Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Law Prompts Rider Reality Check; THE RISKS Nationwide, Motorcycle Accident Deaths More Than Doubled between 1997 and 2007. THE RESPONSE A Jacksonville Outfit Teaches Motorcycle Safety in a Two-Day Course

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

New Law Prompts Rider Reality Check; THE RISKS Nationwide, Motorcycle Accident Deaths More Than Doubled between 1997 and 2007. THE RESPONSE A Jacksonville Outfit Teaches Motorcycle Safety in a Two-Day Course

Article excerpt

Byline: LARRY HANNAN

Tammy Dennard has been riding motorcycles since she was a girl.

The Jacksonville resident never had any formal training on how to ride, but didn't expect to learn anything new when she took a motorcycle safety training course last week.

She learned a lot.

Dennard, 46, said she understands how better to make turns on a motorcycle and also how to come to a complete stop and leave a safe distance between herself and other vehicles.

People like Dennard are heading to motorcycle safety classes because of a new law requiring the safety class before they can get motorcycle endorsements on their driver's licenses. The law is technically for new riders, but many long-term riders have never gotten motorcycle endorsements on their licenses and are going to the class so they can legally ride their bikes.

The law was passed because of concern over the rising number of motorcycle fatalities in Florida.

Over the past five years, the number of motorcycle deaths in Florida has skyrocketed, according to statistics from the Florida Highway Patrol. But the number of deaths didn't increase in 2007.

Michael Dobbs, the owner and instructor of Motorcycle Safety Training, which offered the motorcycle safety course Dennard attended at the Morocco Shrine Temple, said riders are learning the importance of safety. The school is accredited and charges $220 for the two-day course.

Nationally, the number of motorcycle deaths has increased each year since 1999, according to statistics from the Governors Highway Safety Association, which represents state highway safety offices.

The number of motorcycle deaths nationwide increased from 2,110 in 1997 to 5,154 in 2007.

Deaths have dropped for people in cars, so the rise in motorcycle deaths is frustrating, said Jonathan Adkins, spokesman for the GHSA.

A reported 41,059 people were killed in highway crashes in 2007, the lowest number of deaths since 1994.

THE ISSUE OF HELMETS

Adkins said states such as Florida made a mistake in repealing a law that required motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. Under Florida law, motorcycle riders can ride without a helmet as long as they have at least $10,000 of medical insurance for injuries incurred while riding a motorcycle. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.