Motorcycle group calls for caution after accidents
by John Roach
June 20, 2012 12:56 AM | 3899 views | 10 10 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Smyrna police photograph the scene where a motorcycle rider crashed after clipping the back of a Toyota Corolla that was turning left across westbound traffic in Smyrna on June 6. <br> File photo
Smyrna police photograph the scene where a motorcycle rider crashed after clipping the back of a Toyota Corolla that was turning left across westbound traffic in Smyrna on June 6.
File photo
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MARIETTA — After a rash of accidents involving cars and SUVs pulling out in front of motorcycles, bikers and police alike are urging drivers to pay attention while driving.

The latest crash happened around 9:20 a.m. Tuesday when a driver turned left out of a parking lot to go south on Powers Ferry Road south of Delk Road, hitting a motorcycle traveling north, police said. The rider suffered serious injuries and was taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in critical condition.

The female driver pulled into a nearby parking lot after the accident, police said.

Police have not released the names of either the driver or the motorcycle rider but said charges are pending.

Sgt. Dana Pierce with Cobb Police said the warmer weather and high gas prices are putting more motorcycles on the road, which leads to more crashes. He listed a number of recent accidents, including a May 16 accident in which a Douglasville man died after a driver in the next lane allegedly made a U-turn in front of him and a June 8 crash in which a driver turned left in front of an oncoming off-duty Marietta Police officer, leaving him with serious injuries.

Megan Amick, digital director for WOW Motorcycles at 508 Cobb Parkway in Marietta, said most of the crashes are caused by inattentive drivers.

“People just not paying attention,” she said. “They’re texting, looking at Facebook or are on the phone.”

Amick also said drivers may just not understand how quickly a motorcycle can accelerate.

“You can look one second and the motorcycle can be right behind you, and just as you turn your head around, it’s beside you,” she said.

Amick said that because motorcycles are so much smaller than cars, SUVs and other, more common, vehicles, “they can be a little bit difficult to see sometimes.”

Even so, it’s important to be aware of who’s sharing the road with you, because what could be a minor fender-bender for a car can be serious, even fatal, for a motorcycle, she said.

“You don’t have a cage surrounding you to take the impact. You don’t have airbags, and you don’t have a seatbelt. You’re basically out in the open hitting a ton of steel,” she said.

Pierce, who used to ride a motorcycle, puts most of the blame on drivers’ shoulders.

“As careful as motorcycle riders are, it seems as though the travelling public around them are the ones who aren’t prepared or are not for some reason seeing (them),” he said.

Almost all of the recent motorcycle collisions in Cobb County have been caused by a driver cutting in front a motorcycle rider, Pierce said.

“Whether they’re pulling out … in front of that motorcycle, or they’re turning off that main road, and that vehicle turns left in front of them — for some reason, drivers of automobiles are failing to yield to those motorcycle riders,” he said.

While motorcycle riders have the same rights as other drivers, they have to be more aware of their surroundings because of their size, Pierce said.

“Be constantly scanning back and forth: constantly scanning the horizon, constantly scanning those side streets,” he said. “What that does is allows the motorcycle operator to try to anticipate the actions of another driver.”

Amick said that advice goes for drivers as well.

“We have these bumper stickers (that say) ‘look twice, save a life,’” she said. “If more people did that and were more cautious and aware … there would probably be a lot fewer accidents.”
Comments
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JScarlet
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June 21, 2012
My husband owns and drives a Harley. It seems to us when we are riding that the motorcyclist that do the excessive horse play (putting it mildly) and speeding are people driving these so called "crotch rockets". They behave as though they are on a race track. Then again people who are driving automobiles do not watch what they are doing because they are incased in a shell. I happen to drive a pick up truck and see both sides. It is a shame that all drivers are not more careful and do not watch for each other.
Just Wait
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June 21, 2012
Yes, there are motorcycle riders who speed, drive dangerously and flat do stupid things. But so do people in cars. Everyone needs to remember that the most important thing about driving is to pay attention. Most wrecks are caused by distracted drivers. Turn down the radio, get off the cell phone, put down the burger and pay attention!
PGA
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June 21, 2012
Drivers paying attention is the most serious problem now days. Sit at any major intersection and count the drivers on their cellphones,texting etc.

The recent law prohibiting texting while driving was nothing more than posturing by the State.

If anyone within our state government was serious about cellphone,texting distractions deal with the lobbyists first, car manufacturers next and build a system into the car to eliminate use of the cellphone IF the car ignition is ON.

Problem solved, no more texting, no more cellphone usage on the road, at least the 2 most often occurring distractions have been eliminated.
anonymous
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June 20, 2012
Sorry. But mc riders that take it seriously know that treating every vehicle like it is out to kill you is the name of the game and keeping distance between your bike and the other vehicles is the first step to getting home alive. As for left hand turning vehicles this is the most common problem way that mcs get nailed. Any serious mc rider knows this.

C,F,
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June 20, 2012
I can't tell you how many times I've been driving on Cobb Pkwy. and East West Rd. and motorcycles have been cutting in and out of traffic.

Yes, we have to be cautious as drivers, but motorcycle drivers like this make it really hard!
A Taxpayer
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June 20, 2012
The state needs to implement "Kill a biker, go to jail" laws. No more slaps on the wrist. If a driver is doing something as stupid as taking a U-Turn from the middle lane of traffic, right into the path of a motorcycle, or merging into another lane without looking and plowing right into a motorcycle, killing him or her, that driver needs to be charged with negligent homicide and they need to go to jail for a while. A harsh penalty will solve a lot of problems with inattentive drivers.
namtah
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June 20, 2012
I agree that we should keep an eye out for motorcycles. But, bikers also need to accept some risk and acknowledge that biking, especially in a big city environment, is inherently dangerous - and not just because of their fellow four wheel motorists.

Ms. Amick makes my point for me...

“You don’t have a cage surrounding you to take the impact. You don’t have airbags, and you don’t have a seatbelt. You’re basically out in the open hitting a ton of steel,” she said.

Amick also said drivers may just not understand how quickly a motorcycle can accelerate.

If I accelerated at the rate a motorcycle can accelerate, I would be cited for reckless driving. If I weaved in and out of traffic like motorcycles do I, again, would be cited for reckless driving.

On my trip to Florida last week, ALL of the reckless drivers I encountered were on two wheels. Of course, most two wheel drivers are safe drivers. And think about this. What if all vehicles on the road today were motorcycles? Would it be safer for those drivers or would there be more deaths and serious injury from crashes, drunk driving, and reckless driving?

We need "Kill a biker, go to jail" laws? I don't think so. There are laws already in place that hold individuals accountable for illegal acts that cause accidents (crashes). Besides, does society really need another favored/protected class of citizens?
Hopeless Skeptic
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June 20, 2012
Granted that car drivers need to be cautious--but what's up with motorcyclists on the freeway driving far in excess of the speed limit, and using the dashed lane markings as a separate travel lane BETWEEN other vehicles? That is so needlessly dangerous!
Ann Amick
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June 20, 2012
Very good information, Megan Amick!!!
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