolutely. They're still required to wear the proper protective gear. Meaning a DOT approved helmet," said Williams.  But no matter what you're driving, always put safety first. 

If you'd like to sign up online to take a motorcycle training course near you, visit the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program website.

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