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I read today that a serious motorcycle accident happened in Jackson County earlier this morning. From reading the article, it sounds like the gentleman on the motorcycle was seriously injured.

One woman said she came upon the accident scene and found Johnson who quit breathing several times before emergency personnel arrived, according to the report. CPR was used to resuscitate Johnson who suffered head trauma from the accident, police said.

The story unfortunately reminded me of the numerous cases I have handled involving people who were badly injured or killed while riding motorcycles. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say people shouldn’t ride motorcycles, or that the accident was the fault of the gentleman in this morning’s story. I know lots of people who love riding motorcycles. My only desire to help people recognize the risks involved so that they take the appropriate precautions.

I always hear people say that they are “safe drivers,” so they don’t have anything to worry about. Unfortunately, even “safe drivers” cannot control the actions of the other drivers they share the road with. I always tell people, “It’s not you that you need to be worried about. Its the other person who might blow a stop light or cross the center line in front of you.”

The whole issue with motorcycles is that they obviously provide very little protection if you are involved in an accident compared with a car. Most people are able to walk away from a relatively minor accident in a car, whereas even relatively low-speed collisions on a motorcycle will cause fractured bones to the rider, at a minimum.

This is why helmets are so important, as are protective clothing such as chaps, long shirts and/or even leather coats. Also, this is why the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has a separate license endorsement for motorcyclists, because the State has an interest in making sure that people who ride motorcycles are properly trained.

If nothing else convinces you that there are inherent dangers in riding motorcycles, keep in mind that insurance companies have specific underwriting requirements for motorcycles. Coverages that may apply to you if you are involved in an accident while riding in a car other than your own, will generally not apply if you are riding on a motorcycle.

For example, if you are riding as a passenger in a friend’s car and are in an accident, there are probably some insurance coverages from your own policy that will help pay medical bills and possibly provide uninsured/underinsured coverage as well. These same coverages will not apply if you are involved in an accident on your friend’s motorcycle. The reason for this is because the insurance industry calculates the risk of injury on a motorcycle at a much greater rate than the risk of injury while in a car.

There are great organizations that support motorcycle safety, such as ABATE of Indiana. ABATE of Indiana promotes motorcylce safety through numerous education programs and initiatives. Their education programs are geared for new, intermediate, and advanced motorcycle riders, and no doubt, have helped thousands of people to be safe riders over the years.

So, as always, just remember to put safety first!!

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