TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Workers at Terre Haute’s Cannonball Harley-Davidson store are familiar with how serious motorcycle accidents can be.
“We’ve had several of our customers that’s been killed on motorcycles,” said General Manager Bill Myers. “It’s cars pulling out and not seeming them.”
Those losses are a reflection of a trend in America. Recent numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show more than 5,000 motorcyclist deaths over the span of a year in the United States.
Todd Young, who’s been riding for almost 40 years, attributes inattention as the cause of most of these deadly accidents.
“Everyone’s in a hurry to get where they’re going, rather than watching what they’re doing,” said Young. “They’re like they’re in their own world when they’re driving.”
While Young says drivers should be more attentive, he also knows that motorcyclists can do their part to avoid collisions.
“As a rider, it’s our responsibility to be seen by that person,” said Young. “Get out of their blind spots, make sure if you can see them in the mirror, they can see you.”
Outfit choice can also increase rider safety. Young says things like a helmet, reflective clothing, and leather jackets can go a long way.
“If you go down, and you’re sliding on the asphalt, having a leather jacket will help provide protection,” said Young. “It may not stop all injury, but it will lessen it hopefully.”
Bikes themselves are becoming safer over time, with elements like LED lights added, which help with visibility.
But even with these safety features, it’s up to all people on the road to be aware of their surroundings and following fundamental driving rules.
“It goes back to what we’ve been told all of our lives, you know, you look once and check twice,” said Myers. “And realize the motorcycles are a smaller object out there, and in a sea of big vehicles, so you’ve gotta be looking for them,”