Hundreds of bikers came to the county this past weekend for the East Coast Biker Rally. While many came from far and wide, one Aberdeen man had a close call.
At 7:46 p.m. on Saturday, Richard A. Dailey, 25, of Aberdeen was heading north on Highway U.S. 1 when he was struck head-on by a car heading south. The driver was 20-year-old Brittany R. Edwards of Rockingham. Dailey was on a Harley Davidson when he was struck by Edwards’ Pontiac.
Edwards vehicle crossed the median and sideswiped Dailey’s Harley, which was thrown across the road and Dailey was ejected onto the grass median. He was taken by EMS to Chapel Hill.
According to the Governor’s Highway Safety Patrol, motorcyclists fatalities have steadily increased over the past decade. In 2007, there was a seven percent increase in fatalities from 4,837 in 2006, to 5,154. Per vehicle mile traveled in 2007, motorcyclists were about 37 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a motor vehicle traffic crash and 9 times more likely to be injured.
In the past five years, motorcycle helmet use has been increasing slowly but steadily – increased from 48 percent in 2005 to 67 percent in 2009. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,829 motorcyclists in 2008. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 823 lives could have been saved.
In 2008, 30 percent of all fatally injured motorcycle riders had BAC levels of .08 g/dL or higher. Forty-three percent of motorcycle riders who died in single-vehicle crashes had BAC levels of .08 or higher.
In 2008, 35 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 23 percent for passenger car drivers, 19 percent for light-truck drivers, and 8 percent for large-truck drivers.
The road goes both ways, and drivers need to be aware of motorcyclists as well. Drivers of other passenger vehicles should always remember to follow these steps to help keep motorcyclists safe:
Allow a motorcyclist the full lane width. Although it may seem as though there is enough room in a traffic lane for both an automobile and a motorcycle, the motorcycle needs the full room to maneuver safely. Do not try to share the lane.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic. This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow and find a safe lane position.
Remember that motorcyclists are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a quick look due to their smaller size. Always make a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or leaving a lane of traffic and at intersections.
Don’t be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a motorcycle–motorcycle signals usually are not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
Remember that road conditions which are minor annoyances to passenger vehicles pose major hazards to motorcyclists. Be aware that motorcyclists may need to change speed or adjust their position within a lane suddenly in reaction to road and traffic conditions such as potholes, gravel, wet or slippery surfaces, pavement seams, railroad crossings, and grooved pavement.
Allow more following distance, three or four seconds, when following a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency. And don’t tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.
Safety tips courtesy of the Governor’s Highway Safety Program.
Staff Writer Dawn Kurry can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ex. 43, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.