Wichita Police Tout Motorcycle Safety As Weather Gets Warmer

By: Caroline Brady Email
By: Caroline Brady Email

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

As more people hit the roads on two wheels to enjoy the warmer weather, Wichita Police are warning all drivers to be alert on the roads and have concerns about motorcycle safety.

This year has yet to see a fatal accident involving a motorcycle, but the Wichita Police Department has investigated 34 tragic cases since 2001. Fifty percent of the time, the motorcyclist is at fault and statistics show that age makes a difference.

"You have the younger riders who are 16 years up to their 30s who ride the sport bikes...they are more apt to be at fault in a traffic collision versus somebody 40 years or older on a street bike," said Detective Joe Kennedy with the Accident Followup Unit.

In other cases, where the motorcyclist is not at fault, drivers of larger vehicles often fail to yield while taking a left turn or exiting a private drive. Nine fatalities involving motorcycles also involved alcohol or drug impairment. Of those, seven involved the motorcyclist being the impaired driver.

"Even one drink is enough to impair your judgment, and your reaction time. Just one simple drink could make a difference," said Officer Earnest Sharp, motorcycle safety instructor.

Regardless of who is at fault, investigators say that 95-98% of the time, the motorcyclist gets hurt.

Police also say that the myth that a helmet can’t save your life in a motorcycle crash is false. They report having had several traffic fatalities with motorcycles where the motorcyclist could have survived had they been wearing a helmet.

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