July 8, 2006
Motorcycle safety is becoming a grave concern in Georgia and across the country.
Just this last week Georgia Southern receiver Teddy Craft died in a motorcycle crash. Earlier this year a Fort Gordon soldier died in an accident in downtown Augusta.
To help combat the problem, Fort Gordon hosted a safety program called Riders Helping Riders. News 12's Lynnsey Gardner was there.
Raymond Jones hasn't been on a bike in ten years. He first started riding twenty years ago, and since then he's lost many friends to accidents. He also nearly lost his own life a decade ago.
Recently Raymond decided it was time to give his favorite pastime another go...but he worries about the atmosphere among some motorcyclists these days.
"I think there's a lot of shows on the Internet, and a lot of riders copying these trends and stunts. It's very dangerous, and I think it is very important to practice good safety," he says.
Raymond is now a member of the Motorcycle Mentor group. He says the group hopes to educate soldiers returning from war that there are still great dangers here on our own roads.
"Motorcycle Mentors is a program set up to stress safety," he says.
At Riders Helping Riders, Raymond and other riders learned many safety tips. They also learned the importance of always wearing the proper gear, which includes boots, pants, gloves, long sleeves, eye protection, and, of course, a helmet.
Alcohol also plays a big part in motorcycle accidents. In Georgia, almost one third of all motorcycle fatalities involve alcohol.
"There is not as much checking and uniformity in the motorcycle community," says Chad Burns, chief instructor for Georgia's Motorcycle Safety Program. "Motorcyclists still drink and ride. We still see rallies. It's still a part of the culture, and we've got to change that."
Burns says he hopes the program he teaches will begin to save more lives.
The Riders Helping Riders program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Drivers' Services. The goal is to get out the word about safety using the one resource riders trust most: other riders.
There's more information on the program at the Georgia Highway Safety website.