Slow down and look twice — that's the message from the Clarksville Police Department after a recent spike in crashes involving motorcycles in the city.
In August, police reported there have been 13 crashes involving motorcycles, eight of those crashes had at least one injury reported, and two of the crashes involved a fatality. So far this year, there have been 97 crashes involving motorcycles, and six were fatal. In 2021, there were 124 motorcycle crashes, and four fatalities.
A spokesperson for the police department said there are many factors that contribute to motor vehicle crashes, including distracted driving, speed, unsafe lane changes, improper turns and failure to yield the right-of-way. Drivers also need to stay alert and be aware of their surroundings.
Motorcycle safety classes in conjunction with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation are offered at Appleton Harley-Davidson in Clarksville each week. The classes feature both a book and skills portion. Each includes information on gear required, how to operate the bikes, and scenarios riders could encounter on the road. Appleton Harley-Davidson owner Tia Suiter said hundreds of new riders take advantage of the classes each year.
"It gives them the fundamental reaction skills and everything they need to be safe out on the road," said Suiter. "That motorcycle has more torque than a car. With those skills, they can get out of any accident that may be ahead of them."
Suiter said the number of motorcycles on the road in Clarksville continues to grow. She said in areas where multiple crashes have occurred, she would also like to see state and local officials put up signs reminding all drivers to be cautious.
"It's fair to say with the amount of construction and debris on the road, we need signage out there," said Suiter. "If nothing else to say, heavy traffic, look twice, and take that opportunity to be aware of your surroundings."
Police said drivers of vehicles need to do their part, as well. They said drivers need to stay alert and slow down.
Officials at Fort Campbell also report numerous motorcycle accidents this year, with two resulting in fatalities.
To address this growing trend, the Directorate of Emergency Services and law enforcement has partnered with the Installation Safety Office to conduct motorcycle inspections at various access control points. The purpose of the inspections is to verify compliance and re-enforce applicable state and Army regulatory requirements for Soldiers who ride motorcycles.
For more information on classes offered at Appleton Harley-Davidson visit https://www.appletonharley.com/Learn-To-Ride or call 888-825-3728.