FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - KSP reports that 2012 has already shown a spike in motorcycle-related crashes with a 69 percent increase from 2011 for the same time period. For this reason, KSP has decided to utilize their best asset for reaching the public – social media. With over 40,000 followers on Face book©, 2,900 followers on Twitter© and an active YouTube©, Flickr© and Blogger© account, the agency plans to blast out motorcycle safety messaging via these platforms.
KSP Spokesman Lt. David Jude called on his staff to get 'proactive' about motorcycle safety when he reviewed the weekly FARS report (Fatality Analysis Reporting System) showing the spike in motorcycle crashes.
"With the unseasonably warm weather we are having, more bikes are out on the road earlier than what motorists are used to seeing," says Jude. "With a nearly 70 percent increase in motorcycle related crashes already this year, we need to get in front of this trend and stop the unnecessary injuries and deaths on our roadways."
"You can't take a bike for granted. As soon as you take it for granted its going to bite ya," said "Rev" a Kentucky motorcycle rider for 30 years. "I always watch every vehicle that I see. You gotta kind of anticipate what they're going to do. Regardless of if you've got eye contact or not. It doesn't mean they see ya and they might pull out on you anyway."
"Our principle concern is to increase driver recognition of motorcyclists in traffic, while at the same time encouraging cyclists to engage in the overall safe operation of their bikes," adds Jude.
Through April 4, 2012, there have been 249 motorcycle related crashes resulting in 167 injuries and 9 deaths. When compared to crashes in 2011 for the same time period that calculates into a 69 percent increase in crashes; 75 percent increase in injuries; and 44 percent increase in deaths.
Jude said the increase in motorcycle crashes and fatalities has stepped up the emphasis on the agency's annual 'Motorcycle Safety Day' awareness program.
This will be the fifth year that the agency will host the event that includes safety exhibits, motorcycle vendors, a news conference and a police escorted ride through scenic Kentucky. This program is scheduled for Friday, June 22, 2012 at KSP Headquarters in Frankfort.
In addition to Safety Day, KSP will offer a free three-hour motorcycle safety seminar on May 17, 2012, taught by a certified Motorcycle Safety Foundation RiderCoach.
"There's often an obstacle facing new riders," says Jude. "They'd like to buy their first bike or maybe upgrade to a newer, more powerful one, but worry about their ability to handle it safely. Rider education programs are the answer for both beginning and seasoned riders. We advocate attending refresher courses that help riders keep their edge by sharpening their skills."
Jude said that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that motorcyclists are 34 times more likely to die in traffic crashes than passenger car occupants.
Jude offers tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.
· Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
· Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width—never try to share a lane.
· Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
· Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
· Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle – motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
· Allow more following distance - three or four seconds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
· Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
· Never drive while distracted.