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Police see increase in motorcycle crashes involving life-threatening injury

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Motorcycle crashes involving life-threatening injury have increased in the past few months, according to Gainesville Police Department.

Half of the Traffic Homicide Investigation callouts in Gainesville have involved motorcycles this year, Sgt. Joe Raulerson with the Gainesville Police Traffic Safety Team said in an email.

“Keeping the roadway safe for all users is the responsibility of both motorists and motorcyclists – everyone can do their part,” he said.

Poor speed and spatial judgement of other drivers play a large role in motorcycle crashes, according to GPD.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 40 percent of two-vehicle crashes involving a motorcycle occur when another vehicle turns left while the motorcycle is going straight, passing or overtaking the vehicle.

GPD recommends motorcyclists use reflective stickers on helmets or wear brightly colored helmets and clothing because riders who are visible are less likely to have their right of way violated.

The department sees a “huge lack of helmets” among motorcycle and scooter riders, said Ben Tobias, GPD spokesman.

Helmets “don’t look cool, they may not be comfortable, they may mess up your hair, but I always say a helmet is much more comfortable than, you know, a serious brain injury,” he said.

Gainesville Harley-Davidson General Manager Kevin Lytle said to legally ride a motorcycle in Florida, one must become educated on motorcycle safety.

“It’s actually a state law now that you take a motorcycle safety class so that you get on your license a motorcycle also endorsement,” he said.

For more information about motorcycle safety, visit the Ride Smart Florida website.

About Matt Sheehan

Matt can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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