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Kansas motorcycle crash heightens need for drivers' awareness

Alertness and defensive driving skills help Kansas motorcyclists avoid injury accidents. The talent of a motorcycle operator is often no match for the damage the negligent driver of a larger vehicle can cause.

Leavenworth police reported a Spruce Street motorcycle accident that sent a rider to the hospital. Apparently a car driver failed to yield at the 14th Street intersection and pulled into the motorcycle's path.

The traffic accident story is a common one, usually with more serious consequences than non-life-threatening injuries. The driver of a bigger vehicle miscalculates the speed or distance of a motorcycle or neglects to notice or acknowledge the two-wheeled vehicle at all.

Police said the 20-year-old man in the Kansas incident was hurt when he moved out of the car's way. A collision was successfully avoided, but the maneuver caused the motorcycle operator to lose control. The bike went down and the rider was seriously hurt. A woman passenger on the bike was not injured.

Police cited the 54-year-old car driver for failure to yield. The driver apparently noticed the motorcycle accident only after the car had completed a left turn in front of the bike. The man told police he returned to the crash scene after seeing the accident in his rear view mirror.

The injury victim had no license to operate a motorcycle although he and his passenger were wearing protective helmets at the time of the accident.

The Tuesday morning accident in Leavenworth might have been avoided if the car driver had been aware that motorcycles and cars have equal rights in traffic. It's easy for passenger car and truck drivers to dismiss motorcycles. They're smaller than other vehicles, hard to see in blind spots and have one headlight. None of these facts excuses a negligent driver's behaviors.

The Leavenworth car driver apparently did not see the motorcycle, misjudged its speed or did not care that the smaller vehicle had the right of way.

Source: leavenworthtimes.com, "Motorcyclist injured in crash," July 19, 2012

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