Summer is a Deadly Time for Motorcyclists


Published 06/24 2014 11:41AM

Updated 06/24 2014 12:08PM

KOLR (SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- Whether it is inattentive drivers behind the wheel hitting unsuspecting motorcyclists, or cyclists taking unnecessary risks -- June and July are among the deadliest months for motorcyclists on the roads.

Safety specialist say one issue is the sheer number of what she called "fair weather" motorcyclists on the road, those who don't have a lot of experience and may lack confidence. Then there are the cyclists who speed and do tricks inside the city.

A trauma nurse says many motorcyclists are being hit by drivers not paying attention.

When it comes to motorcycle safety, the danger goes both ways.

"Majority of the motorcyclists someone hits them. It's usually head. When they lay them down, it's pelvis and leg, arm," says Mercy Trauma RN Velvet Shoults
Motorcyclists dangerous to other drivers. "Their goal is speed. Speed, tricks. I watch them passing on 65 standing up on their handle bars doing stupid stuff. The unfortunate thing is he won't just injure himself, he'll injure a passenger."

Shoults says when a motorcycle trauma comes to the ER they want a vital piece of information.

"Helmeted, not helmeted makes a huge difference in where we go," explains Shoults.

The helmet can be the difference between life and life support.

"'Because that helmet shock absorbs and yeah we're worried you have a head injury, but we know it's not going to be as significant if you are un-helmeted," says Shoults.  "It's the difference between I am going to transfer this egg in it's shell or out of its shell."

Community Safety Specialist Lori Minor says their classes are designed to give new motorcyclists the skills they need to survive.

"The whole idea of the safety class is to give you skills and survivability so if a car does pull out in front of you, you know what to do," says Minor. "We want them to be seen and we want them to be safe. We like motorcycles. We want to promote that behavior because it is cost effective, it's just as safe as any other vehicle when ridden properly."

Shoults, who is a motorcycle rider, says helmet critics are right, motorcyclists failing to wear helmets will not necessarily die.

"We placed six, 20-to-26-year-old kids in nursing homes last year," says Shoults.

According to the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety, about 25 percent of all 2012 passenger vehicle crashes ended in injury or death, but almost 80 percent of all motorcycle crashes ended in injury or death.

98 percent of the people who died in 2012 motorcycle-related crashes on Missouri roads were the motorcycle riders.

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