Sgt. Bryan Slavik, with the Great Falls Police Department, says people aren't used to motorcycles on the road after a long winter, so motorcycle accidents start popping up in the summer". Slavik says, "we see drag racing and motorcycles going way too fast on our local streets".
Bryan Carkhuff, Parts Associate at Big Sky Harley Davidson, says, "for the majority of the time, motorcyclists are more aware than other vehicles just because you are out in the open". Part of the problem is cars just aren't expecting or don't see motorcycles. Carkhuff advises, "be aware of your surroundings, be courteous, and always check your blind spots". He adds, "casualties do go up because people aren't paying attention".
Driving defensively is a good way to keep you safe. Carkhuff says, "keep your distance from other vehicles. Make sure you have plenty of room when you're stopping. Leave plenty of space besides a vehicle, especially when you're passing".
Carkhuff also advises that there's safety in numbers. He says, "it is better to ride in groups because you're better seen that way". Carkhuff continues, "if you ride in a group try to ride in pairs and act as one vehicle".
Your best defense is protective gear. Carkhuff says, "protective gear: helmets, gloves, leather, over the ankle boots". Legally you don't have to wear a helmet, however it could mean the difference between life and death. Carkhuff says, "I'm a firm believer in helmets. I've had one save my life. I hit a deer on a motorcycle. I still have the helmet. I keep it for a keepsake".
Leather isn't just making a fashion statement. Carkhuff says, "leather holds up better, it's water resilient, and holds up better in a crash".
The key to staying safe is to be proactive, be aware, and drive defensively. Carkhuff says, "it's just as safe as anything. There's probably more car accidents than motorcycle crashes".