December 6, 2022

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More motorcyclists hit the roads with the warm weather; MSHP troopers offer driving safety tips

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – The warmer weather is bringing more motorcycles out of the garage and onto the streets. With more motorcyclists on the roads comes safety concerns for all drivers.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is urging all drivers to be more cautious as they approach intersections or change lanes. Sgt. Mike McClure says people need to keep in mind more motorcyclists will be out on the roads.

”We are afforded less protection riding a motorcycle or a tricycle or bicycle,” Sgt. McClure says. “We just don’t have the protection of the vehicle that is afforded by another type of vehicle.”

In 2021, Troop D reported 36 motorcycle fatalities. Of those deaths, 25 people weren’t wearing a helmet.

Sgt. Mike McClure is urging drivers to stay vigilant and put any distractions down as more motorcyclists hit the roads.

“A motorcyclist will be riding up the center line between cars or on the right side of the driving lane and people don’t see them. Sometimes they’re going at such a speed that they won’t have time to react if the person that they are going around may be making a lane movement or turning off,” Sgt. McClure says.

Motorcyclist Krystal Willhite says she regularly sees other motorcyclists driving carefully, but says that’s not always the same for people in cars.

Because of that, Willhite says her eyes are constantly moving while she’s driving around town.

“They’re distracted, so therefore, I don’t think they’re paying attention to motorcyclists,” Willhite says. “Between cell phones and just being distracted in general, they aren’t looking all four ways before they take off from a stop light. It causes accidents all the time.”

Driver Fred Green says he knows a lot of responsible riders. However, his concern is that there are some motorcyclists who knowingly drive irresponsibly.

“When they’re clipping around cars, they’re going to clip the front end of one and flip or they’re going to forget where they are and go over the top and flip and we’re going to have another dead motorcyclist,” Green says.

Another concern for Green is the noise.

“That level of noise is irresponsible,” Green says. “The problem I have with motorcyclists is they continually cut in and out traffic, go around cars and have no concern for their safety or anybody else.”

Willhite says for her and other riders, loud pipes save lives.

“We’re not out there to show off,” Willhite says. “We’re out there to get your attention on the roadways. There are stickers around hundreds of helmets across Southwest Missouri area. If you hear something loud, you’re going to look. Like a train. Why does a train have a horn? Why does a Harley have loud pipes? It’s to get your attention so we don’t get hit.”

Sgt. McClure is urging motorcyclists not to ride in the blind spot of a vehicle.

“If you’re going to make a movement to pass the vehicle that you’re following, go ahead and pass it but don’t linger in the hip pocket or in the blind spot,” Sgt. McClure says. “Your vehicle’s not as large as theirs and not as large as what they’re accustomed to seeing, until we get into those summer months where motorcycles are more prevalent.”

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