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.”