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Motorcycle accidents raise concern
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Local residents and motorcycle safety activists Randy and Rhonda Williams are concerned about the number of motorcycle accidents in Warren County, particularly in the past year.
“That’s because we know the state as a whole has enjoyed more than a 50 percent reduction in motorcycle accidents and fatalities,” Rhonda said. “It just doesn’t seem like Warren County drivers are getting the same message at the same pace as the rest of the state.”
There have been nine motorcycle accidents in Warren County in the past 15 months, six fatal and three with serious injuries. The most recent was last week when Jacky Chisam was airlifted after his motorcycle was hit by a Jeep on Main Street.
One statistic is that most of the riders involved in these accidents are from 30 to 60 years of age, which Rhonda says is typical.
“It’s not the younger guys like people think,” Rhonda said. “These guys get middle-aged and decide they want to relive their youth and go out and buy a motorcycle they aren’t really qualified to operate. They really need to take a motorcycle safety course. It could save their lives.
Rhonda says there are motorcycle courses available in the area. For more information, contact her or Randy at 815-2224.
The current emphasis is trying to get the word out about motorcycle safety with the long-running “Look Twice Save a Life” campaign.
“Resources through the Tennessee Department of Safety and the Motorcycle Rider Education Program are available to make a loud and clear statement,” Rhonda said.
According to National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, three out of five motorcycle fatalities involving another vehicle were caused by a distracted or inattentive motorist.
“Look Twice Save a Life – Bikers are DYING to be seen!” is the motorist awareness and safety program funded through annual motorcycle registrations.
“All we have to do is ask for permission from city officials for signs to be placed in our city and CMT/ ABATE will provide them through a grant garnered from the Department of Safety’s Motorcycle Rider Education Program,” said Rhonda. “It costs the taxpayers nothing and serves to remind drivers to look out for us.”
But Randy and Rhonda want to take the message further than that. Motorcyclists in Robertson County are getting ready to hold their sixth annual “In Memory of …” ride.
“We think Warren County needs to have a similar event,” Rhonda said. “It will afford us the opportunity to not only honor lost loved ones but also raise funds to help get a bigger, bolder message out to Warren County drivers that we are literally dying to be seen.”
Rhonda says it’s all about repeating the message in front of the public as often as possible. Rhonda believes bringing attention to the issue through the newspaper is vital to spreading the message.
“Partners like the Southern Standard make a big difference,” Rhonda said. “It’s so important for us to get the message out here locally, and that’s what we’re trying to do with this event.”
Randy and Rhonda are members of CMT/ ABATE, Inc, a non-profit, registered 501(c)4 political organization that was formed to preserve freedom and safety for all Tennesseans who enjoy motorcycling. Their members work to modify existing laws that are detrimental to motorcycle safety and enjoyment, and to enact new legislation in support of all motorcyclists who ride in Tennessee.
But the couple says this is too big a job and too important for them to do alone. They would like to put together a committee of volunteers to help make this a big success.
“Without a CMT/ ABATE charter in Warren County, our only hope for help is to ask for media outlets like the Southern Standard to get the word out for us,” said Rhonda. “And hopefully, people will step forward to help.”
Rhonda says this is just the beginning, and the couple has plans for a number of local campaigns and events. For more information, or to volunteer for the committee and help with the campaign, contact Randy or Rhonda at 815-2224.