Highway Patrol speaks out about what causes motorcycle crashes

Community

As Spring and Summer progress, you will see more motorcycles on the roadways.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol says they responded to 30 motorcycle accidents in Belmont County last year.

That’s a lot, compared to other counties like Harrison, with only three.

Statewide, the numbers are broken down further, showing cause and effect.

Seventy-one percent of those who died in motorcycle crashes last year in Ohio were not wearing a helmet.

Ohio doesn’t have a helmet law, but the highway patrol says they save lives.

“You know, when you talk about a motorcycle crash, you’re almost always going to strike your head on something, whether it’s the bike itself, the pavement or another vehicle,” noted Lt. James Faunda, post commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

“I personally ride with a helmet all the time because I was involved in a wreck that busted the side of my helmet and did save my head,” said Paulie Ashton, employee at Valley Harley Davidson at the Highlands.

Ohio authorities say 20 percent of riders who were cited for violations last year had no motorcycle endorsement.

Having a license to drive a car isn’t enough.

“You have to take an extra written test and a maneuverability test, and we see a lot of the older riders not taking the time to go get that endorsement,” said Lt. Faunda.

“It’s just one of those things that creates more of a hassle when you do get pulled over,” said Paulie Ashton. “And it’s not that tough to pass. If you can ride, you can pass the test.”

Another risk to bikers is the rest of the driving public.

People tend not to notice motorcycles.

But now, many drivers say they make a point to see them.

“My husband used to ride,” said Lori Sharp of Piedmont. “And there was a car one time that didn’t pay attention and almost amputated his leg. So I’m very cautious when it comes to motorcycles.”

“We all need to be courteous drivers,” said Robert Wade of St. Clairsville. “And we need to be aware of motorcycles. It can be pretty dangerous if we’re not.”

“It’s important that we all take our part in trying to keep the motorcyclists safe by being extra attentive,” said Lt. Faunda. “Don’t follow them too closely. Because if you rear end a bike, bad things happen to those who are riding it.”

And finally, officials say 35 percent of fatal motorcycle crashes in Ohio last year involved alcohol or drugs.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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