21

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

21. No I am not talking about the age at which you can drink, although that is it. Nope, I am sadly talking about the number of motorcyclists killed Nebraska roadways this year. 21 lives taken in motorcycle crashes, some are alcohol related and some are not, but the sheer number of lives lost has to make you think twice.

According to the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety, this number is the highest it has been since 2004. Actually, according to Rose White of AAA Nebraska, the last time our number was over 21, was in 1987 when there were 31 motorcycle fatalities, a little over a year before our state helment law went into effect in 1989. So why now. Why do these numbers seem to be skyrocketing and what can we do about it!

Fred Zwonechek, head of the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety suggests the rise in number may be attributed to the weather. Seven of the 21 deaths have occured in the month of September. As many of you may have noticed, this month has been a perfect one to be outside. And for motorcyclists, that means being out on the road. The crash that started this conversation happened in Lincoln on Wednesday,  (http://www.omaha.com/article/20110929/NEWS01/709299829/-1) and our hearts go out to the family of Dennis Simpson.

So what do we do. The weather is perfect to ride, and people are going to. So how do we make sure they are safe out there. The fact is motorcycles are dangerous. Does this mean we shouldn’t ride them, no. It simply means we all need to use extra caution when riding or driving around them. For motorcyclists, it means always following the posted signs and speed limits, being on a bike doesn’t not exempt you from following the rules of the road. It also means taking the time to really know how to control your motorcycle, they have a lot of power, so make sure you know what you are doing before you get out on the road. Most importantly, always, always, always…did I say always…WEAR YOUR HELMET. It can save your life!

For the rest of us traveling on the roads. It is important that we pay extra attention, follow the rules of the road as well and be respectful of the motorcyclists on the road around us. If we can all work together to share the road, maybe we will see the number of fatalities drop back down. While we can never get the lives lost back, we can learn and become more respectful and better drivers to help keep another life from being taken.

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