Look twice, save a life


By Amantha Garpiel

[email protected]

TROY — As the weather gets warmer, more and more riders are dusting off their motorcycles. Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak shared statistics and tips for riders to stay safe and for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on the road.

According to statistics obtained from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, since March of 2021, there have been 86 motorcycle-related crashes in Miami County. Keeping riders and drivers safe and informed is a priority for Duchak.

“Obviously, make sure they have their motorcycle endorsement and are properly licensed. Always wear a helmet, that has saved a lot of people (from) serious injury and death,” said Duchak. “Most of the motorcycle crashes (in the county) that are involved with a motor vehicle, the rider is not at fault. It’s typically the person in the vehicle or the car who fails to yield or just doesn’t see them (riders).”

“With vehicles, we just encourage (drivers), especially in the warmer months when motorcycles start coming out, when you’re at a stop sign or at a light, turning right on red, to look, look and look again to make sure that there’s not any traffic coming your way,” said Duchak.

One of the best ways to stay safe as a motorcyclist, according to Duchak, is to maintain one’s license and motorcycle endorsements. To help riders maintain safety knowledge and endorsements, there are numerous rider course options in the area.

Training courses through Motorcycle Ohio begin as early as March and run through early November. The state has over 600,000 endorsed riders, making Ohio one of the largest states for total ridership, according to a press release from the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Education and public awareness are keys to making our roadways safer for all motorists.

“Damaged roads and obstacles, motorcycles especially need to look out for fallen branches, oil spills. I know in the summer there are a lot of complaints where people will blow their grass clippings off, after they’ve mowed their yard, out into the road. You really shouldn’t do that. That can, especially for motorcycles, cause (riders) to lose control,” Duchak said regarding other dangers to motorcyclists.

A press release from the Ohio Department of Public Safety states, “since 2017, there have been 1,074 fatal crashes involving motorcycles in Ohio. In 56% of those crashes, the rider was at-fault. An un-endorsed rider was involved in 45% of those crashes.”

The Motorcycle Ohio program provides different levels of motorcycle safety courses for riders based on skill levels and objectives. Funded by motorcycle plate fees and class registrations, Motorcycle Ohio strives to provide affordable, effective education programs at just $50 per course that includes the cost of student workbooks, according to Ohio Department of Public Safety. Students must have a validated motorcycle temporary permit before the first riding session. Upon successful completion of any course, the student will earn a 60-day Bureau of Motor Vehicles skill test waiver for a motorcycle license or endorsement.

Motorcycle Ohio courses are being taught at 36 training sites around Ohio. To find out more about how to prepare for a course and enroll, visit motorcycle.ohio.gov.

For courses located more locally, riders can visit https://training.msf-usa.org/res/street/enroll/Classes.aspx?tuid=jaKnShHjScZlY1X%2fCGpbfg%3d%3d and register for courses in Troy through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Riders can also search for other MSF rider courses outside of Troy at https://training.msf-usa.org/RES/Street/Enroll/StreetIntro.aspx?tuid=4evq6uO9RV12Zi78ApQ93Q%3d%3d.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation is an independent, safety-minded, not-for-profit organization that is funded by a group of multi-national motorcycle distributors and manufacturers — including BMW, Harley Davidson, Honda, Indian Motorcycle, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha — who all have a focus on safety, according to the MSF website, https://msf-usa.org.

“Motorcyclists need to really drive defensively, for the reasons I earlier stated, we have an aging population and a very distracted population — with the phones, with everything else that’s going on and everybody’s in a hurry and they just aren’t taking the time to look, look, and look again. I just want to try to get that message out (be aware and look again) as much as possible. It goes without saying, not to be driving a motorcycle or vehicle while impaired or under the influence of drugs,” said Duchak.

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