Motorcycle crashes decreasing; Indy motorcyclist still warns against distracted driving

Data pix.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As it gets warmer outside, more motorcycle riders will be out enjoying the weather.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute and Indiana University Public Policy Institute published new statistics in their 2018 Motorcycle Crash Fact Sheet, which shows motorcycle crashes have dropped in the last five years.

Still, Indiana State Police want to remind drivers to watch out for motorcyclists.

Andres Gomez was in a wheelchair last time we caught up with him. He now has a prosthetic leg. Gomez was a motorcyclist involved in an accident last year.

He lost his leg when a car hit him from behind on Interstate 70. His life changed completely.

Now he wants his story to be a reminder to drivers to pay attention on the road.

"You just see everybody driving and texting. It’s like, get off your phone," Gomez said.

According to the data, motorcycles are involved in less than 2% of crashes, but make up nearly 13% of all Indiana traffic deaths.

ISP Sgt. Matt Ames says a lot times, it’s just drivers needing to pay attention.

"When you come up to a stop sign or traffic light, look both directions two times. Give yourself an opportunity to see the headlight on the motorcycle coming at you," Sgt. Ames said.

But it’s not just other drivers. In 2018, the study shows 45% of all motorcycle crashes only involved the motorcycle.

That is why Sgt. Ames believes everyone needs to get up to speed on motorcycles and how they operate.

"A motorcycle, even though it’s a smaller vehicle, it has the same rights as a passenger vehicle or semi-tractor trailer going down the roadway," Sgt. Ames said.

As Gomez works to adjust to his new normal, he wants all drivers to be a little more cautious.

"At the end of the day, the guy on the motorcycle has a family to go home to. You got to respect the road, and you got to respect everyone on the road," Gomez said.

For Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, all drivers are urged to “get up to speed on motorcycles,” as they operate differently than other vehicles.

Below are simple things ISP says all drivers can do for the safety of our two-wheeled friends:

  • Look twice for motorcycles at intersections. It is harder to judge a motorcycle’s speed and distance due to its small size.
  • Use a turn signal and check mirrors twice before changing lanes or merging with traffic. Almost 40% of a car is covered with blind spots.
  • Allow more following distance. Motorcyclists may stop quicker than expected and don’t always use their brakes.
  • Allow motorcycles the full lane's width, as they have the same right-of-way as any other vehicle.
  • Never drive distracted or impaired.

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