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Springfield PD to offer safety classes after record number of motorcycle fatalities

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 6:30 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -

2020 will go down as the deadliest year for motorcycle crashes in Springfield.

According to figures released on Thursday by the Springfield Police Department there have been a record nine fatalities involving motorcycles this year.  For comparison, there were three fatal motorcycle crashes in 2019, eight in 2018, four in 2017, and seven in 2016.  The causes of the incidents are varied ranging from speeding to inattention.

In an effort to help make roadways safer, SPD’s Traffic Section was awarded a MoDOT Highway Safety grant that will be presented to Springfield City Council for approval on Monday, Oct. 5th. The funding from the grant will allow SPD to conduct “Share the Road” motorcycle safety courses throughout the year at no cost to the public. The one-day course will give motorcyclists tools to make them better drivers with the goal of reducing motorcycle crashes.

For more information about the course and requirements to apply, you can go to: https://www.springfieldmo.gov/5289/Share-The-Road-Motorcycle-Course.

Excessive speed and trick-riding among motorcyclists is certainly something you will notice on the streets of Springfield on any given night but Lt. Curt Ringgold with the police department’s traffic section admitted that catching the lawbreakers can be a dangerous task.

“It really is difficult to catch motorists when they flee," he said. "We have to consider is catching him worth the risk of putting 100 citizens in danger who are driving down Battlefield for example.”

Ringgold does encourage the general public to report unsafe cyclists they see though.

“My best advice is to get as much detail as you can on the motorcycle with the license plate, the color and the driver," he pointed out. “When we do apprehend the driver we have to prove that person was the driver at that time so clothing, helmet or lack-of-helmet description, hair-length, facial hair....anything that would help us identify the driver and the bike is helpful.”

This past week Springfield had three accidents in three days involving cyclists and two of the three crashes resulted in the cyclists dying.

Those recent fatalities resulted in the sad news of the new record for motorcycle deaths.

“In our investigations regarding the fatalities we’re learning the speed of the motorcyclists has played a huge role," Ringgold said. "And we’ve only been able to determine one (accident) so far in which the motorcyclist hasn’t had any contributing factors.”

So that’s what led to the effort to start the safety classes. If the city council approves the use of the grant as expected, Ringghold says that by late October or early November he hopes to get at least one class going before the weather turns cold.

“We’ll be throwing in some techniques that maybe they can use whether they’re a novice or experienced," Ringgold said of what the classes will teach. "Maneuvers and breaking is really what plays a role in an accident as to whether you’re in one or if it’s a serious or minor one.”

While incidents of road rage between cyclists and drivers are also increasing nationwide, those of us who drive cars must also acknowledge our role in keeping the roadways safe as well. That includes putting down our cellphones and paying attention when we’re driving.

Also, when you’re at in intersection getting ready to pull out, look twice to make sure you didn’t miss a smaller object like a motorcycle or person on-foot.

“Whether you’re riding a motorcycle or driving a car it’s a 50-50 thing for the drivers and the riders to be aware and be looking beyond," Ringgold said.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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