NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Motorcycle deaths on Tennessee roadways have more than doubled in the past 20 years according to the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, and as of halfway through July, 71 motorcyclists had died in traffic accidents in 2017.
"There's an element of danger riding a motorcycle. You're exposed, you don't have a cage around you," Chris Watts, owner of America's Motorsports in Nashville, said.
Because of the dangers on the road, Watts and the employees at America's Motorsports always stress safety when selling gear to customers, such as helmets, which are required by law in Tennessee, but not in all states.
"Whatever the law is in Tennessee, whether it's with or without a helmet, I will always have my helmet on. That's why I'm still alive," Lana Grant, a sales associate at America's Motorsports and a motorcycle safety foundation instructor at Mid Tenn Motorcycle, said.
Since 2010, at least 45 motorcyclists who were killed in accidents were not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.
Riders are encouraged to take a motorcycle safety foundation class whether they're new to bikes, or simply to get a refresher on safety if they are experienced riders.
While much of the safety depends on the motorcyclist themselves, some of the safety on the road is dependent on other motorcyclists and other drivers.
According to Grant, many times drivers in cars don't treat motorcyclists as equals, but she hopes that will change.
"Please look twice, it's our lives you're dealing with," Grant asked of drivers on the road.
Drivers in cars are also encouraged to leave extra room between themselves and riders in front of them.
"If you're coming up behind us, we can stop a lot faster than you, so don't tailgate us," Watts said of motorcyclists. "If we come to a complete stop really quick because of something in the road, you're going to run over us."
Most of all, motorcyclists on the road hope that their fellow motorcyclists and drivers alike will show respect to each other on the roads.
"The majority of motorcycle riders are good people. They're your neighbors, they work with you, they're just out having a good time," Watts said.