"I hear the same stories over and over again,” Jim Gladstone says in the video above. Gladstone is the president of West Coast ABATE of Florida, a non-profit organization that promotes motorcycle safety. His comments were made to WTSP-TV in regards to the motorcycle accident that killed Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Shoulta on April 27, 2012, in Pasco County. Shoulta was riding his motorcycle southbound on Seven Springs Boulevard while off-duty when another driver turned left toward a gas station and directly into Shoulta’s path, WTSP reported.
To demonstrate Gladstone’s point in the video, less than a week before Shoulta’s death, a 28-year-old motorcyclist was badly injured when a car turned into his path on Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. And WTSP also reported that on April 9, a 26-year-old motorcyclist was killed on U.S. Route 41 in Bradenton when a car turned left in front of him.
These terrible accidents should be kept in mind by all motorists in the Sunshine State and throughout the nation, as May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The annual initiative is supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and comes at an important time when more and more motorcycles are bound to be hitting roads across the country.
Drivers should keep these tips in mind to avoid being involved in a collision with a motorcycle:
- Look twice for motorcyclists at intersections, where they may be making a left turn.
- Motorcycles can easily disappear into a driver’s blind spots or become hidden behind objects such as signs, trees or other vehicles.
- Motorcyclists do not always brake when slowing down and the lack of brake lights makes it critical to maintain a safe following distance.
- The smaller size of motorcycles makes it difficult to accurately assess their speeds and distances, so it is safest to assume they are traveling quicker than it might appear.
- Certain obstructions on the road can be a larger threat to motorcyclists than other vehicles, and motorists should allow riders enough space to react.
- Slippery surfaces or other adverse road conditions make it tougher for motorcyclists to stop.
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