Temperatures climbed to 90 degrees Tuesday, but the heat didn’t stop nearly 100 motorcycle riders from showing up for the fourth annual “Motorcycle Safety Awareness Event” in Frankfort. In the parking lot of the Kentucky State Police headquarters, police, vendors and citizens gathered to spread the word about motorcycle safety. Officer Larry Farris, with KSP’s commercial vehicle enforcement division, shared his personal story about the dangers of motorcycles with those gathered.
In 2006, in spite of his 15 years of experience riding motorcycles, Farris suffered a broken back, broken shoulder, herniated disc in his neck and a serious concussion after a motorcycle wreck.
He wanted to make sure that other riders knew the importance of wearing proper safety gear.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if I didn’t have my gear on, I wouldn’t be here telling you this story today,” Farris said.
Displayed behind him while he spoke was the type of gear he was wearing during his wreck along with the actual helmet he credits with saving his live.
Following the gathering at KSP, motorcyclists took a police-escorted 17-mile ride through Franklin and Woodford counties and some returned to the police headquarters to take part in a safety seminar.
“The day is set up to be a fun day,” KSP lieutenant David Jude said. “We’re trying to set up an environment for awareness.”
Jude said KSP focuses on motorcycle safety with a “two prong approach.”
First, they educate motorcycle riders, encouraging them to take the proper safety precautions, such as wearing protective equipment.
Second, they want to reach out to drivers of other vehicles with sayings like, “look twice, save a life,” making sure they have the knowledge to safely share the roads with motorcycles.
“It’s not about the laws that we have on the books,” Jude said. “It’s about putting our attention back on the road.”
“It’s driver inattention, that’s the real root of the problem,” he said.
So far in 2011, there have been 18 motorcycle fatalities in Kentucky. Eleven of those riders were not wearing helmets.
When comparing this number to the same time last year, there are 43 fewer fatalities.
In spite of the improvement, Jude said KSP would continue working to make the road a safer place for motorcycle drivers.
“We’re always working toward zero deaths on our roadways,” Jude said. “Days like today illustrate that.”
For more information about motorcycle safety, contact the Kentucky State Police at (502) 782-1781 or go online and visit the KSP website, www.kentuckystatepolice.org.