Motorcycle fatalities likely to increase this summer - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Motorcycle fatalities likely to increase this summer

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - If history is any indication, the number of motorcycle deaths on Tennessee roads will increase with the heat of summer.

Tennessee kicked off "Motorcycle Awareness Month" Friday in an effort to decrease traffic accidents and deaths.

Don Smith is the General Manager at Chattanooga's Southern Honda Powersports, the largest Honda motorcycle dealer in the nation. He's been a biking enthusiast for the past 40 years and shared his thoughts with Channel 3 on the recent up tick in motorcycle deaths. He said riding a motorcycle is like driving a car but with 10 times the risk.

"Motorcyclists need to know that they can't be seen. On the other hand, folks that drive cars need to take a second look and look out for bikes because this is the season that there are a lot of bikes out on the road," Don Smith said.

Statewide this year, there's been 22 motorcycle deaths, with a number of wrecks in the Chattanooga area. In 2013, 135 motorcyclists were killed on Tennessee roads. In 2012, 139 bikers died on state roads. In 2011, 114 motorcyclists were killed.

"Well of course, one is too many and for one state to have 135 motorcycle fatalities is just way to much and that's a combination of things," Smith said.

Smith points to things like faulty equipment, DUI, speeding and now more and more inexperienced drivers. He said as gas gets more expensive, younger drivers are trading in cars for bikes.

"And so they're inexperienced and if you have a car mentality while riding a bike, you can get yourself in trouble," he said.

Smith said as the temperatures go up, so do the number of biker deaths. And in the heat of the summer, he wants drivers and riders, alike, to remember this: "They're everywhere right now, when we get days like today, they're going to be everywhere out there so you need to look out for them," Smith said. "Look twice, look out for bikes, be safe."
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