Kyle Dyer: It’s now 6:06 on this Thursday. At least three crashes in the last few weeks have involved motorcycles. Some of the victims have not survived. As the weather gets warmer more motorcyclists and cyclists are heading out on the city streets, and that’s where we’re seeing the majority of the crashes. 9 News Reporter Vida Urbonas is downtown in Denver this morning. Vida Urbonas, this is a really big safety issue. Big.
Vida Urbonas: It really is, and we’re talking to experts all morning long trying to make you as a driver on the road more aware. A motorcyclist more aware as well, and one of those key elements for motorcyclists, especially as we are getting into spring, so many more people are out and maybe just a little rusty on the road both drivers and motorcyclists as well. There’s a lot of gear now to protect you out there. Joining me now is the owner of Erico Motorsports, we have John Beldock, and my goodness you have so many – just like this jacket is absolutely beautiful, but yet safe at the same time too, but what should people doing out there right now just to be more safe?
John Bedlock: Absolutely, so in addition to the gear that we have, and we can talk about that a little bit later. In addition to protective gear, the most protective thing you have is your brain, and so we really have to be aware we call it situational awareness. We have to be aware of our surroundings at all times, and we have to drop the ego. So, a big thing is that right now in the springtime we are all a little bit rusty because we haven’t been riding all winter long, and so we have to be even more conscious of the fact that we have to keep ourselves protected. So in addition to the protective gear, we’ve got to use our heads and we always have to be in the right spot in traffic. We always have to be anticipating the fact that there are distracted drivers on the road, and we have to anticipate the fact that there may be other drivers that may bring a little bit of ego into the drive as well. So we have to be ready for that. We have to remember that our motorcycle only takes up about three feet worth of space, and so if somebody was to change lanes and come into your space on the road, it doesn’t take a huge correction to get out of the way. It takes very little adjustment.
Vida Urbonas: Ok, thank you so much. And coming up in about 30 minutes we’re going to put you on a bike. We’re going to show more, and we’re also going to talk about what drivers like me need to know out there as well just to keep folks safe out there on the road.
Vida Urbonas: They really are. They want people to know to be safe. We’re outside Erico Motorsports in downtown Denver, 28th and Walnut. Joining me now is the owner, John Beldock, and we’re talking about what every motorcyclist needs to know to stay safe this morning.
John Bedlock: Right, so there’s a few things you need to know to stay safe. First is, you got to have gear that’s comfortable. It’s gotta be protective. You always have to have your gear on at all times. We’ll talk about that more later. You have to understand how your motorcycle is controlled, and you have to be comfortable using those controls. And so practice, practice, practice. Training is great and we can talk more about that later as well.
Vida Urbonas: Ok we’ll talk to you about more of that, really go into detail more in about that an hour from now. But joining me now is Scott O’Sullivan from The O’Sullivan Law Firm who sees a lot of these motorcycle crash cases, and you’ve seen some horrible horrible cases. What’s the worst when it comes to the most common type of accidents that you see.
Scott O’Sullivan: The most common accident that we see is a driver of a car making a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist coming in the opposite direction. And the motorcyclist has no time to prepare or stop for that, and that’s where we see some of our most typical and most terrible accidents we see.
Vida Urbonas: What are some things that that you and I can do as a motorist, because we’re just seeing so many more motorcycles out there and we’re seeing so many more crashes all the sudden as we head into the spring.
Scott O’Sullivan: The first thing you do, is if you’re driving and you’re making a left across a busy intersection, let’s say Wadsworth and you see a lot of traffic and you think to yourself “I think I can make it,” don’t do it. Just be patient, save a life, take some time, wait for the light to change the next time.
Vida Urbonas: Ok, good advice as we head into this season. Again, we’ve seen so many accidents this past week and like you’re talking about we could see so much more. But coming up in an hour we’re going to really dig down deep into some motorcycle safety as far as you and I as drivers as well as motorcyclists out there on the road as well.
Vida Urbonas: Yah, they really are. We’re talking to the owner of Erico Motorsports, and he’s talking about just you know when springtime comes around you have a lot of people coming out for the first time and folks may be a little bit rusty. John Beldock, joining us right now to talk about just a refresher course for not only motorcyclists but people driving in their cars too.
John Bedlock: So motorcycling is a very emotional thing. We’ve got kind of the history of motorcycling here and this is kind of where motorcycling got it’s start and it’s very…everybody is very connected to riding and riding is great fun…you should be out. We live in the best place in the country to ride, but we have to make sure that we’re not just enjoying the scenery. And that we get out while we’re riding and we’re gaining experience and we’re using our motorcycles properly to stay safe as well.
Vida Urbonas: You were talking about motorcyclists really having to have a mindset of nobody can see me. It’s almost as if you’re invisible. And that really prepares you for the road.
John Bedlock: You absolutely have to ride like you’re invisible and it’s not up to the other vehicles on the road to keep you safe. It’s up to you to keep you safe. So, you have to know that anybody else on the road is A) distracted, and B) doesn’t see you. You’re very small, and so you need to make sure that you’re not riding in somebody’s blind spot. You need to make sure that you’re not riding near cars for long periods of time. So you gotta stay in safe spaces. You always have to have an exit strategy and plan B while you’re riding. So get out, enjoy the mountains. Go out and commute, just make sure that you’re always paying attention to where you are in traffic and make sure that you always keep on the top of your mind that no one else on the road is taking responsibility to keep you safe. You have to take that responsibility.
Vida Urbonas: And people in their cars too, like you’ve said you’ve noticed being a motorcycle enthusiast yourself, you’ll see people out there a little bit distracted these days.
John Bedlock: Oh sure, I mean we all have PDAs in our back pockets. You know? We’re all texting and doing email on our phones and we have to know that the great thing about motorcycles is that you can’t do that and so riding a motorcycle really resets all that for you. But you need to make sure that you ride and you gain the experience, and that you understand that everybody else is on their telephone.
Vida Urbonas: Ok, John thank you so much. Coming up in an hour we’re going to talk about more that you can do to be safe on the roads.
Vida Urbonas: It really is, because we’re at that time of the year that the experts here have been telling us that people are a little bit rusty and all of the sudden motorcycles are out on the road. And it’s a time that everyone needs to be aware. Joining me now is Scott O’Sullivan from The O’Sullivan Law Firm. And you deal with motorcycle accident cases and you have for so many years. You lost a dear friend to a motorcycle crash.
Scott O’Sullivan: Yah, and that’s one of the reasons I got involved in motorcycle law years ago. And now we help a lot of riders all around the state, all around Colorado, and it’s for accidents that happen that are caused by another driver hitting them. It’s not the motorcyclist’s fault.
Vida Urbonas: What are you seeing out there? What is the biggest cause that you’re seeing out there? The most common, I guess.
Scott O’Sullivan: The most common we get on a regular basis, unfortunately is a person making a left-hand turn in front of a motorcyclist going straight in the opposite direction. And the motorcyclist has almost no time to react, and either gets t-boned or they actually t-bone the other car. And it usually results in pretty catastrophic injuries.
Vida Urbonas: And another concern of yours, you talked about alcohol. There’s certain things people can do to certainly help reduce the risk.
Scott O’Sullivan: Whatever you do, don’t ever ride a motorcycle and be on drinking alcohol, marijuana or anything like that. And never get on a stranger’s motorcycle or someone you don’t know, especially if they’ve been drinking.
Vida Urbonas: Ok Scott, thank you so much. Great advice! He has so much advice, he actually compiled a list for us that we’re going to put for you on 9News.com.