Motorcycle fatalities are on the rise across the state and Southwest Georgia is no exception, that according to new numbers from the Department of Highway Safety. Now, law enforcement is stepping up efforts to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
"There's nothing like throwing on your helmet and getting on that bike to relieve all your stress," said Jamie Lewis. Lewis is new to motorcycle riding and says safety is the number one priority for her and her fellow riders. "It's not as easy as it looks," she added. "Anyone who's out there riding definitely has been through a lot to get where they are."
According to a recent study by the Department of Safety, traffic accidents in Georgia involving motorcyclists result in injury or death for 72 percent of operators, compared to just 16 percent for cars. As a result, the Georgia State Patrol is already setting up safety checkpoints designed to improve motorcycle safety.
Susan Johannsen says every motorcycle sold at Southern Sound and Security comes with a safety suggestion. "It's extremely important to take safety courses so you can develop yourself as a better, more defensive motorcycle driver," said Johannsen.
Motorcycle safety starts with wearing the proper gear â" a full helmet, knee pads, elbow pads, and reflective jackets. But it's not enough for motorcycle riders themselves to know the rules of the road. That's because the biggest danger to riders is often the other motorists around them that simply aren't looking out for motorcycles.
"The motorcycle drivers are the safest drivers, they just have to be aware of the other vehicles on the road," said Rebecca Blankenship of Affordable Insurance.
Motorcyclists should avoid riding in the blind spots of other vehicles, consider flashing their lights when stopping or slowing, and use their horn whenever necessary.
"It's up to the motorcycle driver really to take their safety into their own hands," added Johannsen.