10:37pm

Fri June 22, 2012
The Commonwealth

KY Sees Spike in Motorcycle Crashes

Frankfort – The recent spike in motorcycle crashes has Kentucky State Police and first responders looking for chances to reach out to the motoring public. That opportunity came Friday during KSP's fifth annual Motorcycle Safety Day event in Frankfort. There was no finger pointing, but an emphatic message was given to both drivers and riders for the need to "share the road."

KSP spokesman Lt. David Jude said motorcycle crashes are up 52 percent in 2012 over the same time period last year.

“Unfortunately, already this year, we have experienced 818 motorcycle crashes resulting in 33 deaths,” Jude said.

Jude said KSP is utilizing a two-prong approach to this deadly trend by reaching out to both the motoring public and motorcycle riders.

“It’s crucial that motorists always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections,” Jude said in a statement released by KSP. “Because of their smaller size, motorcycles are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot.”

“Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too,” Jude said. “They should follow the rules of the road, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted and always wear a helmet and protective gear.”

Jude was flanked by first responders, law enforcement, safety organizations and representatives from the motorcycle industry as he delivered his message.

“More importantly, we are seeing the need for experienced riders to take refresher training courses," he said. "Training needs to be a lifelong learning experience to keep a rider’s skill sharp.”

Billy Dukes, of PHI Air Medical, unveiled a new "Rider Alert" program to the crowd of more than 200.

PHI Air Medical personnel are often on the scene of severe motorcycle crashes transporting victims by helicopter to the nearest hospital, Dukes said.

“For this reason, our agency has developed a "Rider Alert" program designed to provide rapid and accurate medical data to first responders at the scene,” Dukes said. “This information will assist with a rider’s medical treatment in the event the victim is not able to verbally communicate with emergency personnel.”

The Rider Alert cards are placed inside riders' helmets and contain vital, life-saving information, emergency contact, and any important medical history. When first responders arrive on the scene of a motorcycle crash, a one-inch, round sticker on the outside of the helmet will indicate that the victim has the Rider Alert card. The sticker also warns bystanders not to remove the helmet, which could prevent further injury.

“Our hope is that through educational events and rides like this one today, we can spread the word about this free safety program offered to riders across the Commonwealth,” Dukes said.

For more information about the Rider Alert program, riders can contact the agency at rideralert.org or call the Lexington regional office at 859-278-1062.

The day was capped off with a police escorted ride through scenic Woodford and Franklin Counties passing by horse farms, distilleries, the Kentucky Veteran’s Memorial and KSP’s new training academy. Nearly 150 motorcyclists participated in the ride to promote motorcycle safety awareness.

The ride was posted to www.youtube.com.