In Light of Recent Crashes, Riders Talk Motorcycle Safety

By Megan Carpenter |

Published 04/18 2014 08:04PM

Updated 04/18 2014 11:17PM

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt.- Vermont's Department of Motor Vehicles reports an average of eight motorcycle fatalities in the state each year.  Already this year, two riders have died.

Don Erling has been riding motorcycles for 40 years and recalls his first crash.

"There was a stop sign at the crossroad and another motorcyclist sitting at that stop sign, which I assumed he was going to stop and not pull out and he didn't," says Erling, owner of Land Air motorcycle shop.

According to The Motorcycle Safety Foundation, half of all fatal motorcycle crashes involve a car or truck.  Because of this, the DMV's motorcycle safety course teaches even veteran riders to be visible and aware.

"Ride with a headlight on and be as visible as possible," says Paul Graves, a safety course instructor and motorcycle rider.  "If you think the person isn't seeing you, make some kind of motion so they do see you."

Graves says drivers can also be proactive on the road.

"Allow more following distance, says three or four second," says Graves.  "If it's raining, know that motorcycles can't stop as quickly as a car can."

Another potential hazard for motorcyclists can be the condition of the road they are riding on.

"Potholes, cracks in the road, when you've got four wheels it's one thing, but when you've got two, if you get a wheel caught in a crack it's a major problem," says Erling.

If a rider is involved in a crash, Erling and Graves agree wearing the proper clothing can decrease the risk for serious injury.

"Proper attire is a DOT approved helmet, full fingered heavy gloves, motorcycle specific jacket, pants, and over the ankle footwear," says Graves.

Vermont's DMV has eight locations around the state where motorcycle safety courses are available.  To sign-up, click here.  

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