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LEX 18 In-Depth: Motorcycle deaths on the rise in Lexington

Crash alumni
Posted at 7:06 PM, Oct 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 11:13:59-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — An alarming trend has become a devastating reality for two different families after serious motorcycle accidents in Lexington.

Within a day in Lexington, two people were involved in serious motorcycle accidents.

On Monday night, 25-year-old Dylan George was killed in a motorcycle crash on Versailles road. Around the same time Tuesday, another person was hospitalized after a motorcycle crash at the intersection of Tates Creek Road and Alumni Drive.

Data from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet shows fatalities in the state have increased year to year.

In 2020, 85 people were killed in motorcycle-related crashes. In 2021, that number jumped to 99.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says motorcyclists continue to be overrepresented in fatal crashes with bikers being 28 times more likely than people in passenger cars to die in a traffic crash.

Biker Laurie Montoya founded The BikerDown Foundation after witnessing a serious motorcycle accident on a ride with friends. Over the years, Montoya says she’s noticed the alarming trend.

“It's a trauma, it's a tragedy, what our community as motorcycle riders are going through,” said Montoya.

Since 2011, the non-profit has helped riders and their families get through the aftermath of crashes by providing emotional, financial, insurance and legal support.

They’ve even partnered with Karl Truman Law Office to sponsor a Kentucky chapter.

“The thing is, most motorcycle riders are out six to nine months or longer in recovery — that means they're missing car payments. They're not able to pay their rent or their mortgage. Now they're looking at homelessness,” explained Montoya.

There are a number of reasons why accidents happen that range from speeding to not yielding the right of way, to inattentive and distracted driving. Montoya wants people to know that their carelessness can have big consequences.

“I'm a grandmother, a mother, a wife, a business owner. I want to get home just like you. And so, you know, understanding that there's a person behind that helmet, there's a person on that bike,” she said.

Her biggest advice for motorists is that they get an insurance agent to do an insurance review.

“Because there's so many accidents now, motorcycle riders are finding out just how uninsured drivers are. I mean, 50 percent of all drivers and bikers don't have insurance or they have the most basic liability only. If an injured rider goes into an ER for an accident, the minimum his emergency room bill is going to be $45,000 because they can consider it a trauma,” said Montoya.

Kentucky State Police and the Transportation Cabinet shared the following tips for drivers and motorcyclists.

Tips for drivers:

  • Put the phone down and pay attention. Driving while distracted increases risk for all road users; 
  • Perform a regular visual check by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections; 
  • Use a turn signal before changing lanes or merging with traffic to alert others of your intentions; 
  • Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle.  Motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed; 
  • Obey the speed limit. Driving at the posted limit allows you to see, identify and react to possible obstacles; 
  • Drive sober. Alcohol and drugs affect judgment, balance and reaction time. Always make a plan for a safe ride home; 
  • Buckle up. Wearing a seat belt gives you the best protection against injury and death; 
  • Allow at least a three-second following distance between you and the vehicle in front of you; 

Tips for motorcyclists:

  • Wear a DOT-compliant helmet; 
  • Use turn signals for every turn or lane change, and combine with hand signals;  
  • Wear brightly colored protective gear and use reflective tape and stickers to increase visibility; 
  • Position in the lane where most visible to other drivers;  
  • Pay attention by avoiding any action that takes your eyes, your ears or your mind off the road and traffic; 
  • Obey the speed limit. Driving at the posted limit allows you to see, identify and react to possible obstacles; 
  • Ride sober. Alcohol and/or drugs can impair your judgment, coordination and reaction time; and 
  • Take a motorcycle rider training course.

Find more information at ride.ky.gov