(WKBN) – As the weather turns from ice to sunshine and people look to get outside, the Ohio State Highway Patrol expects there to be more motorcyclists on the road.
More riders can mean more accidents. According to Sergeant Ray Santiago, in 2020, there were 3,971 motorcycle-related accidents in Ohio. In 2019, there were 3,581.
“Be patient, be courteous, be vigilant, and obey some of our most basic traffic laws to keep everyone safe,” Santiago said.
Dave Niec is a local motorcyclist and also the president of the Youngstown Chapter of K-Dogs Kidz Mission. He said one thing that frustrates him and other riders is not using a turn signal and making last-second turns.
“I’ve had a lot of close calls. I’ve had to completely lock up the breaks. I’ve had some buddies be hit and be in real bad accidents and things like that, though, so it’s definitely a reality that every biker knows can happen,” Niec said.
Santiago and Niec both stressed the importance of not driving impaired or being distracted by a cell phone.
“They’re the most susceptible in the smallest of vehicles on the roadways, so that rider, when involved in traffic crashes, are at a higher risk of becoming severely injured,” Santiago said.
“I was riding down 422. A guy was in the far left lane, and he had to turn onto 46, and he had to do it last-minute, and he did no turn signal or anything, and he just whipped over all the lanes, and I had to completely lock it up. I thought I was going to be laying down, but luckily, I saved it. That was probably the closest call. I was a couple inches from him by the time I stopped,” Niec said.
Niec also realizes there are two sides to every coin and encourages motorcyclists to also use their turn signals and avoid last-second turns, when possible.
“What we recommend is for every 10 mph that you leave at least one vehicle length between yourself and the other vehicle,” Santiago said.
While it’s still a little early to be cutting the lawn, Niec wants to remind people to blow their grass clippings back into their yard after cutting. They can be like ice to a motorcyclists driving over them.
“A friend of mine broke her wrist when she was starting out because of that. She hit some grass and went off the road. I think that’s a huge thing that people need to realize,” Niec said.