Look twice and save a life — that's what Michigan state officials are reminding drivers on the roads this summer, to double check for motorcyclists.
At least two people died in motorcycle crashes, among multiple other accidents, in West Michigan over Memorial Day weekend. Motorcycle fatalities were up nine percent last year nationwide.
"Lately, we've been seeing what appears to be a lot more motorcycle crashes," Lt. Michelle Robinson with Michigan State Police says. "It just seems like there's an uptick, an increase in risky driving behavior."
She says that drivers need to look out for motorcyclists.
"We'll see where a motorist will look left, look right, look left again as they're pulling out. And in that timeframe, there'll be a motorcycle that's there, and then they'll turn in front of that motorcycle," Lt. Robinson says.
She also wants to remind drivers to check their blind spot for motorcycles, and while it's not state law, she's encouraging riders to wear helmets.
"I'm a pretty strong advocate for having the students take responsibility for their driving," Steven Lick, Grand Rapids Community College Motorcycle Safety Rider Education program director, says.
He says motorcyclists have to be more careful, too.
"The people who are riding on the street that don't know the proper way to start out and stop will have a tendency to start out and swerve in one direction or another," Lick says. "They'll also accelerate very quickly and then find out they're going too fast and then have to slow down. And so they're kind of jerky or not smooth with their controls."
Eighty four percent of crashes with motorcycles happen on the streets, so it's important for drivers and motorcyclists to be cautious everywhere.
"Motorcyclists need to take responsibility for their driving, accept the fact that they're small and hard to see, so do what you can to be seen. And the cars need to be aware that the motorcycles exist, and just realize that they're small, so it's really hard to judge their speed and give them a little space," Lick says. "We have people losing their lives every day because of this, it seems like."
Because it's summertime now, Michigan State Police say they want drivers to remember to look out for bicyclists too, as well as construction workers. They also reminding drivers to move over on the highway when there's a disabled vehicle or a first responder out there.
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