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State looks to reduce motorcycle accidents through education

As winter begins to leave Oklahoma, warm weather brings motorcyclists onto the state's roads looking for sun and a sense of freedom. Unfortunately, state officials have noticed that the number of motorcycle accidents has increased in the last few years as the number of motorcyclists has increased. According to the various federal and state agencies, more than 4,000 Americans were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2010 and nearly 5,000 were projected for 2013.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has funded the safe riding program for several years. Troopers from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol are now touring the state to educate residents about safer motorcycle riding by showing them proper riding techniques and motorcycle operation basics. Improper braking by riders is thought to be a leading cause of crashes. Teaching motorcyclists the proper way to brake can keep them from losing their balance and crashing.

One motorcyclist says the campaign will offer casual and amateur riders to work with and learn something from professional riders. Classes for safe motorcycle riding are free, and open to the public.

If the program is effective, motorcyclists who learn to ride more safely should be able to avoid a considerable number of motorcycle accidents. Nonetheless, safe riding alone is not enough, if other motorists fail to notice motorcycles on the road. Statistically, two-thirds of motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle. This often means drivers have violated a cyclist's right of way and caused the crash. Unfortunately, motorcycle riders are nearly 26 times more likely to be killed in an accident than car occupants.

Preventing a motorcycle crash is the responsibility of both motorcycle riders and drivers everywhere in the United States. Drivers heed to be more cautious because motorcyclists have less protection. Failing to do so can be considered negligence in the event of a motorcycle accident.

Source: KXII, "Oklahoma agencies to teach safe motorcycle riding," Ethan Hutchins, Mar. 13, 2014

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