Police warn motorists to be on lookout for bikers

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – Law enforcement officials told Region 8 News Tuesday it wanted the public to pay attention while on roadways in the city limits of Paragould. According to Lt. Tony Williams, there have been two accidents involving motorcycles since Saturday afternoon. Williams said people need to pay attention to motorcycles this spring.

"In both instances the individuals on the motorcycles were not at fault in the accidents. It was actually the other people driving the vehicles that were actually found at fault," said Williams.

Williams said Paragould police worked a fatal accident Saturday. Almer Houston Duncan, 58, of Monette was killed when a car pulled in front of him on Highway 412 East. Monday, Patricia Stultz sustained head injuries and a broken hip when a car pulled out in front of her on Highway 49, police said.

"In both instances the vehicles were actually turning onto side streets or driveways and actually didn't see the motorcycles coming," said Williams.

Williams said motorists need to look twice and save a life.

"A lot of people, when they're making a turn, they're actually looking for another full sized vehicle. If you get a motorcycle in front of a car, it's kind of hard to see the motorcycle," said Williams. "You'll see signs around all over town that the clubs have gotten together and put up signs that say look twice save a life, and it's absolutely the truth."

Williams said more people are on motorcycles this spring because people are looking to beat high gas prices. He also said the weather has impacted motorcycle traffic.

"With the budget strains that everybody is having right now, folks are riding their bikes to try to save a little bit on gas," said Williams.

"Motorcycle accidents, when a car turns in front of a motorcycle, they're looking down the road to see a larger vehicle as a car of truck perhaps, and if they see one coming, they feel like they can beat that car, that vehicle, they'll turn without seeing the motorcycle that's actually in front of the vehicle," said Kevin Eddings. "When they come into contact with a vehicle, usually they're going to hit the ground someway, whether it is the asphalt, the grass, there's something they're going to hit and it's hard to hold your head up with your body being thrown from a motorcycle and you hit the asphalt, normally your head is going to hit somewhere."

Under Arkansas law, motorists over the age of 21 are not required to wear head gear. Motorists under 21 are required to wear some sort of head protection.

"There's times when you roll up and proceed through an intersection or something and you think you look both ways but before you know it, you're in the middle of that intersection and a motorcycle is right there with you," said Eddings.

"Everybody anymore is in a hurry to get to where they're going, if they just take a couple more seconds to take that second look to make sure there's not anybody coming on a motorcycle, it's going to end up saving lives," said Williams.

Shad Bones is President of the Independents Motorcycle Club, which has been in existence for five years. He said he's been involved in a motorcycle accident.

"I was going 60 and a car made a left hand turn right in front of me and I headed right into the door and spent two months in the hospital," said Bones. "You're always a little scared and I still, because it happened at an intersection, I'll still come up to an intersection and if there's a car turning, I'm watching them the whole way and I don't think that'll ever go away."

Bones said he experiences close calls at least once a week.

"It happens a lot. Just yesterday I almost got an old man in a pickup who just pulled out in front of me and it happens a lot but you have to be paying attention," said Bones.

Bones said every person who drives a motorcycle should learn defensive driving skills.

Click here to learn more about defensive driving lessons at Arkansas State University.

"I think it takes a couple good wrecks making the news and someone losing their life before it clicks with a lot of drivers, what the look twice is actually about," said Bones. "People get their bikes out and they want to rip around town and through traffic and this time of the year, that's bad too because you've got to treat every car as if they're going to pull out in front of you."

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